FlyerTalk Forums - View Single Post - Car rental insurance confusions
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Old Jun 6, 19, 12:36 am
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 1,144
Originally Posted by dzdang View Post
I have a couple of confusions regarding car rental insurance. This is for car rentals in the U.S.

Question 1:
My University provides car insurance if booked through the University's website (it links to Enterprise/National). However, my University recently changed its policy that it will only offer insurance for the car rental if the renter is conducting university travel. It used to be such that they also provided insurance for personal travel.

I feel like there are some gray areas with this program. Say that I'm on a university travel for some academic conference. During the middle of the conference, I go to a nearby entertainment area (clearly not FOR university travel, but I guess I am still ON university travel) and something happens. I asked my University what would happen in this circumstance and was told that the University insurance would not be applicable here, and that my personal auto insurance would kick in. However, I don't have personal auto insurance. So does that effectively make it illegal for me to drive the car in this scenario, since I am technically uninsured?

Question 2:
This is not related to Question 1.
It seems car rental insurances typically insure the car and not the person driving. So say I am the primary renter on a car and I purchase the rental companies' auto insurance. If I add a secondary driver, is that driver also covered by the auto insurance?
Note that my responses are my opinion, but they are based on my experience:

#1 ) Typically, this distinction is based on the intent of the trip (i.e. why was the car rented). They are not trying to keep you from driving the rental car to the drug store while you are out of town for a conference, they are trying to not be on the hook for your family road trip to Wally World. Also, in the example above, the University insurance would probably cover the loss and then try to recover from you personally if they felt like your use of the vehicle was improper. That said, I think that what they told you is likely incorrect.

#2 ) In the USA, outside of California, the rental company provides basic liability - damage that you cause to other people's property - as part of your rental. They also *sell* insurance for damage that might occur to the car while in your possession - they usually call it "CDW" or "LDW" (Collision or Loss Damage Waiver). So, based on this, a 2nd driver who has been properly added would be covered exactly as you (as the primary driver) are. So, if you (or your secondary driver) runs a stop sign and hits someone's car, The rental company insurance would cover the damage to the other car (up to policy limits, with you on the hook for anything in excess of that), but if you didn't pay for the Collision Damage Waiver, then your personal auto insurance (or you personally, if you don't have it) would pay for the damage to the rental car itself.

Note though that the rental company's liability insurance tends to have pretty low limits, so if you sideswipe Tracy Morgan's Bugatti you can expect to be on the hook for some significant out of pocket expense because the rental insurance probably hits its limit at $30k or less.
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