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More on rental car insurance.

Once you have the needed information from your current insurance company & paying credit card company (see our previous blog post) and you are ready to proceed to renting your car, here are a few things to know.

Since insurance is state regulated, the cost and coverage will vary from state to state. Consumers, however, can generally choose from the following coverages:

Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)
LDWs (aka collision damage waivers) are not an actual insurance product. However, they do relieve or "waive" renters of financial responsibility if their rental car is damaged or stolen. In most cases, waivers also provide coverage for "loss of use," in the event the rental car company charges the renter for the time a damaged car can't be used because it is being fixed. It may also cover towing and administrative fees.

Waivers may become void if the accident was caused by speeding, driving on unpaved roads or driving while intoxicated. If you already have comprehensive and collision coverage on your own car, check with your personal auto insurer to make sure you are not duplicating coverage you already have.
Should you decide it is necessary, this coverage generally costs between $9 and $19 a day.

Liability Insurance
By law, rental companies must provide the state required amount of liability insurance. Generally, these amounts are low and do not provide much protection. If you have adequate amounts of liability protection on your own car, you may consider forgoing additional liability protection. If you want the supplemental insurance, it will cost between $7 and $14 a day.

An umbrella liability policy may be more cost-effective. These type of policies act like an umbrella, hence the name, sitting on top of your auto and homeowners (or renters) liability policies to provide extra protection including accidents while driving your own car or one that you rent. These policies, usually sold in increments of a million dollars, are usually very affordable - ranging anywhere from $200 to $300 annually for a million dollars worth of coverage.

If you do not own your own car and/or are a frequent car renter, you should consider purchasing a non-owner liability policy. This not only provides liability protection when you rent a car, but also when you borrow someone else's car.

Personal Accident Insurance
Personal Accident Insurance offers coverage to you and your passengers for medical and ambulance bills for injuries caused in an accident. If you have adequate health insurance, or are covered by personal injury protection under your own car insurance, you may not need this additional insurance.

Personal Effects Coverage
This coverage provides insurance protection for the theft of items in your car. If you have a homeowners or renters insurance policy that includes off-premises theft coverage, you are generally covered for theft of your belongings away from home, minus the deductible.

If you frequently travel with expensive items such as jewelry, cameras, musical equipment or sports equipment, it may be more cost-effective to purchase a personal articles floater under your homeowners or renters insurance policy. With such a floater, your valuable items are protected at home as well as while traveling anywhere in the world and the coverage is broader.

Travel Overseas
If you are planning to rent a car abroad, contact both your insurance agent and travel agent to find out what you need to do to be properly insured.

If you're renting a car abroad, you may need an international drivers license.