Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Auto Clubs, Car Insurance Policies Offer Protection from Collision Damage Waivers / Car Rental Companies Find Damage Waivers Quite Profitable

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Auto Clubs, Car Insurance Policies Offer Protection from Collision Damage Waivers / Car Rental Companies Find Damage Waivers Quite Profitable

Article excerpt

They're at it again.

The car rental companies have figured out that those collision damage waivers are quite profitable.

What's a collision damage waiver? It lets you off the hook (for an average of $9 a day) for accident liability while you have a rental car.

Big car rental firms have discovered the value of these waivers to the extent that most of them lifted the liability ``cap'' of $3,000 - which was the most you would be responsible for in the event of an accident. So now your liability is virtually unlimited, which can scare the heck out of you. And if it does, you will gladly pay the additional money each day for the waiver.

Well, some folks still make money on flight insurance, too.

First of all, let's define some terms. A waiver is not an insurance policy. You are not getting coverage, you're simply not held financially responsible for damage to the rental car. As certain terms apply to keeping the waiver in effect, you should always read the fine print before you sign the dotted line.

Typically, waivers don't cover driving on unpaved roads, ``abusive or reckless'' driving (whatever that is), and driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Some waivers don't apply if you're overcome by drowsiness while driving.

Now, in some cases it makes sense to take that collision damage waiver. When? If the insurance policy you carry on your own automobile doesn't provide coverage for you driving cars you don't own - such as a rental car. So the first thing you should do is call your insurance agent and find out if you have the proper protection.

Specifically, you need to understand what will happen if you bang up the rental car. Jot down your insurance policy information, including the number to call in case of an accident, and carry it with you on your trip.

With most insurance, the same terms that apply to your own car are in effect for a rental. In other words, if you have a $250 deductible on collision, you'll have to fork over $250 to the rental company in the case of an accident, and your insurance company will pick up the rest. …

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