If you’ve rented a car, you’re no doubt familiar with the “loss damage waiver” car rental companies offer to relieve you of liability for damage to the vehicle in an accident. Rental truck companies also offer such coverage when you rent their vehicles for a move or to carry cargo. Insurance coverage is also available when you rent a truck to move or carry cargo. But is rental truck insurance necessary?
What is rental truck insurance?
Though vehicle rental coverage is often referred to as insurance, technically these products, which the rental companies refer to as “loss damage waivers,” aren’t insurance. The rental agency has its own insurance on the vehicle. If you purchase the loss damage waiver the rental company offers, the company is waiving its right to charge you for damages.
What is covered?
When it comes to renting a car, you can usually safely refuse to purchase a loss damage waiver because your personal auto insurance will cover you and the vehicle. The credit card you use to reserve and rent the vehicle will likely pay for what your auto insurance does not.
The situation is different with rental trucks, however. Neither your personal auto insurance nor your credit card is likely to cover damages to rental trucks over a certain small size. In fact, many personal auto coverage policies expressly exclude coverage of cargo trucks.
Because of this difference, it’s advisable to purchase rental truck insurance, which typically runs $20 a day or more. This coverage will protect you in the event the vehicle is damaged. Exceptions are mechanical damage caused by vehicle misuse, tire damage, and damage to the top of the truck caused by driving under a bridge too low for passage.
What is not covered?
It’s important to note what rental truck insurance does not cover. In addition to the exclusions just mentioned, standard rental truck insurance will not protect you against damage to your belongings in the truck or to other vehicles. Nor will the rental truck insurance cover injuries or loss of life to any person involved in an accident if you are found liable.
If you have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance on your belongings, that coverage may extend to them when in the rental truck. Review your policy or check with your insurance company before the move. You also can usually pay an additional daily cargo coverage fee to the rental company to protect your personal property.
While your personal auto policy’s collision coverage will not protect the truck rental, it may protect you against personal injury claims. Again, check your policy carefully or check with your insurance company before you get to the rental desk. Truck rental agencies usually sell both minimal personal injury liability protection as well as stepped-up, or “plus,” coverages.