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This may not be exactly the right forum for this question but I felt you guys would be closest. This will be the first time I'll be renting a car; hence the questions:

The credit card I'll be using is my Amex. I confirmed with them that I'm covered by Amex itself for collision damage on the rented vehicle. Theoretically at least, I won't have to pay extra for the "insurance" offered by Hertz.

My question is - are there any "gotchas" here? Would I truly be better off paying extra for the collision damage waiver? Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks.
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My question is - are there any "gotchas" here? Would I truly be better off paying extra for the collision damage waiver? Any advice would be appreciated.

The Collision Damage Waiver covers damage to the rental car, not damage to anything else you hit. There are also certain limits on what cars are covered by the waiver, so don't rent a Corvette or certain other high end cars.

For liability, the CDW covers nothing, so you either need to purchase it from Hertz or depend on your own liability insurance, assuming you have a car. I have a co-worker who got stuck with a very large bill due to not carrying the right insurance, so make sure your covered.
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"My question is - are there any "gotchas" here? Would I truly be better off paying extra for the collision damage waiver? Any advice would be appreciated."

I had a similar question for my insurance agent a while back. He said not to bother with the rental car company's extra insurance in that I am indeed insured up to the limits of my own policy when driving a rental car. The extra coverage provided by your credit card is probably a bit of frosting. (Don't know about rentals in foreign countries.)
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Since you are a first-time car renter, be prepared for the rental agent to try to frighten you when you decline their rental insurance. Just don't get hung up with their scare tactics. (They will not take your first-born, nor will they forclose on your house.)

Also, on the rental company's Website, so there is no surprise at the airport, notice the amounts charged for "fees" and taxes. I've rented cars where the fees and taxes exceeded the basic rental charge.
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I did check with my insurance company and I'm covered for liability in a rented car, with limits per my own policy. I've never carried collision on my own vehicle so I was primarily concerned about that.

Thanks to all for the info.
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I had a similar question for my insurance agent a while back. He said not to bother with the rental car company's extra insurance in that I am indeed insured up to the limits of my own policy when driving a rental car. The extra coverage provided by your credit card is probably a bit of frosting. (Don't know about rentals in foreign countries.)

Just remember, your own policy only covers the value of your cars. So if you have a 10k car and the car you are renting is 20k, you will be in for a nasty surprise if you total the rental.
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"Just remember, your own policy only covers the value of your cars. So if you have a 10k car and the car you are renting is 20k, you will be in for a nasty surprise if you total the rental."

Excellent point, well taken.
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The credit card I'll be using is my Amex.

A lot of Gold and Platinum cards carry some insurance along with them. I'm a little vague on exactly what's included, but at least enough that I'm comfortable turning down whatever the car rental company offers. If you have multiple credit cards, I'd check and see if any have insurance coverage included.

martybl
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One more thing: read the terms of your credit card's rental coverage and make sure it covers 'loss of use' in addition to physical damage.
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From the AMEX Web Site

Use your Card - When you are the primary renter,
simply use your eligible Card to reserve and pay
for your auto rental.


Say "No Thanks" - Decline the collision damage
waiver (CDW) or similar option when you are reserving and picking up your car from the Commercial Car Rental Company.


Enjoy the Ride - The Car Rental Loss and Damage
Insurance Plan provides coverage against theft of or
damage to most rental vehicles. Coverage applies for the first 30 days, and is in excess to your other sources of insurance.
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The only gotcha is that they will charge you for the full amount of the deductible even if the damage is less than that. So if you have a $1000 deductible, and the damage is a $50 ding, they will still charge you $1000 and then you have to get reimbursed.
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I don't know if this is in time, but I had an experience with some damage to a rental car 2 years ago and found out that VISA will protect you up to the limits of your deductible on your own insurance -- or at least they did then. I suggest you check VISA's web site to see if this is still true.

This story may help you:

We flew out to a western city and rented from a major car company. I declined the CDW. When we returned the car, their agent REFUSED to go out and look at the car with me, signed me off as PAID, took my VISA, and sent me on my way, so we caught our flight home.

Lesson #1: Check your car THOROUGHLY before you take it from the lot AND before you bring it back. Take photos of it if anything is seen.

Lesson #2: INSIST that the rental agent CHECK the car WITH you before you sign or leave. (We felt that he was a jerk for not doing that and raised hell with the car rental outfit over it later.)

When we got home, we had TWO phone messages from him and his supervisor telling us WE were responsible for a $300 "scratch" to a side panel on the car!

I won't bore you with the upsetting letters and calls and such that dragged out for the next few weeks. Suffice it to say my insurance had a $500 deductible so I had NO coverage there. However, a kind soul informed me that, if you use VISA, you can go to them and file forms within 30 days after the damage and they would pay!

I got the forms on line, called them, filled out and mailed the forms, etc., and, sure enough, very soon afterward, they sent a check for the $300 to the rental company -- and sent me a photocopy of the check! Finis!

Maybe other cards do this; I don't know, but I'd check with them or VISA just in case.

Good luck -- and enjoy the trip!!!

Vermonter
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