This Nebraska Driver's Nightmare Demonstrates the Importance of Rental Car Insurance

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A Nebraska woman had a terrible rental car experience. If you take routine business trips like Cristine Miller, you probably rent cars frequently. Unfortunately, one of the Gretna area accountant’s business trips ended with a paperwork nightmare.
Miller’s story shows why having rental car insurance is important.
Closeup of front-end of multiple cars parked in a lot
You might not think about rental car insurance until it’s too late

What happened to Cristine Miller?

According to 6 On Your Side, it all started when Miller received a motel wake-up call. While she was sleeping in a Louisville, KY, motel, Miller’s rental car and others got knocked around by a rented box truck driver.
The driver claims that he didn’t see the vehicles while backing up. The wake-up call came at a bad time. Miller had to catch a flight so she was forced to deal with the smashed rental car issue during a layover.
She was informed that the Louisville rental office would handle the vehicle towing, but she got automated calls from Budget saying she needed to turn the car in. Budget’s statement indicates that the car didn’t reach the rental company until June 9, even though Miller placed a tow request on May 29.
“I’ve been called, I’ve been on hold, I’ve been hung up on, I’ve put hours into this and really want this to be resolved,” Miller said. According to Budget’s rental agreement, the customer is responsible for tow and damage expenses. Miller marked “declined” on accepting insurance.
Miller said it’s easier to purchase car insurance than to go through this, but it can be costly. Her company insurance is taking care of the issue and likely going after the truck driver at fault.

What does rental car insurance cover?

An accident like Miller’s can happen to anyone. To make sure you’re protected, you’ll want to know what’s covered with any rental car insurance you might have and when you should buy it from a rental company.
Most rental companies will encourage you to purchase a collision damage waiver (CDW), which is the highest level of protection they offer. But CDW insurance can be expensive. In addition, it doesn’t cover damage to parts like tires or windshields.
CDW insurance is the only insurance option that covers hidden costs associated with damage on rental vehicles, including:
  • Administrative fees that the rental car firm will incur when making a claim
  • Loss of revenue when the car is rendered a loss or is in for repairs
  • Diminished value or potential loss if the company can’t resell a vehicle after damages
  • Towing costs

Is rental car insurance worth it?

If you have a car or credit card insurance policy, chances are that you already have some coverage for rental vehicles. You should check with your insurance company so you know exactly what costs are covered in case of an accident.
6 On Your Side recommends only purchasing car insurance from the rental company for short trips and if you’re parking in high-crime areas. CDW insurance is expensive, and rental companies will push it. But you probably won’t need it as long as you’re covered by your insurance policy.
Many car insurance policies cover rental cars, and Jerry’s friendly agents can help you clarify any questions you have about coverage. The free Jerry app compares rates from 50 top insurance companies to help you save money on car insurance. Jerry can help you save money without losing coverage.

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