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Rental Car Insurance

Rental car

There are more options for renting a car than ever before. In the past, you simply selected a vehicle from one of the many brick-and-mortar car rental companies found at airports, train stations or other locations. Today, technology has made possible other alternatives, including peer-to-peer car services, which enable consumers to rent personally owned cars from others; and car sharing programs in which—for a monthly or annual fee—consumers can pick up a vehicle at a wide range of locations for periods ranging from minutes to days.

While these car rental options mean more choice for consumers, they mean more questions about insurance coverage. Fortunately, it is possible to be properly insured when renting a car without wasting money by purchasing duplicative coverage.

The insurance coverage offered by traditional car rental companies is fairly standardized. However, coverage varies widely amongst other types of car sharing programs. The most important step is to read the car rental/sharing agreement—most companies clearly state what is covered as well as the supplemental coverage that can be purchased.

Regardless of the rental car option, the I.I.I. suggests making two phone calls:

The first, to your insurance company, to find out how much coverage you currently have on your own car. In most cases, whatever coverage and deductibles you have on your own car would apply when you rent a car (providing you are using the rental car for recreation and not for business).

If you have dropped either collision or comprehensive on your own car as a way to reduce costs, you may not be covered if your rental car is stolen or damaged. Insurance rules vary by state, so it is best to check with your insurance professional for the specifics of your policy. Check to see whether your insurance company pays for—or provides a rider for—administrative fees, loss of use or towing charges.

The second, to your credit card company. Insurance benefits offered by credit card companies differ depending on the company and/or the bank that issues the card, and the level of credit card used (a platinum card may offer more insurance coverage than a gold card). However, most credit card only provide limited coverage, such as covering the deductible if there is a claim.

To know exactly the type and amount of insurance that is included, call the toll-free number on the back of the credit card you will be using to rent the car. If you are depending on a credit card for insurance protection, ask the credit card company or bank to send you their coverage information in writing.

In most cases, credit card benefits are secondary to either your personal insurance policy or the insurance coverage offered by the rental car company.

Brick-and-Mortar Car Rental Insurance

Consumers renting from traditional car rental companies can generally choose from the following coverages (Note: insurance is state-regulated; the cost and coverage will vary from state to state.):

Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) Also referred to as a collision damage waiver, an LDW is not technically an insurance product—it is designed to relieve or “waive” renters of financial responsibility if their rental car is damaged or stolen. In most cases, waivers also provide coverage for “loss of use,” in the event the rental car company charges for the time a damaged car cannot be used because it is being fixed. An LDW may also cover towing and administrative fees. The Loss Damage Waiver may become void if the accident was caused by speeding, driving on unpaved roads or driving while intoxicated.Comprehensive/collision auto coverage generally covers damage to a rental car. Keep in mind, however, that in most states diminished value is not covered by personal auto insurance policies.

Liability Insurance By law, rental companies must provide the state required minimum amount of liability insurance coverage—generally this figure is low and does not provide much protection. (See State minimums here.)A standard auto insurance policy includes liability coverage. For additional protection, consider an umbrella liability policy. Non car-owners who are frequent renters can also purchase a non-owner liability policy, which not only provides liability protection when renting a car, but also when borrowing someone else’s car.

Personal Accident Insurance This covers the driver and passengers for medical and ambulance bills for injuries caused in a car crash Health insurance or the personal injury protection (PIP) provided by your auto insurance will likely cover medical expenses.

Personal Effects Coverage This provides insurance protection for the theft of items from a rental car.A homeowners or renters insurance policy includes off-premises theft coverage. If you frequently travel with expensive items such as jewelry, cameras, musical instruments or sports equipment, consider a personal articles floater to protect your valuables at home and while traveling.

Car Sharing and Peer-to-Peer Car Rental Insurance

The insurance offered by these companies is not standardized. It is therefore important to go to the company’s website to read the insurance coverage information carefully. If you have any questions, call the customer service number listed on the website. And contact your auto insurer if you feel you need more information to make an educated insurance coverage decision.

Car sharing programs like ZipCar, generally include insurance costs in the fee. However, if the car is involved in a collision or is stolen, the renter may be billed for a specific dollar amount that is stated in the membership agreement. For an additional cost, customers can purchase a “waiver” to avoid paying the accident fee. Car renters under the age 21 should read the insurance coverage carefully as many programs limit coverage for young drivers to the minimum state required amount of liability. Young renters can look into whether their parents’ auto insurance would cover them for the difference, or purchasing their own non-owner liability policy.

A number of web-based peer-to-peer rental services (e.g. RelayRides) offer both basic coverage and supplemental insurance. The supplemental insurance includes both coverage for damage to the car and liability protection, and provides a choice of coverage amounts and deductibles. Renters who do not purchase the additional insurance are required to sign an agreement stating that they declined the coverage.

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Driving On Motorways.

The idea of driving on the motorway should not give you jitters and make you go into panic mode. By the time you get to drive on the motorway, you will already be an experienced driver and this new experience will come to you as naturally as taking your next hot cup of coffee. You will find driving on motorways interesting as all vehicles are headed in the same direction, speeds are high and you won't find pedestrians, agricultural vehicles, sharp bends, right turns or even roundabouts. They are pretty safe to use but a few tips will go a long way in putting you in the know and helping you ensure that you don't put other road users, including yourself, in harm's way. For further training why not consider exploring driving schools Glasgow.

There are specific procedures you must follow when joining the motorway and this include firstly, indicating your intention and giving priority to those already on the motorway. You can neither force your way into the traffic nor drive on the hard shoulder. The motorway can have two lanes or three lanes. Fast rules here are that you keep left while driving normally except when overtaking then you can use the right lane but return to the left once done overtaking. On a three lane motorway, you might need to stay in the middle lane to finish overtaking several vehicles before moving back to the first lane and only use the third lane if the middle one is fully occupied.

Carefully change lanes and only overtake when it is safe both for you and other road users. Your intention to do so must be clearly visible, indicating in good time and keep checking the blind area. In addition to this, make it easy for other vehicles to join the motorway also by adjusting your speed and leaving the left lane to enable them join seamlessly. Watch out for signs overhead to signal change of direction so that you act appropriately say, change lanes and so on.

Remember that you cannot endlessly use the motorway. Watch out for junctions, countdown markers and the exit slip roads. Note that you must be in the correct lane, the left, for you to exit the motorway and if you miss your exit, drive on and look for the next since you cannot reverse on a motorway in order to return to the slip road you missed earlier. You can only stop on the motorway if signs or indicators tell you so, if stopped by police, in case of an emergency or when avoiding an accident. In this case, your hazard lights must warn those behind you about the situation.

As a precautionary measure, always drive safely within acceptable speed limits, keep your distance from other vehicles, regularly check your mirrors, be keen with motorway signals, and learn how to interpret flashing amber or red lights. Whenever possible, stop to replenish your strength before going on with your journey. Fatigue is not compatible with driving. Lastly, refresh your memory about reflective studs and remember hard shoulders can only be used in case of an emergency, otherwise, stay on the normal lanes reserved for driving.