Waiving Rental Car Insurance

Does anyone know when and if it’s safe to waive rental car insurance? Assuming that my regular car insurance covered it, I planned on renting a car and waiving the extra insurance. “Nope,” countered my insurance agent. Because I have access to my local car, and it’s running, the insurance company doesn’t cover anything. I can still rent the car and buy the pricey collision insurance, but I can’t buy any insurance to cover the theft of the car. The rental agency informs me that such insurance is covered by my regular car insurance. That’s great, except, in this case, my regular car insurance doesn’t cover anything.

  1. So, if I rent a car, buy the pricey rental insurance, have access to my local car (which is running), and someone steals the rental, I am now financially responsible for replacing the car?

  2. What exactly does a credit card cover? It looks like it only covers the deductible. If the insurance company isn’t going to cover anything, however, there is no deductible. So, is the credit card company going to cover anything if it isn’t backed up by an insurance company?

Your credit card, like your insurance policy, covers exactly whatever the fine print says, nothing less and certainly nothing more. There’s no way for anyone else on the SDMB to answer that question any more precisely. You’ve gotta read your fine print yourself.

Your question was “Does anyone know when and if it’s safe to waive rental car insurance?” The answer is, it’s safe when you have alternate coverage or your’re knowingly willing to run the risk of operating uninsured and maybe having to buy them a new car.

I’m not in the rental car business but my neighbor is and we swap war stories. So I have some idea about the deal, but I’m NOT an expert.

In general the CDW feature simply buys gap insurance. Absent CDW, you are responsible for everything that your other insurance won’t pay. With CDW, the rental agency becomes responsible for that gap. But, as the name “collision damage waiver” implies, it’s specific coverage for damage and provides no help for theft.

Big picture, when you rent the car, you promise to brig it back intact or make up the difference one way or the other, including the rental agency’s loss of use, which can be full price per day for two months if it gets badly damaged. That can be big money if something goes wrong.

One way or the other, you’re running a big risk unless you can either buy real insurance from your regular insurer or directly from the rental agency. Whether the rental agency sells more insurance than the CDW is an individual matter; some do, some don’t.