Thursday, October 27, 2011

Playing Chicken at the Rental Car Counter

(Image by Torley)
I'm one of those over-prepared geeks who knows that I'll be getting useable insurance from both my credit card and my personal auto insurance when I rent a car. (Yes, I've read the fine print). But I still get nervous turning down the collision damage waiver, especially after the clerk fixes me with a beady stare and says "Are you absolutely sure? You realize if you get into an accident, you could be on the hook for the lost revenue from the car while its being repaired."

Okay, am I sure?

What I'm sure about is that its the clerks job to frighten me into buying insurance that I don't need. That act can add a whopping $30 a day to the cost of the rental car. So its a major source of profit for those car rental companies.

But on the other hand, the agent is right to ask because sometimes, sometimes, travelers think they're covered when they're not. And today eminent travel expert Ed Perkins has posted a darn good piece on which card covers what (and which leave travelers on the hook).

The most invidious gotcha? You rent a car with your credit card, but then add on something small--maybe the rental of a GPS unit--and pay for it in cash. And that action nullifies the coverage you got with your credit credit card because you didn't pay for the entire rental with the credit card.

I won't give away more of Ed's tips. Instead, click here to read this most helpful article.

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