Know the coverage details for rental vehicles

TOPEKA, KS — Renting vehicles for vacation or business travel may be a popular choice for Kansans in the next few months. But knowing your insurance coverage or vehicle protection offered for rentals can often be confusing, according to Ken Selzer, CPA, Kansas Commissioner of Insurance.

“If you are renting a motor vehicle from a rental car company, your policy with your personal automobile insurance company may NOT automatically provide required liability insurance protection,” Commissioner Selzer said. “If it does not, the rental company must provide it.”

Rental companies and possibly even your credit card companies may also have other protection options available for you, Commissioner Selzer said, but consumers need to make sure they understand this protection is not insurance regulated by the Kansas Insurance Department.

The most well-known of this add-on protection is called the “collision damage waiver,” or CDW. If you were to be involved in a collision, you would be responsible for any physical damage caused to the rental vehicle unless one of the following three statements was true:

  • You had purchased a CDW from the rental company.
  • The comprehensive/collision provisions of your personal vehicle insurance policy cover the damage, subject to any deductible.
  • You have a CDW program with the credit card company you used to secure the rental.

Commissioner Selzer gives the following tips for making sure your rental experience does not turn sour because of unexpected costs. 

  • Always check first with your company or local agent to verify any rental protection in your regular vehicle policy. Knowing what is covered for rentals in your personal policy will keep you from making incorrect decisions when you are at the vehicle rental counter.
  • If you do have mandatory liability limits for a rental car in your vehicle policy, you may want to request a written statement to that effect from your company/agent/agency.
  • Document any vehicle damage with photos. Take photos of the vehicle before you leave the rental agency and after any accident.
  • Your rental agreement may contain an arbitration process. Be sure you understand its implications.
  • Realize that the rental company or credit card protection is not something that is regulated by the insurance department. The Kansas Attorney General’s office Consumer

Protection Division might have jurisdiction. 

“Using a rental vehicle for business or pleasure can be a useful means of completing your trip,”Commissioner Selzer said, “but make sure you enter into the rental agreement knowing what protections you have.”

If you have questions or concerns, call the insurance department at 800-432-2484 and ask to speak to a Consumer Assistance Representative. 

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