Do I need Car Rental Insurance in Jamaica? This is a question you might have asked yourself after making a rash decision at the car rental counter on your last trip. You get there and in just a few seconds you have to decide if it is necessary to get LDW coverage or Liability coverage or Personal accident insurance…. OR all of them?
Hummingbird wants to ensure that you save as much as you can on your next rental! So, when you are ready to book, you are already fully informed about what you are already covered for.
Types of car rental insurance
The 4 main types of insurance that will usually be offered to you by car rental companies are:
- Loss/collision damage waiver (LDW/CDW)- This type of insurance covers you if your rental car is involved in an accident, stolen or vandalized. This can but does not always include “loss of use” which companies charge for the profits lost when a car is being repaired. Declining this insurance if you don’t have preexisting coverage can be costly. There is sometimes a deductible depending on the car rental company and if you get limited or full coverage for your loss/collision damage waiver. A deductible is the amount of money you have to pay toward repairs before your insurance covers the rest. You may pay USD$10 to USD$30 per day for this coverage.
- Liability Insurance- Sometimes called supplemental liability insurance, it covers any damage to other vehicles or property involved in incidents caused by the renter when using the car. It may also pay medical expenses for other persons hurt in a crash you caused. This may cost another USD$7 to USD$15 depending on the rental company
- Personal effects coverage – This is usually inexpensive at around USD$1 to USD$5 per day and protects the belongings that you take with you in your rental car. Whether they are damaged or stolen.
- Personal accident Insurance – USD$1 to USD$7 will usually protect you from medical costs of you and your own passengers during an accident when using the rental car.
When is car rental insurance in Jamaica not necessary?
Getting all of these different types of coverages when renting a car can be costly, oftentimes amounting up to more than the daily rate of the car itself. But the good thing is you might not need to get all of them. And in some cases, none. How do you know when it’s not necessary? Before leaving your home for the trip, follow up on the these:
Check your car insurance policy
If you don’t have your own car insurance then you obviously won’t have this coverage… But if you do have existing car insurance then your policy might help you out even for rentals.
For example, you might already have Supplemental Liability coverage with your car insurance company, especially if you are from the United States as it is required by most states. As mentioned before, this will protect you from costs involving damages to other vehicle and property as well as medical expenses of other persons who are hurt in a crash you caused. Just check to ensure that your coverage is sufficient and can cover you in abroad and you can skip the liability insurance offered by the rental company.
Secondly, your existing car insurance policy might cover you for comprehensive and collision damages. Comprehensive meaning damages to your car from non-driving incidents such as vandalism, theft or fires. Collision meaning damage is done to your car during a crash. Fewer people have this type of coverage from their current car insurance policies, especially if you own an old car with high mileage. Check to see if your current car insurance policy extends this coverage to rental cars and if they do, does it apply abroad as well? You may not need to opt for the LDW/CDW offered by the car rental company if all of these checks out.
Check your credit card benefits
Look into your credit card agreements. Often times your credit card company might cover various types damages from medical costs or theft to damage to the car. However, there are usually a few restrictions:
- The purchase must be made with that credit card
- Again, check to see if the credit card’s benefits apply abroad if you are not from Jamaica.
- Some credit cards have rental period limits such as 15 or 30 days. You won’t get any benefits if your rental was longer than the limit stated
- Some credit cards hold back benefits if the damages involved are for luxury rentals or full-sized SUVs.
- The credit card company usually has limits to how much it will pay for and usually caps at figures such as USD$25,000 and USD$50,000.
- Credit card benefits are usually secondary and will only cover charges your car insurance doesn’t cover. Often times, you also have to refuse the car rental company’s coverages to take advantage of these benefits.
Check your health insurance
Getting the personal accident insurance from the car rental company is usually NOT necessary if you have health insurance. Check to ensure your preexisting coverage is adequate. Medical coverage is also sometimes provided through your car insurance as well.
Check your home insurance or renter’s insurance policy
When it comes to your personal possessions being damaged or stolen, your home or renter’s insurance might already cover that. Deeming the personal effects coverage from the rental company NOT necessary. Just check to ensure you know the limitations of your coverage.
Check your travel insurance policy
If you have travel insurance that covers comprehensive/collision, this can usually replace the LDW/CDW offered by car rental companies. Like your credit card benefits, these can sometimes be secondary. So they might only cover you where your own auto insurance company doesn’t.
When you should get car rental insurance
We do not advise paying for car rental insurance when you are already covered but there are certain times when they might actually be useful or necessary:
- You’re on a business trip- Most likely your preexisting insurance policies are personal. Such as your personal car insurance. These might not cover you for business trips at all. In this case, the company that you work for should pay for the rental car insurance.
- Your car insurance doesn’t cover you in Jamaica– The loss/ collision damage waiver and liability insurance from the rental company might come in handy if your car insurance doesn’t cover your in Jamaica or abroad in general.
- You have no car insurance or your coverage is small– If you have very high deductibles, or you don’t have comprehensive and collision overage, you’ll probably want to think about at least opting for the rental company’s loss damage waiver. If you have no car insurance at all, you’ll also need to spring for supplemental liability.
- Protecting your personal insurance rates- If you want to keep your monthly insurance payments down, whether auto or health, then you do not have to involve them at all but instead opt for the different kinds of coverages offered by the rental company.
To see Hummingbird Car Rental’s insurance offers and their rates please visit our Terms and Conditions page.