Every driver in the United States who wishes to drive on public roads must first purchase liability insurance that will provide him financial protection in the event that he gets into an accident and damages another person's property or causes injury. If the person wishes, he may also purchase additional insurance coverage that will provide him compensation to repair his own car. Some policies allow for the rental of a car while the owner's primary vehicle is being repaired.
All coverage provided by an insurance policy that goes toward the repair of the owner's vehicle is referred to as comprehensive coverage. In additional to compensating the owner if the vehicle is damaged or stolen, many comprehensive policies provide the driver with transportation while his vehicle is inoperable, allowing him to prevent his life from being interrupted. However, not all comprehensive policies provide for a rental car.
When a person takes out comprehensive coverage, the insurance company will generally give him a variety of options regarding what sort of coverage he wants to have. The more extensive the coverage, meaning the more contingencies are covered and the more benefits provided the driver, the more money the driver will pay in premiums. To save money, some drivers may opt to not purchase a policy that provides them a rental car.
If a person does have a policy that provides him a rental car when he cannot drive his main vehicle, the exact car that he will be allowed to rent will depend on how the policy is worded. In some cases, an insurance policy will provide the individual a certain amount of money per day to spend on renting a car. The person can use this money to rent a comparable vehicle; if this is not enough, he will have to pay the difference out of pocket.
An insurance company will only be obligated to make sure that the person is provided a comparable vehicle if his policy explicitly states that insurance company must do so. Otherwise, whether a person will be able to rent a comparable vehicle will be largely determined by the payout he receives for the policy and the going rate for rental cars in his area. Also, the term "comparable" can be misinterpreted: a policy will generally speak very specifically about what kind of car it will provide the owner.
- "Car Insurance Secrets"; Ron Alford; 2002
Michael Wolfe has been writing and editing since 2005, with a background including both business and creative writing. He has worked as a reporter for a community newspaper in New York City and a federal policy newsletter in Washington, D.C. Wolfe holds a B.A. in art history and is a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y.