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There’s nothing better than the freedom of a road trip. It can be one of the best ways to travel around a place, especially in the United States which is home to some of the best drives in the world. From the classic Route 66 to California’s stunning Pacific Coast Highway, there are no shortage of amazing road trip opportunities. And while car rentals are generally an affordable way to travel in the USA, the price you see online usually doesn’t include the cost of car rental insurance.
Adding on car rental insurance at the rental desk can quickly double, if not triple your car rental costs. Yet all of these insurances are optional, so how do you know which ones to purchase? It can feel overwhelming having a rep trying to sell you so many different types of insurance!
I recently went through this while renting a car in the USA, and found it confusing trying to understand exactly what insurance I needed to purchase. I didn’t want to pay any unnecessary costs, but I also wanted to ensure I was protecting myself and others. Throughout my research, I discovered a solution that solves this problem: Bonzah!
Bonzah provides affordable alternatives to car rental insurance purchased at the rental desk. This post will go over the various types of car rental insurance you can get, explaining if and where you should purchase it for your next car rental.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Bonzah. As always, all opinions are my own.
Types of Car Rental Insurance
First, to understand what types of car rental insurance you may want to purchase, it’s important to understand the various types of car rental insurance that exist.
|Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) or Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)||This type of insurance covers you in the event that your rental car is damaged either through a collision, vandalism, or is stolen. Essentially, by purchasing this waiver, the car rental company can’t pursue you for repairs and losses.|
|Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)||This type of insurance covers medical costs for you and your passengers if hurt in a car accident.|
|Liability Insurance or Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI)||This type of insurance covers damage to other vehicles or property while driving the rental car. It can also pay for the medical expenses of others who are hurt in a crash caused by you.|
|Personal Effects Coverage||This type of insurance covers you if any personal items are stolen from or damaged in your rental car.|
Should you Purchase the Loss Damage Waiver/Collison Damage Waiver?
Unlike some countries, insurance for damage, loss, and theft is normally not part of the rental price in the United States. If you damage a rental car in the USA and don’t have the right rental car insurance, you could face a huge bill up to the entire price of the car depending on the extent of the damage.
When you go to pick up a rental car, the staff will likely try to sell you their Collision Damage Waiver, which is often more expensive than the rental itself. As explained above, this is not insurance, but a waiver that says the rental car company won’t come after you if damages are done to the car.
If I search for a rental car on Hertz next month, the cost of the car is just over $35, but the CDW is an extra $29.04 per day!
While you definitely want to have CDW on your rental car, purchasing it through the rental car company is not the most economical way to go about it. Instead, you can purchase it through Bonzah, which offers car rental damage insurance starting at just $7.99 per day.
What Bonzah offers is rental car damage insurance that transfers the risk from you to the insurance company. If the rental company charges you for damage to the car, Bonzah will either refund you or pay the rental company directly.
Bonzah offers rental car damage insurance (CDW) which covers up to $35,000 for damage due to collision, theft, vandalism; damage due to windstorms, fire, hail, flood; or damage due to any cause not in your control.
CDW Insurance Through Personal Car Insurance & Credit Cards
If you have your own personal car insurance, it may extend to a rental car, but this depends on if you have comprehensive collision and comprehensive coverage. Moreover, you will likely still be on the hook for the deductible, and putting a claim through your own insurance will likely raise your insurance rates.
Some credit cards offer CDW insurance if you put the full cost of the rental on the card, but they may have low limits and high deductibles. You’ll want to look at your policy to find out exactly what you covered for. If you decide to purchase additional CDW insurance, Bonzah is an excellent alternative to purchasing it at the rental desk.
Can you use Bonzah CDW Insurance Anywhere in the World?
The rental car damage insurance (CDW) by Bonzah can cover you within the US and around the world with the exception of Afghanistan, Costa Rica, Ireland, Jamaica, Mexico or Yemen. It can only be purchased if you are a citizen or resident of the United States of America (except residents of the state of Washington).
Should you purchase Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI)?
Supplemental Liability Insurance covers damage to other vehicles or property while driving the rental car, as well as the medical expenses of others who are hurt in a crash caused by you.
If the United States, every state requires a minimum amount of liability insurance on car insurance policies, so you may already have liability coverage through your personal auto insurance. However, the coverage you have may not be enough, as state minimums sometimes go as low as $10k. As this article states “In 2017, the average car injury claim cost $15K, according to the Insurance Information Institute, while serious accidents can cost thousands more”. If you do not have extra SLI coverage, you could be on the hook for injuries to others that go well above the state minimum.
More to that, while some credit cards cover CDW on rental cars, they generally don’t cover injuries to other people or their property. And since the United States has notoriously expensive medical bills, a good SLI policy is something you want to have while renting a car.
Through Bonzah people from all over the world can purchase a Supplemental Liability Insurance policy that will cover you while driving a rental car in the USA or Canada. SLI policies start at 11.99 per day and coverage is based on 24-hour increments.
As outlined on the Bonzah website FAQ’s, the Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI) policy sold by Bonzah covers “up to US$1 Million in Supplemental Liability Insurance per accident aggregate, with a limit of US$200,000 per person per accident”.
Should you Purchase Personal Accident Insurance?
The benefits provided by personal accident insurance are likely already covered in your health or life insurance if you are a resident of the country you’re traveling in. If you are traveling overseas, then you should purchase travel insurance with emergency medical benefits. This would cover you in a broader range then PAI because it will cover your medical expenses in an emergency situation, whether it’s related to a car accident or not. I use and recommend World Nomad’s Travel Insurance.
Should you Purchase Personal Effects Coverage?
Similarly to PAI, I would only purchase personal effects coverage insurance if you have not covered anywhere else. If you have a homeowner or rental insurance policy, this will most likely cover your personal belongings while traveling. Your travel insurance policy may also cover stolen or lost personal belongings.
If you purchase Bonzah rental car insurance and have a loss while on your trip, damage or theft of your baggage and personal item (including passport or visa), you will be covered up to $500 ($250 per item). See FAQ’s on the Bonzah Website.
How to purchase and use Bonzah Insurance
If you want to purchase supplemental rental car insurance you can do so on the Bonzah Website or by downloading the App. The easiest way to do this is by using your laptop or smartphone to purchase the policy just before picking up the rental car.
Once you have secured the insurance with Bonzah, you can decline the rental car agencies’ insurance at the desk. As stated in the Bonzah website, if the car rental agent asks who the insurer is, you will tell them its Arch Insurance.
You can also purchase a policy on Bonzah after arriving at the rental car lot, but you must purchase it before you start driving or take control of the rental, otherwise the policy won’t cover you.
If you are renting a car then it’s important to make sure you are covered with a comprehensive collision damage waiver and supplemental liability insurance policy. While you can purchase these through the car rental agency, Bonzah offers an easy to purchase and affordable alternative. With peace of mind knowing you are protected, you can now fully enjoy the beautiful experience of a road trip!