I just came across another one of those cookie-cutter lists of ways to save when traveling. You could probably predict; when it came to rental cars and insurance it basically said not to buy the extra insurances.
No doubt these extras are just another nickel and dime approach to separate you from more of your money.
Specifically the common advice is to not pay twice for the same thing. “Before you purchase the extra insurance, check to see if your regular car insurance covers you in a rental car. Most policies do. Some credit cards also provide insurance; check with your company to find out.”
Take it from someone who has been there… Three year ago, on vacation, we rented a car from Hertz and paid for it with American Express. I’d heard the advice before that Amex covers you, so I didn’t even consider the insurances.
Yes, I was in an accident, and yes it was my fault. We were merging onto a major road. The car in front began to accelerate. I looked back to make sure there was room for us in the oncoming traffic and when I verified the fact I depressed the accelerator. Before my head turned fully back to the road in front of us, I hit the back of the car in front that had stopped for no reason.
Nobody was hurt, thankfully. The cars were damaged with my rental taking the majority of the impact.
The police wrote a report, I was ticketed and we began the process of contacting insurance companies, the rental company and even contacting Amex for their coverage.
In the end, the repairs were covered on both cars easily enough but I was hit with a $1200 bill for “Loss of Use.” Because the rental agency could not generate revenue while repairs were being made I had to pay effectively full rates while the body shop took their sweet time repairing the vehicle.
Generally, I am reluctant to pay for any “extra” optional insurances and fees. After having this experience however, I may just think differently next time.
Honestly, I can’t believe I just wrote that last line. A life time of “extra” fees could be paid with $1200 thought. hmmmmm…
Readers: Extra fees seem to be more and more common. Which ones frustrate you the most? Have you ever tried to negotiate them away and been refused?
photo by adam*b