Insurance 101: Rental Car Coverage

August 12, 2015

Average Joe Learns about Insurance

Does Average Joe go to the local library and start checking out books on Insurance and risk management? Not likely! Average Joe does what any self-respecting, hard-working, average guy would do. He heads to work, takes a break at the water cooler, and starts asking his buddy the insurance question haunting his every moment for the last several days. 

That question: Is Average Joe covered in Puerto Rico driving a rental car on an unpaved road which looks much like a cow path?

Obviously, Average Joe has asked the right person because Know-It-All Bill has a brother that just happens to be in the insurance business, selling flight insurance at the airport. Joe needs an insurance agent because he has always bought his insurance from 1-800-LIZ-ARDS. Joe waited on hold for 25 minutes before the torture of the elevator music forced him to cringe, hang up, and look for a real insurance expert.    

Don’t choose the seat-of-the-pants plan. Choosing an insurance agent is not a beauty contest or a comedy show. Here are some qualities you should look for in an insurance agent.

  • Length of time in business
  • Professional designations
  • Number and quality of companies represented
  • Membership in professional organizations
  • Recognition in the community as experts in insurance
  • When you interview the agent and the agency for the job of being your insurance professional, does he or she treat you as a person and not a number?

Now to the answer to Joe’s question: It is no…yes… and maybe. Most rental car agreements have a prohibition against driving on unpaved roads.

Does that mean a personal auto policy will not pay a claim if the rental car is driven on an unpaved road? No. Only if there is language in your personal auto policy that states you must comply with the rules of the rental car agreement. Some policies do not specify compliance; therefore, anyone could drive the rental car even if not listed on the rental car agreement, even on an unpaved road. Puerto Rico is a part of the coverage territory in a standard auto policy. So the real answer is…maybe. That is why Average Joe needs an agent to advise him. Doesn’t everyone?

For more information, or for a no-obligation insurance quote, please contact Ray Chappell at 317.846.5554.