before you shift your rental car into gear. The decision to rent a vehicle for your vacation was easy. Researching the different rental companies for the best deal took a bit more work. Now you're ready to sign the contract, pack the kids in the car and head out on the ultimate family vacation. But one nagging question remains: "If I'm in an accident, am I covered?" When you rent a vehicle there are a number of options available to ensure you're protected and will have the peace of mind needed to enjoy the trip ahead.
Keep it in the company
Car rental companies offer a collision damage waiver that covers some loss or damage to the rental vehicle. It transfers the responsibility for the cost of the damage from you to the auto rental company. There are exclusions, so don't forget to check the fine print. You can purchase the collision damage waiver from the rental company at a daily rate that is in addition to the rental charge - the cost for this coverage is about $27 per day.
Get it on credit
Your credit card may provide collision damage coverage on automobiles that you rent. However, there may be certain limitations or conditions. You should check with your credit card provider to learn about any restrictions.
Add it to your insurance
Most Ontario auto insurance companies offer the option of additional liability coverage for damage to automobiles you don't own. The coverage is known as Legal Liability for Damage to Non-Owned Automobiles and is an endorsement that can be added to your existing policy. This endorsement is only valid for non-owned automobiles driven in Canada and the United States. If you are driving internationally, you will have to purchase additional coverage elsewhere. The cost for endorsement varies, but averages between $30 and $35 per year - a substantial savings over rental company daily rates. Contact your agent or broker to add the Legal Liability for Damage to Non-Owned Automobiles to your policy. Check with your insurance agent or broker for more details.
Source: CAA Magazine Summer 2010.