For many professionals, business travel is a regular part of their job. This often involves renting a car, a process that can be complex and confusing, particularly when it comes to insurance. In this guide, we’ll explore the key considerations and best practices for renting a car for business purposes, ensuring you’re adequately covered and can navigate the process with confidence.
Renting a Car in the Business’s Name
One common question is whether to rent the car in the individual employee’s name or the business’s name. Ideally, you should set up a corporate account with the rental car company in the business’s name. If this isn’t possible, the employee can rent the car using a company credit card or checking account. Ensure the employee’s name is added to the agreement as an approved operator.
Understanding the Four Main Types of Car Rental Insurance
Renting a car, whether for business or leisure, often comes with the option to purchase various types of insurance coverage. These insurance options are designed to protect you from financial liability in case of accidents or damage to the rental vehicle. Here, we delve into the four main types of car rental insurance.
1. Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) / Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)
The Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), also known as Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), is not technically an insurance product. Instead, it’s a waiver that absolves the renter from financial responsibility if the rental car is damaged or stolen. It also covers “loss of use” charges—fees imposed by the rental company for potential revenue lost while the vehicle is being repaired.
However, the waiver may become void if the damage to the car is due to reckless driving, driving on unpaved roads, or driving out of the specified geographical area. It’s essential to read the terms and conditions carefully to understand what is covered.
2. Liability Insurance
Liability insurance provides coverage for damages to third-party property, including cars and physical property, as well as medical costs for injuries to others if you’re at fault in an accident.
In many countries, including the US, a certain level of liability insurance is legally required. Rental companies often provide a minimum level of liability insurance, but it might not be enough to cover damage costs fully, leaving you to pay the remaining balance. Therefore, it may be beneficial to purchase additional liability insurance.
3. Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)
Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) covers medical expenses for the driver and passengers in the rental car in the event of an accident. This can include costs for ambulance, hospital care, and even death benefits.
Before purchasing PAI from the rental company, check your personal car insurance policy, health insurance, or travel insurance, as you may already have sufficient coverage.
4. Personal Effects Coverage (PEC)
Personal Effects Coverage (PEC) insures against risk of loss or damage to personal belongings inside the rental car. If your luggage or personal belongings are stolen from the rental vehicle, PEC would cover these items up to a certain limit.
Again, before purchasing PEC, check your home insurance or travel insurance policy. Many of these policies include off-premises theft coverage, which can cover loss of personal belongings from your car.
Ensuring Adequate Insurance Coverage With Car Rental Excess Insurance
What is Car Rental Excess Insurance?
Car rental excess insurance is a policy that covers the cost of your excess in the event of a claim. When you rent a car, the rental company’s insurance usually comes with an excess that can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
If the rental car is damaged or stolen, you would be responsible for paying the excess amount. However, if you have car rental excess insurance, your insurer would cover this cost.
Benefits of Car Rental Excess Insurance
- Financial Protection: The main benefit of car rental excess insurance is financial protection. It covers the high excess fees that can be associated with rental car insurance, saving you from potentially hefty out-of-pocket expenses.
- Peace of Mind: Knowing that you’re covered in case of an accident or theft can make your car rental experience much less stressful.
- Cost-Effective: Car rental excess insurance is usually quite affordable, especially when compared to the potential cost of the excess.
- Coverage Flexibility: Many car rental excess insurance policies offer global coverage, making it a suitable choice for international travel.
How to Get Car Rental Excess Insurance
You can purchase car rental excess insurance from several sources:
Car Rental Companies: Many rental companies offer excess insurance at the point of booking or upon vehicle collection. However, this is often the most expensive option.
Stand-Alone Policies: Numerous insurance providers offer stand-alone car rental excess insurance policies. These are typically more affordable than those offered by rental companies and can be purchased before your trip.
Travel Insurance: Some travel insurance policies include car rental excess cover. If you travel frequently, it might be worth considering a travel insurance policy that includes this coverage.
Credit Card Insurance: Certain credit cards offer car rental insurance as a cardholder benefit. Check with your credit card issuer to see if this is included and what the specific terms and conditions are.
Documenting the Rental
To protect against claims of damage by the rental company, take pictures of the vehicle when picking it up and returning it. This can provide crucial evidence if the rental company claims damage after the vehicle has been returned.
Renting a car for business use can be a complex process, but understanding your commercial auto insurance policy and the rental agreement can help ensure you’re adequately protected. By following these guidelines, you can navigate the process with confidence, ensuring your business trips run smoothly and efficiently.
You may also like: What to Do if a Car Insurance Company Does Not Pay Claims?
Image source: Depositphotos.com