Hit the road with the insurance you need
The idea of a summer road trip can seem dreamy. But when you go to rent that convertible, know what your own auto insurance covers before you accept the rental company's policy.
The insurance sold at the rental counter typically includes, among other things, liability protection for lawsuits, personal accident insurance for medical or ambulance needs, and personal effects coverage for theft of your belongings in the car, says the institute.
You may not need all of that. Check your auto policy and your credit card agreement, which also may provide car rental coverage.
Here's a key question: If a rental is damaged, will you have to pay upfront for repairs and wait for reimbursement, or will your insurer cover the costs right away?
"That's a huge issue, and if you are ever caught in it where you decline the car rental company's insurance thinking you are covered and you find out you are responsible for paying thousands of dollars in costs, that's a huge reality check," says Cynthia Brough, a consultant and former national spokeswoman for auto club AAA.
Crossing into Canada or Mexico? Look into insurance requirements and whether you need to take proof of coverage.