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“So, do you want the optional Damage Waiver Coverage for your rental?”

Updated: Mar 5, 2023

Summer vacation season has arrived, which means many of us will soon be packing up and heading out with friends and family to our favorite summer fun places.

It also means that you may soon find yourself standing at the car rental counter with that deer-in-the-headlights look, trying to come up with the right response to the rental agent’s latest question: “So, do you want the optional Damage Waiver Coverage for your rental?”

Before you find yourself in a panic at the car rental counter, here are a few tips to help you get into your rented vehicle confidently and quickly – after all, your vacation is waiting!

Here is what you need to know:

Your policy coverages transfer to the rental vehicle. If you insure more than one vehicle with us, the broadest coverage purchased for any of your insured vehicles would apply to the rented vehicle.

Make sure that all drivers who may be driving the rented vehicle are listed on the insurance contract for your personal vehicles – this will avoid any coverage questions later if there is an accident with the rented vehicle. Remember that the rental company will likely charge you more for named drivers under the age of 25.

Some credit card companies offer insurance coverage for a rental vehicle if you use their card to pay for the rental. Terms and conditions will vary, but you may want to find out before you leave for vacation if you have a card that offers any level of rental coverage.

If you are vacationing near the border, remember that your automobile coverage goes with you if you drive into Canada, but not Mexico. If you are vacationing entirely out of the country, your personal auto policy would not provide any coverage for a rented vehicle.

State law requires car rental companies to include the state-mandated minimum amount of liability coverage as part of every rental contract, but in some states, the minimum can be low, so if you have any question about the coverage provided by your personal policy or the rental company’s damage waiver coverage, you may want to consider purchasing the Supplemental Liability Coverage offered by the rental company to ensure that you are adequately protected.

It’s a good practice to take photos or make a short video of the exterior and interior of the rental vehicle before you leave with the car, and again when you return it. Keep the photos for several weeks just to make sure you have evidence in case the rental company later alleges any damage to the rental.

Remember, your independent Hanlin Insurance agent is your best source of qualified advice and information, so your vacation to-do list should include a call to your agent so you understand your coverage before your trip.

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