After an accident, driver’s often find themselves in need of a rental car. With this sudden need comes several questions few people ever consider before standing in front of a rental agent. Be prepared and ask yourself the following:

 

Will my insurance company cover the cost of my rental car?

Rental car reimbursement, what you’ll need if you want the cost of your rental car covered after an accident, is not automatically included in most automobile insurance policies. It is most often an optional coverage. Take note, if you do have this coverage, it likely only kicks in if your own insurance policy is covering the costs of your damaged vehicle. It often is subject to payment of your deductible and the vehicle will need to be returned immediately upon completion of your auto body repairs.

Is rental car reimbursement coverage right for me?

Deciding whether or not to elect rental car reimbursement should be based on your own family situation. Start by asking yourself if your family could function with one less vehicle on a day-to-day basis. If the answer is yes, coverage may not be necessary. If the answer is no, you’ll likely need access to a rental car in the event your vehicle needs auto body repairs.

Is rental car reimbursement coverage worth it?

An average rental car costs $50 per day, which varies based on vehicle size and where you live. Depending on the severity of your vehicle damage, auto body repairs can take days to sometimes weeks to complete. Consider if you could afford this daily fee out of pocket while your vehicle is in the auto body shop. Also consider the lifetime cost of coverage. The average driver has an accident once every seven years. Compare the average cost of a rental car to your seven year cost of rental reimbursement coverage to decide if it’s worth it for you in the end.

 

Determining whether coverage is right for you is a personal decision. Whatever you decide, be careful not to confuse rental car reimbursement with protection when you drive a rental car. The two coverages are completely separate. You’ll want to know the following before signing a rental agreement:

 

When I get behind the wheel of a rental car, am I protected by my own automobile insurance policy?

Before getting into a rental car, review your own insurance policy to answer this question. In many cases your own personal liability, comprehensive, and collision coverage, extend to a rental you may drive. If you don’t have comprehensive or collision coverage on your insurance policy, you may want to consider purchasing additional insurance coverage offered by the rental agency to cover costs of damage and auto body repairs in the event of an accident. Also check with your credit card company, many offer secondary rental car insurance at no charge when the rental car is paid for on the credit card.