We are in entering the winter months and it is time for family and friends. Thankfulness and joy for what we have are the themes for November. Selflessness and giving are what we look forward to highlighting in ourselves for December. Through all the holidays many of us also contemplate travel plans for the inevitable winter doldrums that follow the holiday season. With those travel plans, we often contemplate our mobility, while we travel, and the need for rented vehicles to get around while site seeing away. This month’s chosen question is precisely about what to do regarding auto insurance while traveling.
“Our family is taking a vacation this winter. Should we buy rental car coverage?”
This answer, like all insurance issues, depends on your circumstances and your travel plans.
First, if you are traveling, then yes, it is important that you protect yourself while operating a vehicle with some form of insurance. Every time we operate a vehicle we are potentially a split second away from an accident of some sort.
If you currently have both liability and comprehensive insurance coverage here in Minnesota, you are most likely covered while renting a car. You will need to check your specific insurance to be sure, but the vast majority of auto insurance policies provide coverage to you while renting a different vehicle in the United States, Canada, or Puerto Rico.
However, it is important to note the exceptions to this coverage. It is limited to cars rented in the United States, Canada, or Puerto Rico. If you are planning a trip to a country outside of these areas, then your current automobile insurance will not cover you. (As a sidebar, your homeowner’s insurance will usually cover your personal property losses (luggage, clothes, camera, etc.) for theft or loss claims, anywhere in the world. But this has no impact on your automobile coverage or liability coverage.)
Also, if you are traveling in the “covered” areas, but only have liability coverage on your owned vehicle, then that is the only coverage you will have on a rented vehicle. In other words your coverage on rented vehicles will reflect your current automobile coverage. So if you are renting it might still be wise to consider comprehensive coverage on a rented vehicle, if you do not currently carry it on your personal auto.
The other scenario is a person traveling and renting a vehicle, who is currently not carrying any type of automobile insurance, for whatever reason. Just as at home, without the purchase of insurance coverage somewhere, you remain uninsured no matter where you are.
Bottom-line, if you are traveling outside of the United States, Canada, or Puerto Rico, or are potentially underinsured, or uninsured, you need to consider (I strongly recommend you do.) automobile insurance coverage from your rental car company. You are not covered by your current auto carrier or anyone else without it when outside the aforementioned North American areas. While none of us thinks we will have an issue, you do not want to be dealing with potential liability and property claims in foreign countries on your own. Why risk your dream vacation becoming a nightmare?
If you have any other questions or would simply like an insurance review/quote, please feel free to contact me directly, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-707-4460.
Have a great Holiday Season!