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Will You Be 'Waiver-ing' at the
Rental Car Counter?

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It's winter! Warmer climes and snow-covered ski resorts are calling! Throngs of excited vacationers will find themselves frozen at the rental car counter, facing one of the most dreaded of all vacation conundrums: Do I buy the rental car damage waiver or not?

The seeming avalanche of advice endured by consumers may only be adding to the problem. Some advisors address the issue as one of fairness versus rip-off. Credit card providers tout why no waiver is needed — or why you should buy one from them. What should be a minor bump in your vacation road can assume major fear status when you read the rental agency warnings as to just how costly it could be if you decline the coverage.

The best approach is to make the decision long before arriving at the rental car counter. First, while making your vacation plans, decide what type of vehicle you’ll need to rent. Next, contact your insurance provider to review exactly what coverage your current personal auto policy will provide for the vehicle you plan to rent, with your intended usage, in the vacation location. Consider any applicable deductibles and the specific process any claim will take. For example, what is the typical length of time before a rental is repaired, returned, and the rental agency turns off the "pay for every day the car is out of service" meter?

Next, compare the damages you will assume for the vehicle against the coverage you already have. With that information, you finally can decide whether the cost of the waiver to transfer all of these potential burdens off of your mind and back to the rental firm (or credit card provider) is worth your money. Now, get on with that vacation!

©2013 Selective Ins. Group, Inc. (Branchville, NJ). "Selective" insurers include Selective Ins. Co. of America, Selective Ins. Co. of New England, Selective Ins. Co. of N.Y., Selective Ins. Co. of South Carolina, Selective Ins. Co. of the Southeast, Selective Way Ins. Co., Selective Cas. Ins. Co, Selective Fire and Cas. Ins. Co and Selective Auto Ins. Co. of N.J. Insurers and products available vary by jurisdiction.