Rental Car Reimbursement Coverage

Rental Car Reimbursement CoverageWhat is rental car reimbursement?
This coverage is an optional product that you can add to your existing auto insurance policy. It's not usually terribly expensive, running from about $25-$75 for a six-month term, depending on the level of coverage you choose. Having this option means that your insurance company will reimburse your rental fees up to your coverage limit when your insured vehicle is under repairs for a covered loss.

How can I confirm my coverage?
If you think you may have this coverage, but aren't certain, it's time to check out the declarations page of your car insurance policy. That's the page that lists all the types of coverage that you have. In most cases, rental car reimbursement coverage is only available if you keep collision and comprehensive coverage on your vehicle as well, so if you have liability only, chances are you don't have rental car reimbursement.

Still, it's good to check. Scan the line items on your declarations page for a "Ren" or Rental. If you have this coverage there will be a coverage amount and a premium amount listed next to it. Coverage amounts often come in pairs of numbers, like 20/600 or 40/1200. The first number is the daily coverage limit, while the second is the total for thirty days of coverage. 40/1200, then, means you're covered up to $40/day with a $1,200 maximum for thirty days, whichever comes first.

When does my coverage kick in?
If you're involved in a covered loss - that's an accident where your collision coverage covers the damage - your rental car reimbursement coverage will be valid (up to the coverage limits) only while your vehicle is in the repair shop. If it's not drivable, you might be able to get rental car coverage before the car is actually in the shop, but be sure to call in your claim first, and get approval.

What else do I need to know?
First, don't get a rental car after an accident and expect your insurance to pay for it, if your own vehicle drivable. They will almost always extend coverage only while your car is actually in the repair shop, unless it's being declared a total loss. Also, be aware that even if the car you rent costs more than your coverage limits, your insurer won't pay more than the maximum per day, or the total maximum for thirty days.

If your vehicle is stolen, rather than damaged, call your insurance company immediately after calling the police to report the theft, as most insurance policies have a clause that excludes rental car reimbursement coverage for the first 48 hours after a stolen vehicle is reported.

Be aware that your rental car reimbursement coverage pays only for the vehicle itself. It will not cover the cost of insuring the rental car, the cost of gas, or any mileage fees you may incur. Many insurance companies have discounts available with at least one rental car company, just for these situations, and some even have a direct-billing relationship, where the rental car company will bill your insurance company directly.

Finally, if you haven't yet purchased rental car reimbursement coverage, and are considering doing so, be sure to account for the size of your existing vehicle. If you have a large family, and typically drive a full-sized SUV or a minivan, spend the money for higher coverage amounts, so that you can rent the size of car you'll need while your own vehicle is being repaired.

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