Ahhh, sweet summertime. Time for warm weather, grilling out, and taking vacations. While traveling and renting a car, one question always comes up, “Should I purchase the rental car insurance?” Well, to put it simply…”it depends”. There are a variety of factors to consider when deciding whether or not to purchase rental car insurance.
Here are a few tips from American Advantage – Petersen in New Berlin, Wisconsin to help decide if you should purchase coverage:
What coverage will the rental car company offer?
While at the rental car counter, they will typically offer you 2 different coverage waivers – they can be purchased individually or together
Physical Damage Waiver: covers damage to the car itself
Liability Waiver: which covers resulting damage to the other person’s car and medical bills if you are at fault in an accident
What will my auto policy cover on a rental vehicle?
Your personal auto policy will extend physical damage and liability to a rented vehicle, within the limits of your current coverage. Example: If you have a $500 collision deductible & liability limits of $300,000, you would have that same coverage while driving a rental
If you only have liability coverage on your own vehicle, you will need to purchase the Physical Damage Waiver
If you have collision and other than collision coverage on at least 1 vehicle, that same coverage will carry over from your policy to the rented vehicle
What will potentially not be covered on a rental vehicle?
Some rental agreements can hold you responsible for “loss of use”. If you are in an accident while driving a rental and the car needs to be repaired, the rental company can charge you the loss of rental fees while the car is in the shop. Example:If a rental car costs $30 a day and the car is in the shop for 3 weeks, you could be charge $30 X 21 or $630 of “loss of use”
Some rental agreements can also hold you responsible for “diminution in value”. This means, the renal company can charge for the reductions in the car’s market value due to its having been in an accident. When the repaired car is eventually sold, it may bring in a lower price. The difference in value of the car before the accident and after the accident is the “diminution in value”. Example: If a rental car is worth $20,000 prior to the accident, and can only be sold for $15,000 after the accident, the diminutive value would be $5,000. Most personal auto policies will not cover this.
Things to consider when purchasing rental car insurance:
How important is your time and cost of your trip? If you’re in an accident with a rental car and did not purchase the physical damage or liability waivers, you need to file a claim with your own personal auto carrier and pay any applicable deductibles. Reporting and sorting through the loss details can occupy enough of your time and may cause you to miss a flight or scheduled event. Purchasing the insurance through a rental company can save time and hassle.
What type of vehicle are you renting? If you are renting a U-Haul or another large truck you will most likely need to purchase the rental agency’s insurance. There is a weight limit on your personal auto policy and most times these vehicles fall outside that limit.
Where are you traveling? Your personal auto policy covers you only for travel in the USA, its territories, & Canada. If you are traveling internationally, you will definitely need to purchase from the rental agency.
Cost for insuring your teen driver relies on many different factors, such as age, where you live, type of vehicle, age of vehicle, etc. Young drivers are more expensive to insure due to lack of experience driving. If you live in a larger city, your premium will be higher due to that. To reduce costs, consider purchasing an older vehicle for your teen driver to use. Having liability only on a vehicle vs. full coverage will help to keep the premium lower. If your child has a 3.0 or higher in school, they will be eligible for a good student discount with many insurance companies. Typically, this discount can reduce the premium about 10% for the driver receiving the discount.
Tips to help avoid claims for a teen driver:
Distracted Driving: Stress the importance of not texting while driving to your teen driver. It has shown that texting and driving can be 10x more dangerous than drinking and driving.
Alcohol/Drug Use: This one may seem obvious, but with the new freedom of having a driver’s license, it might be the best time to discuss the ill effects of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Bad Weather: Always avoid the first solo ride for your child when there is inclement weather (ex: snow storm, high winds, heavy rain). It is best to experiment in parking lots during this time to better prepare your young driver for future . Also, ensure the windshield is kept clean & free of any debris that will interfere with visibility while driving.
Distance behind gravel trucks: Gravel flying off of trucks can be very harmful to a vehicle’s windshield. It can cause the windshield to have to be repaired, or fully replace. Make sure your child keeps 2 car’s length of distance between themselves and the truck to avoid being hit with falling gravel.
Lending and Borrowing: Do not let your child lend out the vehicle they are driving to their friends or borrow their friend’s vehicle, even if it is just for a quick ride. If your child borrows the car to their friend, and the friend gets in an accident, the responsibility falls onto your child’s insurance policy. Car insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver.
Combine with your home or renters insurance: Combining your car insurance with your home or renters insurance can provide a significant discount. Typically, insurance companies will give a discount of around 20% on both car insurance policies and home insurance policies when they are bundles together. This is a great way to help lower car insurance costs!
