For the last time: Car rental coverage is not mandatory

car rental insurance is n’t required. Or is it ? If you ‘re not indisputable, then you ‘re one of many confused car renters — a confusion some car lease companies appear to be taking advantage of. Consider what happened to Nancy Ferguson when she rented a cable car from Avis at the Indianapolis airport recently. When she tried to decline Avis ‘ collision-damage release, noting that her credit poster covered her, a representative told her that was “ not allowed. ”

“ He said if I did n’t buy Avis ‘ policy, I could not get the car, ” says Ferguson, a pharmacist from Greenbrae, Calif. wrong. Avis ‘ web site describes its liability waivers as “ optional. ” But the misinterpretation netted Avis an supernumerary $ 414, according to Ferguson. Why is everyone then confused ? Because, well, it ‘s confusing. States require cable car rental companies to carry indemnity on their vehicles. But there ‘s no corresponding law that says you have to purchase policy, which technically is n’t policy, but an expensive and highly profitable collision-damage release ( CDW ) or loss-damage release ( LDW ) product sold by your car lease company. With the help of a few half-truths, a cagey car lease agent can push you into buying costly coverage. optional collision-damage waivers represent a “ meaning ” source of income for car rental companies, although no one except the car rental companies knows how significant, according to cable car rental adviser Neil Abrams. Optional damage waivers are strongly encouraged by car lease companies, even though customers may already be covered by car insurance, a credit card or travel insurance. The policies can routinely double the price of your rental. While an overwhelm majority of rentals are loose of misunderstandings, a “ bantam percentage ” may end with a car rental company turning away a customer because of a paperwork problem. “ Yes, they can refuse to rent a car, ” Abrams says. “ There is extreme liability and cost associated with vehicle damage, loss or worse. The rental of a vehicle is a privilege, not a correct, but the operators do have the right to protect their assets, passengers and the cosmopolitan public. ” That ‘s precisely what happened to Cheryl Manzo when she rented from Economy Rent a Car in Orlando recently. “ When I arrived to pick up rental Saturday morning, a representative told me I had to pay extra $ 73 for insurance, ” she remembers. The reason ? “ I did not have my policy declaration page with me, ” she says. Manzo, a teacher from Levittown, Pa., reluctantly paid for the coverage. When I asked her car rental company about her event, it said it had a right to ask her for proofread of indemnity. “ The customer needs to understand that we are serving her with a $ 20,000 fomite, ” said Patricia Grant, an Economy spokesperson. “ The least we can do is verify coverage. ”

car lease agents do n’t force everyone to buy CDW. A young pair on the van ride binding to the airport told Grant they did n’t have to show proof of their indemnity. Travelers I ‘ve spoken to felt they were singled out for being the most vulnerable-looking customers, particularly those with foreign passports. Take Samantha Sigler, for example. She rented a car in Orlando from Thrifty recently after arriving from Ottawa. “ When I arrived at the airport, an agent asked me if I was interested in obtaining extra insurance coverage for the car, ” Sigler says. She said her canadian insurance covered her. “ The agent told me that it was mandatary for me to purchase Liability Insurance Supplement coverage pursuant to Florida state jurisprudence, as there was no way that the state of Florida would cover the price of an accident that could be over $ 1 million, ” she says. That ‘s faulty. Sigler bought the extra insurance to avoid a confrontation, but she checked the Florida statutes to be certain. And why would n’t she ? Sigler is a lawyer. Thrifty promptly refunded the policy supplement. “ This agent may have tricked and conned numerous other tourists, ” she says. The company “ should be putting necessity and allow checks into target to ensure that their agents do not dishonestly line their pockets at the expense of others. ” Lauren Luster, a spokeswoman for Hertz, which owns Thrifty, says Sigler is right. “ We do not require that our customers have cable car indemnity, ” she says. “ We offer optional car rental protection which is available for purchase by customers, many of whom are much navigate unfamiliar places in an unfamiliar fomite while on a clientele trip or vacation. ” I checked with the other car rental companies, and that policy — that coverage is optional — is an industry standard in the United States. By the way, I ‘ll second the sentiment expressed by car rental companies. policy is a good mind ; you should not drive a cable car without coverage — but it does n’t have to be the car rental company ‘s coverage. You can buy a insurance through an on-line agency or a site like for about half the price of car rental protection. so where does that leave you ? Car rental companies will sometimes say anything to persuade you to buy their coverage, including bending a few facts and withholding the cable car winder. You need to be ready with ample software documentation of coverage and a little cognition of state insurance law ( see below ). That ‘s the only fix — you have to fight fallacy with facts. What insurance do you really need?

• Domestic rentals: Any cable car rental policy requirements are in the state ‘s laws, which are promptly available on-line. For exercise, Florida statutes say that if you ‘re renting a cable car for less than a year, the owner is the cable car rental company and is creditworthy for indemnity. ( It ‘s in Chapter 324 of the Florida Statutes. ) A car lease party may try to shift that province to you, but there ‘s no law that requires you to accept it. • International rentals:  If you ‘re renting oversea, check the cable car lease company ‘s web site or call for information. Or you can check out, which lists detailed policy requirements by state. Christopher Elliott is a consumer advocate and editor program at large for National Geographic Traveler. Contact him at chris @ or visit .

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