What You Need to Know About Insurance Before Reaching the Car Rental Counter

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Nov. 14 /PRNewswire/ — A large percentage of U.S. consumers are confused about whether to buy insurance when renting a car, according to new research by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). In fact, many people purchase insurance at the rental counter without knowing whether their existing auto policies or credit card benefits already cover their needs.

“When renting a car, many consumers purchase unnecessary insurance and end up wasting money. Meanwhile, other drivers inadvertently underinsure their rental car, placing themselves at risk,” said NAIC President and Alabama Insurance Commissioner Walter Bell. “As travel increases around the holiday season, the NAIC encourages consumers to investigate whether their existing auto insurance provides sufficient protection for car rental.”

The NAIC’s national survey of 632 consumers, conducted from Sept. 19-30, 2007, revealed these findings:

— Approximately 42 percent of respondents said they were eitherthoroughly confused or had only a rough idea about insurance coveragewhen renting a car.– 34 percent of respondents said they purchased the rental company’sinsurance just to make sure they were covered.– 24 percent of consumers were not sure whether their credit cardprovided insurance coverage when renting a car.

“Drivers should educate themselves before they reach the auto rental counter,” said NAIC Executive Vice President and CEO Catherine J. Weatherford. “Carefully review your auto insurance policy and check with your credit card issuer about auto insurance benefits. Protect yourself and save money by taking a few precautions and asking the right questions.”

Prior to renting a car, the NAIC recommends that renters ask the following questions:

— Ask your insurance agent: Are there any situations in which my existingauto policy would not cover a rental car?– Ask your credit card company: What are the limitations on rental carcoverage?Car Rental Insurance Tips from the NAIC’s Insure U Web Site– Review your auto insurance policy or call your insurance agent beforeyou reach the rental car counter.– If your current policy doesn’t offer coverage for a rental car, see ifan insurance rider can be added for a small fee.– Many credit cards include some level of collision and theft protection.In most cases, these benefits are secondary to your personal autoinsurance or the car rental company’s insurance, meaning the creditcard company will only pay claims after other insurance coverage hasbeen exhausted. The NAIC recommends you call your credit card companyand ask about benefits.– If you lack personal auto insurance and your credit card does notprovide benefits, it might be wise to purchase the liability insuranceand collision damage waiver at the car rental counter.– Keep in mind that if it is a longer-term rental (e.g., a week, a monthor more), there might be limitations on the coverage your existing autoinsurance policy provides. Check with your insurance company or agentfor details.– If you don’t own a car, you might want to consider purchasing anon-owner auto insurance policy, because it provides benefits inaddition to coverage for a rental car.– When traveling on business, a personal auto policy will generally notapply, so check with your employer for guidance.– Know that you are not alone if you find car rental insurance confusing.If you are unclear about the car rental insurance options, or areconcerned that a rental company is misrepresenting information, checkwith your state insurance department.

Get more information about the types of insurance products car rental companies tend to provide, as well as additional auto insurance information by visiting the NAIC’s consumer-education Web site, http://www.insureuonline.org/. You can also get extensive information, tips and considerations regarding life, health and home insurance by life stage. The entire site is available in Spanish at http://www.insureuonline.org/espanol.


Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is a voluntary organization of the chief insurance regulatory officials of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. The NAIC’s overriding objective is to assist state insurance regulators in protecting consumers and helping maintain the financial stability of the insurance industry by offering financial, actuarial, legal, computer, research, market conduct and economic expertise. Formed in 1871, the NAIC is the oldest association of state officials. For more than 135 years, state-based insurance supervision has served the needs of consumers, industry and the business of insurance at-large by ensuring hands- on, frontline protection for consumers, while providing insurers the uniform platforms and coordinated systems they need to compete effectively in an ever- changing marketplace. For more information, visit NAIC at http://www.naic.org/press_home.htm.

Contacts:Scott Holeman, Communications Director, NAIC, 816-783-8909, [email protected] Rubin, CooperKatz & Co., 212-455-8085, [email protected] Zwiebel, CooperKatz & Co., 212-455-8078, [email protected] Lyons, CooperKatz & Co., 212-455-8027, [email protected]

National Association of Insurance Commissioners

CONTACT: Scott Holeman, Communications Director of NAIC,+1-816-783-8909, [email protected]; or Amira Rubin, +1-212-455-8085,[email protected], or Jennifer Zwiebel, +1-212-455-8078,[email protected], or Jasmine Lyons, +1-212-455-8027,[email protected], all of CooperKatz & Co., for NAIC

Web site: http://www.naic.org/press_home.htmhttp://www.insureuonline.org/http://www.insureuonline.org/espanol