Does Bank of America Offer Rental Car Insurance?
Last Updated on December 7, 2020
Does Bank of America offer rental car insurance? The short answer is, yes it does. This article gives you a more detailed look at Bank of America rental car insurance. Learn which situations this insurance works for and when you might want to consider the rental agency’s insurance.
The Need for Rental Car Insurance
When you are in an accident or your car is in the shop for general repairs and you need a way to get to and from work, or when you fly on vacation and need a way to get around your vacation destination, a rental car is the perfect solution.
But with that rental car comes the question of whether to take out insurance from the rental car company or rely on what you already have. Given the potentially high cost of something as simple as a rock chipping the windshield, you want to make sure that you are protected. In most cases, this protection needs to cover the cost of repairs and the daily rental car fee, since many rental car businesses charge for every day that their car is down for repairs.
Buying rental car coverage through the rental car agency might seem like a good idea, especially if it’s cheap enough. What most people don’t realize, however, is that they might already have adequate rental protection through another policy.
What Other Policies Give You Rental Car Insurance?
Where else might you have coverage already in place? There are two main places:
Your insurance policy is the first place to look, and this will probably give you the most substantive coverage. Your credit card company, such as Bank of America, may help fill in any gaps.
Homeowner’s insurance and renter’s insurance may play a role too since they may cover personal items inside your vehicle. And your health insurance may cover health liability beyond what is covered by your auto policy.
Your Existing Car Insurance Policy
If you carry comprehensive and liability coverage for your car insurance, that typically extends to rental cars. If you need to rent a car, check with your auto insurance provider about what your coverage includes. Rental car coverage varies considerably and may only be an option if you specifically ask to have it added to your policy. Contact your insurance agent and ask:
- Does your existing policy cover rental cars?
- Does your coverage only cover rental car repair costs, or will it also pay the daily fee for the days the rental car is out of service (loss of use costs)?
- Is your coverage enough to cover the full cost of the rental car if it is totaled plus repairs to any other vehicles?
- Are secondary drivers covered by your policy?
- What is the cost of your rental car repair deductible? Is it the same as when you are driving your own car?
- Does your policy cover personal property or theft, or only collision?
- How much personal injury liability do you have for medical bills?
Once you know your insurance deductible cost, compare that to the cost of supplemental insurance through your credit card or through the rental car agency. In many cases your regular car insurance policy coverage, if you have it, will cover most of your rental car needs, and Bank of America may fill in any gaps. Exceptions might include rental cars for vacations or times when you want to splurge on a brand new Corvette as your rental car. Fancier cars tend to necessitate more coverage. Your insurance company may even require that you accept the smallest, cheapest car available or at least pay the difference for the upgrade.
Another consideration is that your homeowner’s policy or renter’s insurance may cover some costs, such as theft of personal property from the rental car. If all your insurance is through the same company, you should also ask about this while you are talking to your agent.
Bank of America’s Rental Car Insurance
While your primary car insurance is the first place to look, the second place is your Bank of America account. Like many credit card providers, Bank of America offers rental car insurance. This coverage is actually provided through VISA or Mastercard for credit cards. If you have comprehensive and liability coverage that extends to a rental car, then Bank of America can provide supplemental coverage. If you don’t have comprehensive and liability coverage, then Bank of America can serve as your primary rental car insurance.
If you have a Bank of America consumer credit card, the fine print on your Bank of America credit card includes rental car insurance coverage. But that fine print also has some requirements and restrictions that you need to consider before renting a car:
- You have to reserve and pay for your rental car with your Bank of America Card.
- The credit card insurance is secondary if you already have rental car coverage through your existing car insurance policy.
- Not every type of vehicle is covered, much the same as with a regular car insurance policy. So, it’s important to speak with Bank of America about what types of vehicles your specific card offers. Big trucks and motorcycles, for example, are usually not covered. And there may be a limit to the car value that the card will be willing to reimburse.
- To use this coverage you may have to decline the collision damage waiver from the rental car agency or any other type of insurance coverage through a third party when you make your reservation. The damage waiver is not an actual insurance product; it’s simply a waiver that would otherwise transfer financial responsibility to the rental car company when there has been a car accident or theft. But if you are using your Bank of America rental car insurance, you don’t want to sign over financial responsibility to the rental company but rather to Bank of America. The rental company generally offers the collision damage waiver in addition to other forms of supplemental insurance.
Before you use your Bank of America rental car insurance, check with Bank of America and ask some of the same questions you would ask your regular car insurance such as:
- How much is the deductible?
- What are the limits on coverage amounts?
- Which vehicles are excluded from coverage and which ones are definitely covered?
- Are other drivers covered under the supplement, and are there limitations to that?
- Does the insurance cover personal property and theft?
- Will the insurance pay the daily fee for the rental vehicle while it is out of service (loss of use costs)?
- If you don’t own a vehicle and have auto insurance, will the coverage serve as primary auto insurance, or is it only available as a supplement?
- Does the coverage include liability for personal injury and medical bills?
- Is there a time limit to how many days of rental can be covered?
When to Use Bank of America Rental Car Insurance or the Rental Agency Insurance
The insurance benefit on your Bank of America card can be very beneficial. However, there may also be situations where your Bank of America rental car insurance is either insufficient or not a good match. The same can be said of your private car insurance policy.
First, there may be times when your private insurance doesn’t offer coverage, but Bank of America still does. For example, your auto policy may not cover a rental car that is being used for work purposes. If you are taking the rental to travel for your job, you should check with your policy and with Bank of America. Bank of America may cover those extra work miles that your primary policy will not.
If you are worried about your personal items being stolen from your rental car and you don’t have coverage through renter’s insurance or homeowners insurance, it might be useful to invest in the personal effects insurance offered by the rental company directly, since auto insurance and Bank of America might not cover that. In some situations, you might be able to take out this insurance from the company in conjunction with the Bank of America rental car insurance for collisions.
If you don’t have protection for multiple drivers but you need coverage for everyone who will be behind the wheel on a road trip, then it is a good idea to see if either your Bank of America or rental car will cover every driver and capitalize on this benefit where it is available. Some rental agencies only allow one driver, so this might not apply to every situation.
Also, if your personal auto policy has low limits for personal injury, you may want additional health coverage/person injury liability from the car rental business. This is especially true if you are traveling outside of your health insurance coverage area, where your health insurance may be out of network or not apply. Credit card coverage doesn’t usually include this type of insurance.
Another practical thing to consider is whether your Bank of America card has a high enough credit limit to cover all the days that you will need the vehicle. Or will you need to pay for at least part of the cost through your bank account? On the other hand, if you get bonus points from your card or were plan on using it to pay anyway, it only makes sense to take advantage of all the card’s benefits. And if you also don’t need any of the extras that the rental insurance company insurance provides, why pay more for what you don’t need?
Finally, do the math. Which insurance company provides the lowest deductible? What are the potential out-of-pocket costs for each insurance on things that aren’t covered? When you add these together, does rental car insurance or Bank of America offer you the lowest total out of pocket cost? And if the answer is the rental car insurance, is it enough of a difference to justify paying for the extra insurance and/or collision damage waiver through the rental business? Or are you willing to take on extra financial risk to save money upfront on insurance?
All of these factors should be taken into consideration when you decide to rely on rental car insurance from Bank of America or take out an additional policy from the rental company.