I am planning to be in multiple towns in Nebraska and Iowa over the weekend. I do not own a car, so I will be renting, most likely from Enterprise RAC or Budget. I have Visa credit cards that I will be paying with; the card will offer me $25K worth of damage coverage.
The case for the ‘supplemental liablity’ insurance (SLI) is less clear - is it true that all car rental companies operating in Nebraska have a minimum SLI built-in to their rental prices, and therefore I do not strictly need one? Unless I total somebody’s car or cause grievous injury to someone on the road due to my fault, I should be covered? In other words, can I get away from minor fender-bender type damages to another guy’s car without having to pay from my pocket? Anyone aware of how much ERAC or Budget would pay up before they invoice me?
It is surprisingly difficult to find this information from ERAC/Budget websites - and their employees seem confused too - but maybe this is by design!
Of course, each rental car company is free to set liability limits higher than the minimum and some corporate/group rates may include additional insurance. But, generally speaking, unless you buy SLI (or have your own insurance), car rental companies provided the state-mandated minimum coverage.
In Iowa it’s 20,000/40,000/15,000.
In Nebraska it’s 25,000/50,000/25,000
(Bodily injury per person/ Bodily injury per accident/Property Damage)
Unless you are broke or otherwise judgment-proof (and intend to stay so for the next 10 or 20 years), those limits are really pathetic. Most new cars today cost more than $15,000 and if an uninsured person has a few broken bones, the emergency room bill alone can easily come to more than $20,000, let alone lost wages and other damages.
You’re saying “over the weekend.” So that would be two days? Bite the bullet and get the SLI. It is a ripoff, but two days won’t break the bank. If you are planning on doing this more often, contact an insurance agent and ask about a non-owner liability policy. Only a few insurance companies offer this, so you may have to ask around.
For other people who may be reading this and wondering why the credit card coverage isn’t good enough: Remember that the typical credit card only covers damage to the rental car itself. It does not cover injury to any person or damage to any other property (the other car(s) involved in the accident, light polls, street signs, buildings you crashed into, etc).
Here’s what I have heard: The SLI that comes built-in applies to employees that drive the car around on business, and does not apply to a paying customer that rents that car. Meaning, if the car has been in an accident, the insurance would payout SLI if the car was being driven by an employee, not if it was being driven by a customer.
No idea if this is true or even legal.
I haven’t had any luck finding a company that offers non-owner liability policy for automobiles, at least here in NE.