Your vacation is finally underway and you just spent hours on the beach when you jump into your rental car to head back to the hotel. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the car in front on you slams on brakes and you inevitably smash into the rear end of that car. Having a damaged rental car was not part of the vacation plan and now you are left wondering who’s responsible for the damages to the rental car. The next time you plan a vacation, there are things you should know about rental cars and insurance, so you will never have to wonder again.

How Your Standard N.C. Auto Insurance Policy Impacts Damages to the Rental Car 

Most auto insurance policies extend comprehensive and collision coverage to you (or other members of your household) while driving a rental car as long as you have these coverages on at least one car on your auto policy. However, since comprehensive and collision are optional, you may not have it on any of your vehicles, so you may need to look into the rental company’s Collision Damage Waiver (CDW).

*Note that any type of business use of a rental car always excludes coverage under a personal auto insurance policy. 

What is a Collision Damage Waiver? 

When you rent a car, the company offers a CDW as an option for theft and physical damage protection to the rental car you are operating, but does NOT include bodily injury and property damage liability protection. If you choose this option, always make sure you understand all of the terms and conditions of the CDW so you don’t find yourself in a situation where coverage becomes void.

Also, many times a CDW will not provide coverage for rental (loss of use) while the rental car is being repaired, so make sure you inquire at the rental agency whether loss of use is covered. It is always wise to discuss the terms and conditions of the CDW with the rental company and contact your local N.C. independent insurance agent to review your auto policy and the effect it has on rental cars you rent/operate. Coverage for loss of use may vary from state to state.

What You Should Know About Rental Cars and InsuranceBelow are Some Helpful Tips to Consider Before You Rent a Car: 

  • Contact the rental company (prior to renting) to inquire about their rental coverage and how it may apply to your situation.
  • Inspect the rental car for any type of damages that are preexisting so that you will not be charged with it when you return the rental car.
  • Bring a current copy of your N.C. auto insurance policy with you when renting an automobile on vacation. This serves a dual purpose of proof of insurance along with the said terms of coverage outlined in the auto policy.
  • Contact your local N.C. independent insurance agent so he/she can direct you to getting the right type of insurance coverage needed for rental car situations.

Going on vacation should be about resting, relaxing, and enjoying, so before the car is rented and the vacation underway, follow the above tips so you can have the peace of mind you deserve!