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  1. #1
    Senior Member smurfy's Avatar
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    Do You Still Need Car Insurance

    This car renting thing has got me thinking...

    If you are car free should you still retain a car insurance policy if you rent cars, even infrequently?

    Have any of you car-free people obtained car insurance? (I'm not car-free, but I wish I was and that's my goal someday) Can you even get car insurance if you don't have a car? What does the insurance people say to you when you say you're car-free by choice (besides "you're nuts!")? What kinds of policys can you get and are they cheaper than owning a car?

    I was just wondering about this. Inquiring minds want to know!
    "You handle it like you handle a bicycle" - Jacques Rosay, Airbus A380 test pilot

  2. #2
    dc pirate, 4evah. chimblysweep's Avatar
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    No reason to pay for insurance on a monthly basis. There are three ways to insure rental cars.
    1. Pay their stupid daily premiums. (Screw that.)
    2. Rent your car using a credit card that includes the insurance. Most silver/gold/platinum cards do this. Either read your agreement or call the company to see if it's included.
    3. You need to know that by law all car rentals (in most states) include a minimal level of coverage. That often means that someone who doesn't have a lot to lose can get by fine without additional coverage.

  3. #3
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    The car rental company will want to see proof of insurance before they rent to you.If you don't have insurance they will ,as I recall,usually be more than happy to sell you a policy that covers the rental as part of the deal.Also some credit card issuers such as American Express offer insurance benefits for rental cars if you use their card for the rental.Its been years since I rented a car but ,I believe, the first weekend or so after I was carfree I rented a car and used an American Express card for the insurance benefit.As I recall the rental company insisted on calling my contact for the card to verify the insurance benefit but after that hassle ,I think they would have preferred to sell me insurance,I did get the car.

    Whether you retain your own insurance should be based on you own situation as to how much you may likely drive while carfee,how many years you are likely to remain carfree versus the high initial cost of reinstating insurance if you drop it.The temporary insurance the rental companies sell would ,probably,get expensive fast for more than infrequent use.

  4. #4
    File Not Found Pampusik's Avatar
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    Platinum Mastercard provides primary insurance coverage if you do not have insurance already for up to 15 consecutive days: http://www.mastercard.com/cardholder...num_credit.pdf

    I'm pretty sure Visa provides the same thing.

  5. #5
    flux capacitor Orikal's Avatar
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    If you drive infrequently (say one or two times a year), then the above suggestions are great. If you drive more frequently (more than once a month), I would suggest you check into a "named non-owner" policy through an insurance company. Depending on who you go through (and other factors like your credit, driving history, etc.) you can usually get these kinds of policies at a fair rate. Just be sure to check several companies.

    Delusion: A false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence.

  6. #6
    gwd
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    Quote Originally Posted by RWTD
    The car rental company will want to see proof of insurance before they rent to you.
    I just rented from Dollar in Orlando two weeks ago and the agent did not want to see proof of insurance. I don't have a car or car insurance. The agent tried to sell me his insurance but I told him I thought the credit card would pick up the insurance. I rented a car from Enterprise in DC two years ago and declined their insurance then with no problem and no insurance. Maybe I just got irresponsible agents. These are the only times I've needed rental cars in the 5 years since I went car free.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwd
    I just rented from Dollar in Orlando two weeks ago and the agent did not want to see proof of insurance. I don't have a car or car insurance. The agent tried to sell me his insurance but I told him I thought the credit card would pick up the insurance. I rented a car from Enterprise in DC two years ago and declined their insurance then with no problem and no insurance. Maybe I just got irresponsible agents. These are the only times I've needed rental cars in the 5 years since I went car free.
    Agreed.

    It's a scam about the insurance aspect of their vehicles. The agents try to get you to buy all the insurance on the vehicle by trying to scare you into thinking you'll be liable for the damages as if the car doesn't have insurance. Trust me.. All those cars are fully insured or they would NOT be able to allowed to have anyone drive them. A news reporter broke this scam a while back on how you don't need to buy any insurance to drive a rented car. ALL cars are insured.

    Last month I rented a car from Hertz and when the agent told me it's $25.00 dollars for insurance, I quickly said no thanks. She brought it down to $10.00 dollars and at that point I said OK.

  8. #8
    flux capacitor Orikal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
    Agreed.

    It's a scam about the insurance aspect of their vehicles. The agents try to get you to buy all the insurance on the vehicle by trying to scare you into thinking you'll be liable for the damages as if the car doesn't have insurance. Trust me.. All those cars are fully insured or they would NOT be able to allowed to have anyone drive them. A news reporter broke this scam a while back on how you don't need to buy any insurance to drive a rented car. ALL cars are insured.

    Last month I rented a car from Hertz and when the agent told me it's $25.00 dollars for insurance, I quickly said no thanks. She brought it down to $10.00 dollars and at that point I said OK.
    Good point. Auto insurance always follows the vehicle, not the driver, although that probably wouldn't save you the headache of being sued for damages if you declined their insurance.
    Last edited by Orikal; 08-03-05 at 03:46 PM.

