Auto Rental and Insurance

Purchase a collision/damage waiver from the car rental company, and your fee will jump. Depend on coverage from your Massachusetts Auto Policy (MAP) and/or your credit card company, and you may face significant out-of-pocket costs if you have an accident.

Until recently those were your only choices when renting a car for business or pleasure. Now some insurance carriers are offering enhancement endorsements that provide more comprehensive protection when renting an auto. Call your Customer Service Representative to see if your auto carrier offers this extra coverage.

Your MAP will cover an accident or other loss under certain conditions:

  • The rental car must be a temporary substitute for the car(s) listed on your policy. Rentals of six weeks and longer generally are interpreted as for regular use rather than temporary use.
  • Coverage is only good in the U.S., Canada, U.S. territories and possessions, and Puerto Rico.
  • All drivers must be listed on the rental agreement with the consent of the rental company. If an unlisted driver has an accident, you will not be covered.

There are also limitations to MAP coverage, which pays for a collision loss based on actual cash value (ACV), also known as book value. However, under many rental agreements you may become responsible for the actual replacement value of the vehicle—usually a much higher amount. You may also be liable for income lost by the rental company while the vehicle is being repaired. With the enhancement endorsements now available, you would be covered under these situations. However, rental auto accidents can be surcharged on your MAP, adding points to your rating.

Credit card companies typically will cover only physical damage to the vehicle you rent. That will apply only to damage not covered by another source, and there may be a cap to the amount they will pay. There may also be restrictions on the type of vehicles covered, the length of the rental, and the country where you were driving. Also it’s important to remember that your credit card spending limit may be put on hold during a claim.

There is no simple answer to the complex question of what kind of rental car insurance is best for your situation. Your E&L customer service representative will be pleased to advise you the best course of action.