FEDweek

Protecting Yourself in Car Rental Insurance

Most rental-car companies offer four forms of optional insurance:

* Loss/collision damage waiver. This provides a waiver of financial claims against you, the renter, for damage that occurs while you’re renting the vehicle. Cost runs $8 to $15 per day. You may want to consider this if you are renting an expensive vehicle and your existing auto coverage includes low or no collision and comprehensive coverage.

* Supplemental liability protection. Rental companies are required to automatically provide minimum liability insurance in most states but this coverage provides additional protection for personal injury and property damage claims. If you already have increased liability coverage limits on your existing insurance policies or an excess liability insurance policy, then this coverage may not be needed. The cost for this protection is usually about $7 to $9 per day.

* Personal effects coverage. This insurance covers loss or damage of your personal property, while inside a rented car. Cost: about $1.25 per day. This is probably not necessary if you have adequate renters or homeowners insurance but its low cost may make it worthwhile if your existing coverage has a high deductible.

* Personal accident insurance: Your coverage under existing health, life and auto insurance coverage will apply so paying the extra $3 or so per day may not be necessary.

Before you rent a car for your personal use, call your home and auto insurers as well as your credit card companies to determine what coverage might make sense.