Rental car insurance and liability: What you should know

July 18th, 2014 by admin

Having a rental car while vacationing can add convenience and allow you to explore areas otherwise unaccessible. However, if you think that your credit card provides comprehensive liability coverage for your auto rental, you may want to double-check. A recent case of an Ontario woman, who found herself at fault in an accident involving a motorcyclist in Australia, shows that it's critical for customers to read the fine print.

Before purchasing a rental car for her Australian vacation, Kim Boudreau asked a representative if her BMO Mastercard provided coverage. The representative responded affirmatively. Yet, when Boudreau had to navigate the claims process, following the accident, she found out that the situation was different. Contrary to what Boudreau claims she was told on the phone, the company's credit card travel insurance plan states: "This coverage does not provide any form of third party automobile…or personal liability insurance," the category Boudreau's case fell under. 

BMO maintains that it did provide accurate information to Boudreau on three occasions, including its underwriter emailing her about the insurance policy as well as its exclusions while she would be vacationing. 

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario states that credit cards can provide collision damage for vehicle rentals. In order to be eligible for coverage, customers often need to charge the full price of the rental to the credit card and turn down the auto rental company's collision damage waiver. Since plans differ, the Commission reminds drivers to check with their company about its particular terms and limitations. 

Speaking to CTV, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia's (ICBC) Adam Grossman also advises motorists to ask their insurance providers basic questions before renting a vehicle, such as, "'If I damage the vehicle, will the damages be covered? If I hit somebody will I be covered for third party liability? If I'm injured in a crash, will I have accident benefits?'"

If you have questions about rental car insurance or would like an affordable car insurance quote, contact Fundy Mutual, and as always, follow our blog.