If you’ve ever had to cancel a vacation or had an accident with a rental car, you know the value of insurance. But how much travel and rental car insurance do you need and do you really always need it?

Types of Travel Insurance

The two most popular types of travel insurance are…

  1. Vacation Plan. It provides the most coverage in a single policy, including trip cancellation, lost luggage, travel delays, emergency medical assistance, and more. This type of plan usually comes with 24/7 assistance.
  2. Medical Plan. Your health insurance policy doesn’t cover you outside the U.S.— or if it does, it’s often not a lot of coverage. Travel medical plans cover healthcare expenses and can connect you with a local doctor or pharmacy. Some plans cover pre-existing conditions. They also cover emergency medical evacuations, if you need to be airlifted to a hospital.

There also are specialty travel policies that you can buy. These include medical evacuations only, accident insurance, and rental car insurance. Read more about rental car insurance, below.


Why you need travel insurance:

    • You don’t want to lose all your money from a prepaid trip that has to be canceled (for illness, a funeral, etc.).
    • Flights can be delayed, necessitating unexpected expenses for meals and lodging.
    • Lost luggage can spoil your trip.
    • Accidents happen and health crises occur. Medical evacuations can be costly.
    • Travel insurance can provide peace of mind, and assistance when you need it.


What to look out for in a travel insurance plan:

    • Make sure you insure the full value of your trip. If you just insure your deposit, that’s the amount you’ll recoup.
    • Make sure your plan has enough for emergency medical evacuation. This can sometimes be in the thousands of dollars.
    • Know the services that come with your policy. It could include translation, concierge services, and 24-hour travel assistance. If you’re paying for these services, you might as well use them.
    • Watch out for “cancel for any reason” coverage. Usually this is a substantial extra expense, and in most cases, is not needed. Check the reasons that you can cancel for the standard policy. Usually, those will cover what you need.


Types of Rental Car Insurance

Rental car insurance is a specialized kind of travel insurance. You can purchase rental car insurance as an add-on with many travel insurance policies. You will be offered the opportunity to buy rental car insurance when you rent a car. These coverages are all optional.

Following are the types of coverage you may be offered:

    • Collision/Loss Damage Waiver – This covers the cost of repairs in the event of an accident. Rental car companies can charge you for more than just the damage. They can also bill for towing charges, loss of use, diminished value, and administrative fees.
    • Supplemental Liability Protection – If you cause an accident, liability pays for the damage to another person or property.
    • Personal Effects Coverage – This helps cover items stolen from your rental car (e.g. laptop, clothing). You may have this coverage through renter’s insurance.
    • Personal Accident Insurance – This pays your and your passenger’s medical bills as well as for an ambulance and death benefits. You may already have this coverage through your health, life, or auto insurance.

Before you purchase rental car insurance, make sure you don’t already have coverage under your personal auto insurance policy, your health insurance, life insurance or your credit card. Know what your insurance covers in terms of car rentals, including the deductible you may need to pay in the event of an accident.


When you need rental car insurance:

    • If you’re traveling for business, your personal auto policy will not cover you. You will need rental car insurance.
    • If renting a vehicle of higher value than the car you usually drive, your auto policy may not provide enough insurance. In that case, you may need additional insurance.
    • If you’re worried about your premiums going up due to a rental car accident using your own insurance, get the rental insurance.


What to look out for when purchasing rental car insurance:

    • Some rental car companies will ask for damages above policy limits. So you should still read the rental contract to see what would work best for you.
    • If you’re using your credit card’s rental car insurance, make sure you pay for the rental car using that card or it won’t cover you. Also, don’t sign up for supplemental rental car insurance. That may negate credit card coverage.
    • Check your credit card terms for insurance. Sometimes insurance does not apply to luxury vehicles, RVs, motorcycles, or trucks.
    • Credit card insurance doesn’t cover you in some countries, including Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, and Australia.

California Casualty offers rental car insurance on vacation with our auto policies! If you carry liability and physical damage coverage on your vehicle, you may extend that coverage to a rental car. Your coverage applies as long as you, your spouse, or a resident relative is driving the rental car.

Plus, we will waive the collision deductible for a collision with another Cal Cas policyholder, with an “identified” uninsured motorist, or while operating a rented non-owned vehicle while on vacation.



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.


California Casualty

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