Using Third-Party Rental Insurance? Read This First

Yes, it will save you money. But beware this complication.

Plenty of travelers these days are taking advantage of the collision insurance offered by third parties that is a lot less expensive than the rental companies’ CDW. Among them, InsureMyRentalCar.com offers collision/loss coverage for $7.50 per day, $17.50 per trip, or $99 per year. A rate of $7.50 a day looks a lot better than the rental companies’ charges up to $30 a day.

But one renter encountered a snag. InsureMyRentalCar requires that the insurance contract include the names of anyone who will drive the car, including spouses, and the reader wanted to make sure her husband was noted on the rental contract. “Not necessary,” said a rental agent, “We cover spouses automatically, so we don’t put a spouse’s name on the contract.”

What’s the way around this impasse? We checked with InsureMyRentalCar, and it is sticking with its “every driver’s name on the contract” requirement. So if you’re renting a car and want to cover collision with InsureMyRentalCar, you really need to have every driver’s name on the rental contract, regardless of the rental company’s usual practice. In our reader’s case, that meant asking the rental agent to enter the name manually. It can be a hassle, but look at how much money you’ll save.

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By Ed Perkins

A nationally recognized reporter, writer, and consumer advocate, Ed Perkins focuses on how travelers can find the best deals and avoid scams.

He is the author of "Online Travel" (2000) and "Business Travel: When It's Your Money" (2004), the first step-by-step guide specifically written for small business and self-employed professional travelers. He was also the co-author of the annual "Best Travel Deals" series from Consumers Union.

Perkins' advice for business travelers is featured on MyBusinessTravel.com, a website devoted to helping small business and self-employed professional travelers find the best value for their travel dollars.

Perkins was founding editor of Consumer Reports Travel Letter, one of the country's most influential travel publications, from which he retired in 1998. He has also written for Business Traveller magazine (London).

Perkins' travel expertise has led to frequent television appearances, including ABC's "Good Morning America" and "This Week with David Brinkley," "The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather," CNN, and numerous local TV and radio stations.

Before editing Consumer Reports Travel Letter, Perkins spent 25 years in travel research and consulting with assignments ranging from national tourism development strategies to the design of computer-based tourism models.

Born in Evanston, Illinois, Perkins lives in Ashland, Oregon with his wife.