    Delusion: A false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence.

  9. #9
    jim anchower jamesdenver's Avatar
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    i am always asked "am i insured" when i rent, but no one ever asks to see it. plus usually your card is IN the car you don't have with you, hence why you're renting.

    i don't have a car or insurance. i've rented a few times and told them i had it, but may do a daily policy with them.

    i do use a credit card, but you should call first to make sure exactly what your card covers should there be an accident.

  10. #10
    Vanned. worker4youth's Avatar
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    Credit cards only cover comprehensive and collision claims (over and above your insurance, if any). It does not cover liability. So, for instance, if someone steals your rental car, your credit card will cover this. Or, if a tree falls on your rental car, then your credit card will cover it. Or, if you are hit by an uninsured motorist, and it's their fault, then your credit card will cover it. You may have to pay the rental company the initial cost, but your credit card will reimburse it.

    BUT, if you hit someone, and it's a bad accident, and the other driver dies or is seriously injured, your credit card will NOT cover that! It is ILLEGAL to drive, in most states, without liability coverage (comprehensive and collision are not required by law). Be SURE to get liability when you rent a car, if you don't already have it on your own insurance -- It's usually $6-$10 more.

    You don't EVER need to get full coverage from them, that's just a waste of money -- your credit card will cover it.

  11. #11
    Senior Member geeklpc1985's Avatar
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    I am only 19, and car-free. I still keep my insurance. All my friends drive so if someone does something stuped and drinks or something I can still drive. My mom's husbun has a car, that once in a blue moon he sents me out to do something and he wants me to take the car (We sold my mothers car after she passed away). Also when he uses his motorcycle and it breaks down, like normal, I have to save him by getting the car.

    I hate to drive, but I will if I have to!

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by worker4youth
    BUT, if you hit someone, and it's a bad accident, and the other driver dies or is seriously injured, your credit card will NOT cover that! It is ILLEGAL to drive, in most states, without liability coverage (comprehensive and collision are not required by law). Be SURE to get liability when you rent a car, if you don't already have it on your own insurance -- It's usually $6-$10 more.

    You don't EVER need to get full coverage from them, that's just a waste of money -- your credit card will cover it.
    The car has liability insurance or the rental agency cannot allow you or anyone to drive it off the lot. That's the point I was trying to make before. The 6-35 dollars is additional insurance on top of what the rental company is paying but you can still be sued by the injured party regardless of the situation. Do you really think that 6 dollars is going to shield you if your rented car plows into a school bus wiping out all the passengers and the police find out you were drunk??

  13. #13
    Senior Member Chuckie J.'s Avatar
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    Excellent thread and precisely why this new forum is useful. Unique to a car-free people. Outstanding... carry on!

    Chuckie

  14. #14
    Patrick A
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    This is a timely thread...

    I don't have credit cards, and haven't for sometime. Let's suffice to say that I learned hard lessons about credit card debt "early and often". I do have a Visa "debit" or "bankcard" that's common these days. I live in a small city/big town that doesn't have a lot of options for car rental. Enterprise is OK and cheap, but they put a $300 hold on your account for up to 24 hours after the rental term is completed. My local cash-rental "Rent-A-Wreck" place will rent for just that - cash. However, they wont rent to you unless you have a policy, and they do ask for proof.

    So, sans getting a credit card or one of these "named non-owner" policies, what options do I have? I think the "named non-owner" might be a good option for me, as I may need to rent a car two or three times a month. I really don't want a credit card, either. I'd rather rent from Enterprise anyway because their cars are a little better and they have unlimited mileage.

  15. #15
    Vanned. worker4youth's Avatar
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    Patrick A, why don't you just get a credit card? Do you have the self-control to use it ONLY for your rentals? You should be able to get a card with at LEAST a $2000 limit, so that's plenty for your needs.

    Get the citi card (www.citicards.com). You will not only get the insurance from mastercard, you'll also get 1% back on your car rentals, and 5% back on gas. That means, for every gallon of gas, you're saving approximately 11-12 cents! If you'd like, use it for grocery shopping as well, and get 5% back on that.
    Last edited by worker4youth; 08-08-05 at 11:06 PM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by worker4youth
    Credit cards only cover comprehensive and collision claims (over and above your insurance, if any). It does not cover liability. So, for instance, if someone steals your rental car, your credit card will cover this. Or, if a tree falls on your rental car, then your credit card will cover it. Or, if you are hit by an uninsured motorist, and it's their fault, then your credit card will cover it. You may have to pay the rental company the initial cost, but your credit card will reimburse it.

    BUT, if you hit someone, and it's a bad accident, and the other driver dies or is seriously injured, your credit card will NOT cover that! It is ILLEGAL to drive, in most states, without liability coverage (comprehensive and collision are not required by law). Be SURE to get liability when you rent a car, if you don't already have it on your own insurance -- It's usually $6-$10 more.

    You don't EVER need to get full coverage from them, that's just a waste of money -- your credit card will cover it.
    I just pulled out my credit card agreement and this is good advice. The rental agency will offer 2 types of insurance. One is to protect the car (Collision insurance) the other is to protect you (Liability). With the credit card you don't need the first. But to DO need the second if you don't already have an auto insurance policy.

