Car rental insurance in NY – how to get started

Statue of Liberty in New York
New York has a lot to see beyond the Statue of Liberty

When planning a trip, there are lots of things to consider: the right type of clothes according to the season, necessary accessories that can be used before and during the holiday, as well as money and time management. Yet one of the most important aspects when deciding to travel to a specific place is to determine the means of transportation that will take you wherever you want to go. In this article we are going to talk about when is the right time to choose a rental car for your trip and how to get insurance that will protect the car you have rented, to avoid any nasty surprises.

New York is considered one of the most touristic cities in the United States, and probably in the world. It is also known internationally as a centre of the world’s economy with a lot of political, economic, architectural, artistic and other aspects that impact worldwide. All this makes New York one of the most iconic places to visit in the US, because of its multiculturalism and diversity in general.

Considering the great cultural variety of New York, in terms of tourism it isn’t far behind, offering a large number of spaces and places to visit. And, although any time of the year is good to visit, the different seasons all have their own charms . In spring and autumn, the colours of the parks are spectacular, with blooming flowers and the russet falling leaves having a striking effect. In winter, the Christmas arrangements and decorations are a huge draw, lighting up the city with more than just a sprinkling of fairy dust. It’s a magical time to enjoy a family holiday. Summer is fun too, with plenty of outdoor activities to choose from.

The incredible New York City Skyline

If you have already established the time of the year you would like to explore New York, you’re already half way there! Next you need to think about transportation. The best way to get around, especially if you’re planning on checking out the surrounding areas, or even travel further afield on a road trip, is to hire a car.

A rental car will help you to optimise your time as well as making your trip more comfortable. It’s much easier to go shopping or carry luggage with a car than it is on public transport. Keep in mind that a lot of the top tourist sites are far apart and planning your route with a rental car will make you enjoy your holiday much more.

To visit places like Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty, it’s a good idea to reserve a rental car for the trip. This is one of the easiest ways to get around the city and its surroundings, so you can enjoy each of its tourist attractions. You’ll be able to swing by places like Top of the Rock, the Natural History  Museum, and the Empire State Building, as well as venturing further afield to spots like Hudson Valley or even Niagara Falls.

The Brooklyn Bridge at sunset

So, let’s talk a little bit about car rental in New York and the importance of car insurance. This topic is often ignored due to lack of information, not only in terms of comfort, but also in aspects of protection and possible cost overruns that may occur on your trip. Thus, having an insurance policy that can protect the car from any kind of accident is a good option.

Why rent a car in New York?

Mobility in the city and having the ability to visit outlying destinations like Philadelphia, or taking a road trip to Boston, is the main reason to rent a car. Remember that hiring a car in New York brings with it a whole range of advantages. The first one is peace of mind. When you travel with your own car you have a whole heap of responsibilities, ranging from keeping an eye on fuel consumption and paying license plate fees, to damage charges and mileage on the clock. Yet, with a rental, you can ignore many of these burdens as they are not your problem. All you need to do is pay for the hire, and the company will take care of everything else.

Also, this is an opportunity to finally get to drive your dream car and you will have total freedom, tranquillity and autonomy when cruising the streets of New York.

Road trip in the car of your dreams

Why do you need insurance to rent a car?

All companies that offer car hire services will stress that you need to drive responsibly, keep the vehicle in good condition, and certainly ensure you don’t drive whilst under the influence of alcohol. These things will invalidate your insurance. Remember that if you avoid damages, injuries or fatal accidents while the rental contract is still in force, you will not only dodge problems, but also extra costs in your trip.

How can you protect a rental car? It’s simple, hire companies have several types of insurance with different coverage, you just have to get one that can cover the basic and specific needs that may occur during the term of the contract.

What is rental car insurance?

Car insurance covers damages and injuries that may occur over a certain rental period. It also gives you legal and financial support in the event of a traffic accident during your trip. There are several insurance policies that cover damages to the car, public property or third parties and their property. Usually, the coverages are clearly mentioned in the rental contract along with the costs covered and whether or not they have deductibles.

So, if an accident or theft occurs and the vehicle is not found with the corresponding auto policies, the person who is directly responsible for all the damages that have happened is the holder of the contract. That is why by acquiring insurance you will avoid, at all costs, having to go through a bad time or having to pay out a high amount of money to put things right.

A Collision Damage Waiver, often referred to as ‘CDW insurance,’ is not insurance as such. It’s an agreement from your car hire company to waive the costs of any damage incurred to the car in the event of a collision. The driver remains responsible for the excess, but the rest of the cost is waived.

Checking car oil for a road trip
Taking out insurance minimises the cost of accidents and mishaps

What are the types of insurance?

  1. Loss Damage Waiver: This means the hire company will waive any damage costs relating to an accident or collision. As the driver, you will be responsible for any agreed  excess payments, but the remaining charges will be waived.
  2. Auto Theft Protection: This section refers to the same coverage mentioned above, but with the addition of coverage for any type of loss caused by theft or natural disaster.
  3. Liability Insurance Supplement (LIS/TPL): Believe it or not, this aspect is one of the most important and the one you should always take into account. This insurance refers to covering any type of damage suffered by an external party in an accident with the car you rented, including any medical assistance that may be needed. Taking care of others is a civic duty and the physical and psychological wellbeing of a person is of utmost importance.
  4. Personal Effects Coverage: This policy covers your personal belongings, such as your laptop computer, clothing or any object inside your rental car. New York is a very safe city in most cases, but it isn’t unreasonable to think that theft may occur and it is better to be covered.

At what point should you insure the rented car?

Just like with travel insurance, taking out car insurance is something you can do at the time of booking. When hiring in the United States, insurance can often be purchased directly at the counter, when you go to pick up the rental car. If you choose this option, be very clear about the risks that you may have with the car, such as long distances or border crossings if you plan to head into Canada. Remember, you may not need all the different types of insurance if you’re only going on a short journey.

The most advisable thing to do is to take out insurance offered by big rental companies such as Alamo, Dollar, Thrifty, Avis, National, Enterprise, Budget and many more. If you want to shop around, consider using brokers such as Miles Car Rental to help you find the best price for the car you need for your trip. With these companies you can select the insurance that best suits your needs when signing the contract.

Insurance gives you peace of mind so you can concentrate on your holiday

Questions to ask the rental company:

It is recommended that you clarify any doubts that are niggling before signing any type of contract, and check that you are covered for everything you require. Here are some questions to consider asking:

  • Does the policy have deductibles?
  • What and who does the policy cover?
  • What are the driver’s duties and rights?
  • How does the rental car coverage and primary insurance work?
  • In case of an accident with the rental car, what number should be contacted?

The more doubts arise, the more questions you should ask. The staff at the agency will always be happy to answer your queries, since they know this helps the process run smoothly. The idea of your trip to New York is that you can enjoy your time in this wonderful city, so asking the right questions beforehand will ensure you know how to handle any situations that may arise with your rental car.

Last important recommendations

At the moment of booking a car, evaluate what kind of trip you are going to make and based on that, identify which insurance cover you need. For this analysis we recommend you take into account the whole context of your trip. