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What are Car Rental Damage Protector & Rental Car Liability Insurances?

When a car is rented in the United States, insurance for damage, theft and liability are generally not included in the car rental price. In effect, if you have an accident you could be on the hook for the full value of the rental vehicle. That is why the rental car damage and liability coverages offered on the Pteet.com site cover up to $45,000 in damage (depending on the plan chosen) and covarage for the state minimum liability and supplemental liability, with higher limits are insurance options which can help you avoid outrageous prices at the rental counter.

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When to Buy Rental Car Damage Protector?

Frequent car renters would be aware of that sinking feeling you get when asked at the car rental desk to buy the insurance coverage, at a rate that can be as much as the actual rental. The rental car damage insurance offered on Pteet.com costs just $9.00 per day, so finally you can get the desired coverage, at just a fraction of the cost compared to the rental desk.

We recommend using your laptop or smart phone to purchase a plan before you pick up the rental car. That way, whenever the agents asks you if you want to buy the insurance, you can simply decline by saying “thanks, though I already have insurance”. If they ask who the insurer is, say Allianz Global Assistance. If by chance you didn’t have the time to purchase the plan before arriving at the rental lot, that’s ok – just make sure you buy the plan before you take possession of the car otherwise you won’t be covered for any damage if you purchase the plan once the rental has already started.

The world of rental car insurance is complicated, here we clarify when & why to buy liability insurances.

  1. Is there any overlap between credit cards and liability insurance?

    If you use a credit card to insure your rental car, you won’t be covered for liability given credit cards do not cover liability related accidents. And that goes for even the most premium cards such as Gold and Platinum credit cards. Hence, if you want to ensure you are not exposed to claims related to damaging other people’s property or injuring other persons, then keep reading.

  2. Is there any overlap between Primary Liability Insurance (RCLI) and Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI)?

    There is no overlap, rather two levels of coverage. RCLI is primary liability covering the state minimum (e.g. in CA a maximum combined $35k) of coverage if you damage other persons & property.

    SLI is secondary insurance e.g. it covers you after the primary state minimum is exhausted. Let's say you injure someone up to $100K in CA, the RCLI will cover up to $35K and the SLI will cover the rest (up to $200k per person in injury and an aggregate of $1M). The law in the US is unclear however recent case law favours car rental companies with decisions that infer the car rental company bears liability in only specific instances of neglect and the renter is liable at other times.

  3. Does this mean buying SLI without RCLI renders coverage under SLI useless? Also, where can I find state minimums for different states in the US?

    SLI is still valid even if you don’t have RCLI, it’s just you could be liable for the state minimum, and SLI would cover everything after that.

    If you do a quote on Pteet.com, you’ll see next to RCLI there is a drop-down list of each state’s minimum liability. The RCLI will cover the amounts listed in each state (e.g. where the accident happens, accidents that occurred in NY will have NY minimum apply)

    The state minimums apply nationwide - a federal decision confirmed in January 2020 (that the Graves Amendment) should be interpreted as rental companies not being legally responsible for any liability claims caused during a rental.

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