Should I get rental replacement coverage with my car insurance?

Posted by Chris Medine on Jun 23, 2016 12:23:41 PM

car rental Baton RougeWhen evaluating how much you want to pay each month for car insurance, there are seemingly countless factors to include. Each factor deserves its own review of cost versus benefit. When weighing these, motorists will need to ask themselves, “Should I get rental replacement coverage with my car insurance?” rental replacement coverage is very often overlooked, and can be save a ton of frustration and money when you are in an accident.

First of all, what is rental replacement coverage? The definition, according to dmv.org, is “Rental reimbursement (or rental car coverage) is a type of optional car insurance coverage that helps pay for the cost of a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired after a car accident or after suffering damages that are covered through your car insurance policy. This coverage is not required as part of your car insurance policy, but is beneficial if you do not have a secondary vehicle and need to travel to work or school while your car is undergoing auto repair.”

How important is that to you as a driver? Well, there are a few things to consider to determine that answer.

What is the average time a vehicle spends in the shop after an accident? While this answer can vary a bit, the average time is two weeks. This may seem like a protracted amount of time, but the sad truth of the matter is that every bit of work that the shop does has to go through the insurance company for payment approval and insurance companies can be notorious for “dragging their feet” on approving payments for things at shops that don’t have direct repair agreements. This is because the shops with direct repair agreements have already let the insurance companies know, through their agreements, that they will cut corners where they see fit and they will use aftermarket parts whenever they can.

What will the rental car cost me? While the average time for a vehicle to be in the shop after an accident is two weeks, the average cost of a rental during that time is in excess of $500.

Doesn’t the insurance company pick up this bill? There are cases where the at-fault driver’s insurance pays for the rental, but there are situations where that doesn’t always go the way it’s supposed to. For example, if it is unclear right away who is at fault in the accident, the insurance company can refuse liability. It is also possible for them to make “no decision” in regards to paying out for a rental car. There is also the matter of immediacy. You need to get back to work and back to your life. You simply can’t go without a car while the insurance company makes up their mind.

How much does it cost me? Ask your agent, but most insurance companies offer rental replacement for a few dollars a month.

Am I already covered? This is another great question to ask your agent. Don’t just assume that your coverage includes rental replacement. Even if you have comprehensive coverage, you still want to go through your policy to be sure this is included.

Do you have another car you can use? We ask this question last because most people don’t have a spare car just sitting around as a back-up. But, if you do, you can avoid the hassle altogether.

Most drivers don’t take the time to plan for the little things during an emergency situation, and an accident becomes that much more stressful because details like covering a rental car aren’t taken into account and the driver is left holding a bill for which they may or may not be reimbursed. At Medine’s we recommend drivers opt for rental reimbursement coverage. It takes a little bit of the stress out of your post-accident experience by getting you back to your life more quickly and at minimal cost.

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