Car rental tips for consumers

Consumer reporter Michelle Singletary has written this article warning consumers about potential car-rental snafus, with a focus on how to insure the car. Some of her key tips:

●Double-check ahead of time what your personal auto policy covers for a rental, including whether you’re covered for “loss of use,” which is a charge you could have to pay while the vehicle is being repaired.

●Read your credit card agreement. Really pore over the conditions related to rental cars. ***

●Pay attention to the exclusions and restrictions. [Sometimes] the secondary coverage provides only collision damage to the rented vehicle. It does not cover injuries to [the renters] or anyone else. It doesn’t cover damages to other vehicles or property. And not all vehicle types are covered. *** [It may not cover really expensive cars at all.]

●The secondary insurance might not kick in if you rent the vehicle for longer than a certain number of days.

●Be sure to take pictures when you return the car.

●If you don’t want to risk an auto insurance claim, consider getting primary coverage from a third-party company. Shop around for rates. ***

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