Alamo car rental

I’m taking my kids on a trip to Denver in April. I used priceline to book the flight, hotel and rental car (and got a great deal!). Now I’m wondering if I need to purchase extra insurance from Alamo, the car rental company. The insurance that I have for myself is liability and un/under-insured motorist, no collision. Should I pay extra to get collision or is it a rip-off? This is the first time I’ve ever rented a car so I have no idea what I’m getting myself into. Any tips/experiences are appreciated!

Call your insurance company. Ask if you can get full coverage on your policy with zero (or as low as possible) deductible for the period starting a day before you get the rental car and ending a day after you return it, with your policy then reverting to your normal coverage. If they can do this, it will be essentially the same coverage the rental company offers but for a much, much lower fee. Worst case I think would be that if damage occurs you might have to pay the rental company right away and await reimbursement from the insurance company.

My company has done a similar thing for me, lowering the deductibles for a brief period, but I did not have to add a class of coverage (collision).

Also, check to see if the credit card you will be using has coverage as a perk. Some do. Check your paperwork or their website for information. I don’t know if using priceline means the card’s benefits no longer work - you might check that also.

Tip: Before you drive off, make sure you inspect the car for damage, make sure any scratches get documented, and take a picture of them including some dating information just to be sure.

  1. Even if you do not have collision on your personal car, your coverage might include it on rental cars. Ask your agent.

  2. Also ask your agent if your coverage includes “Loss of Use.” This is a fee that the rental companies charge for lost revenue caused by taking the car off-line while they do both legitimate and bogus repairs that they may claim were caused by you. Some insurance companies will not pay the “Loss of Use” fee, even though it is often times the largest portion of the bill.

  3. Do not breeze past the part where they ask you to mark on the rental form where you see any scratches or bumps. As importantly, do not turn in the car without the agent signing off on the fact that there was no damage to the car upon its return. THEN KEEP YOUR PAPERWORK WHERE THE AGENT HAS SIGNED OFF.

If no agent is around when you return it because it’s after hours, take pictures of the car and email them to yourself so that they are them time and date stamped. It’s not as good as the former, but it’s something if they come back and said that you returned the car with dents, etc.

  1. Many insurance companies only cover rentals in the United States. Personally, I’d opt for the rental car coverage anytime I was out of country.

  2. As stated before, some credit card companies offer great rental car coverage. However, many provide only secondary insurance and won’t kick in until after the primary insurer (your carrier) has adjusted the claim. AMEX offers a great plan that costs a flat amount per rental period and also puts themself as the primary insurer, but it’s only available on certain cards. Check your credit card for its rental car coverage.

I called my insurance company today. They will add extra coverage for 30 days (minimum) that will protect me and my rental car. It’s cheaper than what Alamo would charge me for 5 days! Thanks for the advice.

Who is your insurance company? Curious…