Author Topic: Car insurance when you don't own a car, but plan to rent occasionally  (Read 4586 times)

synonym

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Hi All,

I wonder if anyone else that doesn't own a car, but rents one occasionally has a good way to keep insurance costs down. The few times i've rented it has ended up costing a lot more because of the extra insurance that the rental companies like to gouge.

I'm new to the US, so i'm not sure what's the best way to cover this. Do credit cards offer enough cover? Should i get some kind of general liability insurance (and could it cover renters insurance too?)

There is a Zip Car outlet fairly close by and they seem to include insurance in their comparatively low charges. The closest renter though is Budget, and there it seems to cost maybe $25/day on top of the rental price.

Thanks

dudde_devaru

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If you can get a cheap/free zipcar membership, its the way to go only for short-term rentals.

Also you can check RelayRides.com. if interested PM me, I will refer (both win-win :)).
But RelayRides need at least 1yr US driving history. I have rented many two days rentals for under $90 including premium protection.

For long term, traditional can rental companies are worth.
You can decline their Collision Damage and purchase that outside using Allianz for example who offer insurance based on the term of rental rather than per day basis. I think its around $9/day.

Alternatively, you can also use your credit card insurance. Many cards have secondary coverage which means the coverage will kick in after your primary insurance is charged in case of an event. Since, you don't have a primary car insurance I guess you will be covered fully by default. This is something your credit card company will be able to answer.

Dicey

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Costco Amex is going the way of the dinosaur, but until March of next year, you can get a no-annual-fee Amex card through Costco and then buy their car rental insurance program. IIRC, once you sign up for the service, it gives you full insurance coverage automatically each time you rent a car with the registered Amex card for about $30 per rental.  Much cheaper than rental agency insurance if you're renting for more than a day or two. I expect Costco may offer something similar once they change CC caffiliation next year.

ClaycordJCA

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If you have significant assets to protect, you need to evaluate the amount of coverage offered. for example, ZipCar's website says its coverage is limited to $25K in property damage. If you are at fault and total the other vehicle, $25K won't go very far.

vhalros

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Although I am sure that it varies from card to card, but don't credit card usually only provide collision coverage, not liability? I was actually looking into this question myself lately; I didn't find anywhere to buy short-term liability coverage (I just checked out Allianz's website, but did not see it there; only collision). Never having owned a car, I'm not sure I entirely understand all the insurance jargon; is liability a subset of collision or something?
« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 12:37:36 PM by vhalros »

RyanAtTanagra

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This is where not owning a car can be a bit of a pain and/or expensive if you don't do it right.  I use zipcar for local quick trips (their hourly price includes insurance and gas, and their service has been great), but at $100+/day it doesn't work too well for going out of town for the weekend or a week.  For those trips I do a normal car rental.  American Express cards (at least the basic ones I've had) will cover damage to the rental car itself, but don't cover the liability half.  For that you need a non-owners liability policy, for which State Farm is the only company I've found that does that.  I've heard USAA bundles it in with some of their other things like renters insurance, but I don't have USAA to verify.

So it's a bit of a juggling act, and if you use a car a lot it can be expensive.  Sometimes I'll go through spouts of car rentals that make me question not just owning, but then there are times like 2015 so far that make up for it, where I've yet to use a car at all this year.

vhalros

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Hmm, just checked out State Farm, and got this: "State Farm does not actively market new business in Massachusetts and Rhode Island at this time."  So it look like, for me at least, that is also not an option.

TheInsuranceMan

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Hi All,

I wonder if anyone else that doesn't own a car, but rents one occasionally has a good way to keep insurance costs down. The few times i've rented it has ended up costing a lot more because of the extra insurance that the rental companies like to gouge.

I'm new to the US, so i'm not sure what's the best way to cover this. Do credit cards offer enough cover? Should i get some kind of general liability insurance (and could it cover renters insurance too?)

There is a Zip Car outlet fairly close by and they seem to include insurance in their comparatively low charges. The closest renter though is Budget, and there it seems to cost maybe $25/day on top of the rental price.

Thanks

Check into named-non owner policies.  We use these on occasion when we have a customer that sells their only car.  While sometimes it makes sense not to carry any coverage, if you know that you might be driving something, named non-owner should provide you with liability coverage.

Also, most insurance policies do carry over to you renting a vehicle.  However, what they don't cover is the loss of income that the rental company faces if you wreck their car.  Your insurance company will pay to repair their car, but since the rental company is out $x,xxx when the car is in for repairs, someone is liable for that, and your insurance company most likely won't foot that bill. 

forummm

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Visa provides a CDW but not liability, so you'll have to purchase liability if you don't have it.

Rubic

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I'm paying GEICO $227 ($19/month) for a "non-owner" policy, which I obtained when I sold my vehicle.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Car insurance when you don't own a car, but plan to rent occasionally
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2015, 02:16:02 PM »
Back in late 2011, I got some quotes for a "non-car owner policy".  Depending on liability amounts (anywhere from 100/300 to 250/500), it ranged from $520 to $660 per year.  At $15 per rental, your break even is between 35 and 44 rentals per year, assuming you cover the collision with a credit card.  Some of these were 6 month policies and some were one-year.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 02:18:08 PM by frugaliknowit »

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Car insurance when you don't own a car, but plan to rent occasionally
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2015, 02:16:46 PM »
I'm paying GEICO $227 ($19/month) for a "non-owner" policy, which I obtained when I sold my vehicle.

Hah, of all the shopping around I did to try to find a non-owner policy, I never thought to try Geico.  Funny, since I see their ads everywhere.  They must annoy me enough I block them from my brain, which is bad for both them and me, since you're paying less than I am :-)

jamaicaspanish

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Re: Car insurance when you don't own a car, but plan to rent occasionally
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2015, 02:27:09 PM »
We have a non-owned vehicle policy through USAA.
We live overseas but keep the policy in effect for our visits to the U.S.
It costs $24/year and covers us when borrowing or renting a vehicle in the States.
It covers personal injury, uninsured motorist, bodily injury, property damage.
When / if we repatriate, we will be able to demonstrate that we have had continuous insurance coverage.

synonym

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Re: Car insurance when you don't own a car, but plan to rent occasionally
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2015, 02:37:36 PM »
Thanks everyone for your input. Lots to digest, and some promising sounding options.