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Selling insurance coverage is a major profit center for rental car companies; as many as 30 percent of all renters will buy rental car insurance at the counter. There are many different types of insurance that they sell at the counter, including: loss damage waiver, liability insurance, personal accident insurance, and personal effects coverage.

The loss damage waiver relieves renters of financial responsibility if the rental is damaged or stolen. These waivers are voided, however, if damage was caused through speeding, intoxicated driving, or driving on unpaved roads. This is not technically auto insurance, but instead a shifting of liability from the renters back to the rental agency. This also covers loss of use which is when damaged cars can't be rented because they are being repaired. These waivers generally cost between $9-19 a day.

Liability insurance is something most people have on their personal car insurance. Call your insurance company beforehand to know for sure if it applies to rental cars. This can cost between $7-14 a day.

Personal accident insurance is another item you can most likely ignore. Generally health insurance or personal injury protection under auto insurance already covers these types of bills. This can cost between $1-5 a day.

Personal effects insurance is not something that is normally included with personal auto insurance. It probably isn't wise to store valuables in a rental car anyways. A floating or umbrella insurance policy under home insurance may cover your valuables though. This generally costs between $1-4 a day.

So your personal auto insurance might already cover a fair bit of what the rental car company is trying to sell you. If you have comprehensive and collision coverage on your insurance policy, then you should be covered for a rental car in the event of an accident or if the car is stolen. Keep in mind, however, that personal insurance may come with conditions, such as only pleasure but not business rental uses. Long term rental might receive limited coverage.

Another source of coverage is the company of the credit card you are using to rent the car. This can vary by the company and by the type of card you are using.

Credit cards have fairly frequent policy changes, so even if your card company covered you once before, it does not mean you have the same coverage the next time you need to rent a car. The terms of coverage from credit cards can also vary; usually they only cover the damage to or the loss of the rented vehicle. They will not cover other cars, personal belongings, other's property, and there may be no injury or death coverage.

It is advised that you call your credit card company to figure out precisely what their coverage terms are before thinking you can rely on them. Even so, credit cards should only be considered a secondary insurance when renting a car.

Renting while abroad can be more complex. Call your insurance company to be perfectly clear on how your coverage works before you travel. Some people purchase rental insurance at the counter just for convenience sake while abroad. Getting reimbursed for an overseas accident can be a messy affair. Some people prefer paying for less hassle.

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