    Check you agreement - or better yet call the card company first before renting. If you are like me you probably get a "revision" to your agreement every other week.

  17. #17
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    P.S. - I belong to the car sharing program Flexcar. Last I checked they provide $1 million liability insurance to their members. That is far better than what 95% of the drivers out have. So if you are riding along on your bike pick the Flexcar to get run over by if you can

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    I rent cars maybe 6 times a year. I moved to Chicago about 9 years ago and I sold my car after I lived here for a few months.

    I also didn't have a credit card for a while. So it does limit your choices, and as one person pointed out, they do put $250-$300 on your debit card that may or may not clear right away so keep that in mind when traveling.

    Because I don't have a car I also don't have insurance. I have never had a problem with not being able to drive without proof of insurance. I sometimes take the liability insurance. At <$10/day I figure it is worth it.

    A few years ago my dad rented a car and almost totalled it. The cop on the scene said it wasn't his fault but I think there were no tickets written or something wierd like that so they (the insurance companies) were trying to determin who should pay for the car. My dad did not sign up for their insurance but he owned a car so they tried making his auto insurance pay for it. When they refused then they went after American Express which is what my dad used to rent the car. At the end of it, my dad didn't have to pay anything because he was not at fault. It was a huge pain in the butt for him so maybe if he had signed up for the insurance it would have saved him a ton of phone calls and months of "he said, she said" and other BS on the phone.

    Also if you have a debit card and not a credit card, like I do, there is now a check box or and info link on the side of most travel sites like Orbitz and HotWire. I personally like Hotwire for renting cars bc they offer unlimited miles when you book through them even if their partner (Avis, Hertz, etc) don't offer it. I also get good rates and I can use my debit card. If you knew all the secret handshakes and promo codes you could probally do just as well going directly to the rental site (ie Hertz) but I don't know it and Hotwire is easier.

    A friend of mine had a rental car in Vegas and went nuts with it. It was like an Isuzu Rodeo or something and he got chased by the cops and drove it off road and up the side of the mountainand tore it up pretty good. When he "regained his presence of mind" (I think this happened after the vehical would no longer move) he turned himself in. They had to tow the truck down on to the road and then haul it away on a flatbed.

    He waived the rental insurance and Hertz came after him for the entire amount of the vehical something like $18k. He ended up talking to someone, and I can't remeber who, but he pleaded with them to take it easy on him and put the truck together with used parts or something. I don't know exactly. He is a pretty smooth talker and I think he got it down to $8 or 9k and he was paying that off.

    In that case he was under the influence so I don't know what insurance would have done with that even if he had it.

    Here in Chicago they have I-Go which is a division of Flexcar I think. It seems to be a great option and several people I know use it. It is somewhere around $6/hr + $0.50 mile and that includes insurance and gas. You get screwed if you use it on a roadtrip but if you jsut run errands with it is ideal.

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    In addition, some vendors and insurance

    In addition, some vendors and insurance companies offer "Total Loss Coverage." This is similar to ordinary GAP insurance but be different in that instead of paying off the negative equity on a vehicle that is a total loss, the policy gives a certain amount, usually up to $5000, toward the purchase or arrange of a new vehicle. Thus, to some extent the distinction makes no difference, i.e., in either case the vendor receives a certain sum of money. However, in choosing which type of policy to purchase, the owner should consider whether, in case of a total loss, it is more benefit for him or her to have the policy pay off the negative equity or provide a down payment on a new vehicle.
    Car Rentals
    ========
    Sean Cruz

  20. #20
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Set the Wayback machine!

    Last edited by Roody; 05-01-09 at 11:42 AM.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  21. #21
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    I belong to a local car sharing program, insurance is part of the deal.
    One thing that is particularly useful, I think, is that if I get a car again, I will have an insurance record through the car share organization, and won't have to start without discount. This can be lots of money.

    As far as the rental insurance situation is concerned, I would check what the local, rules are concerning what is covered or not. I would definitely get some unbiased advice.

  22. #22
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldfeet View Post
    I belong to a local car sharing program, insurance is part of the deal.
    One thing that is particularly useful, I think, is that if I get a car again, I will have an insurance record through the car share organization, and won't have to start without discount. This can be lots of money.

    As far as the rental insurance situation is concerned, I would check what the local, rules are concerning what is covered or not. I would definitely get some unbiased advice.
    What is a car-sharing program? This sounds like the Holy Grail for people who might occasionally need cars. Please tell us more.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Blossom's Avatar
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  24. #24
    Senior Member Blossom's Avatar
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    Hmmm. Nevermind, you're in Iowa. Zipcars are more a big city sort of deal.

  25. #25
    Senior Member
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    I know a few people in Chicago who really like Zip Car, I really hope we see this type of thing show up in the Iowa metros sooner than later. I think that these services would be especially nice if combined with passenger rail - the car share companies could lease parking spots at a train station.
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