Select a higher deductible: In many cases, selecting a higher deductible will provide you with a lower cost up front. The down side to this is in the event of a loss, you will pay more out of pocket.
Check for discounts: There are a variety of discounts that are available when purchasing car insurance. It is always a good idea to ask your agent if you qualify for any. A couple of examples of discounts that could be available are paid in full, EFT, good student, and safe driver.
Keep your driving record clean: Practice safe driving to reduce your number of claims. Less citations and insurance claims will help to lower your car insurance costs.
Work with an independent insurance agent: Most agents only represent one insurance company, whereas, independent agents represent multiple companies (usually around 20 different insurance companies). The independent agent does the shopping around for you and works on your behalf, not the insurance company. Would you rather have 1 option or 20? They offer unbiased advice on the best insurance options that fit your needs.
Are you ready to work with an agent who will find you the correct coverage to fit your life at a competitive price? Contact the insurance professionals of American Advantage – Petersen Group in New Berlin, Wisconsin for all our your car insurance needs!
Distracted driving is becoming more and more common today. Distracted driving as defined by NHTSA is, “any activity that diverts attention from driving”. In 2016 alone, distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,450 people. Social media and texting are huge parts of our every day lives, and the way we communicate with one another has shifted. It seems as if teens are in constant communication with their friends via text message, or scrolling through social media apps on their smartphones. These activities have become so normalized and simple in the minds of teens. A recent study has shown that 77% of teens believe that they can easily and safely send a text message while driving and according to Lookout Security, 75% of teen drivers admit to texting while driving. One of the first lessons we learn in driver’s education is to not take your eyes off the road, but reading or responding to a text message means taking your eyes off of the road for a minimum of 5 seconds. If you are going 55 mph, that is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes shut.
During the day there are approximately 481,000 drivers that use their cell phones while driving. Teens were the largest age group that were reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes. The easiest way to avoid an accident due to distracted driving, is to simply not participate in the activities that cause distracted driving. We know, that’s easier said than done. How can parents help teens avoid distracted driving? Parents can discuss the dangers of distracted driving with their children and try to instill safe driving practices in their mind from the beginning of their driving journey. There are a variety of smartphone apps to download that can help with distracted driving by eliminating the use of texting while in a moving vehicle or only allowing hands free calling. Parents also have the ability to lead by example. If children and teens see their parents partaking in activities such as texting or social media use while driving, they may believe it is okay. Instead, demonstrate safe driving habits that will not only keep you and your passengers safe while driving, but also show your children how to engage in safe behaviors behind the wheel.
Winter is upon us. No matter where your location, it is important to be aware of the extra precautions necessary for safe winter driving. From rain, sleet, ice, snow, and cold, winter weather is unpredictable. Often times, in the face of inclement weather, your best decision can be to simply, stay home. Weather and driving conditions that deteriorate so rapidly in just a few hours can also improve as quickly. Follow these winter driving tips from American Advantage – Petersen Group in New Berlin, Wisconsin for when you must drive is less than ideal conditions:
Before You Hit the Road
Cold temperatures may affect the way your vehicle starts and runs. Check all of your fluid levels, such as antifreeze, and top off as necessary.
Keep your gas tank as full as possible (at least half full). Empty tanks allow condensation and moisture into the gas lines which can freese making your vehicle difficult to start.
Make sure your tires have adequate tread and are properly inflated.
Prepare an emergency kit to keep in your vehicle. Include jumper cables, a snow/ice scraper, sand or salt, a shovel, deicers, a blanket, gloves and even boots. If your vehicle get stranded, you will appreciate the warmer clothing.
Make sure your windshield and windows are clear before leaving your driveway or parking spot. You may be in a hurry but dangerously reduced peripheral, especially when driving snow may already reduce visibility, is an accident waiting to happen.
On the Road
The most important rule to remember is stay alert and avoid distractions. Stay off your cell phone until you reach your destination, or pull into a parking lot if you must use your device.
Give your car a chance to warm up. Cars are like people we need to warm up our bodies, and get the blood flowing before doing anything strenuous. Likewise, oil, needs to be lubricating your engines pistons and coolant needs to flow freely before you reach highway speeds. Why is this tip in the on the road section? Because you can conserve gas and warm your car up effectively by driving at 25 ‘ 30 miles per hour for the first mile or two instead of letting it idle in the driveway for five minutes. Moreover, idling in the driveway or parking spot does not warm up drive train components.
All wheel drive (AWD) and anti-lock brakes (ABS) are no substitute for driving sensibly. AWD and ABS can help you maintain control but they won’t make you invincible. Maintain safe distances and drive at speeds appropriate for conditions.
Should you become stranded remember it is usually best to stay with your vehicle until help arrives.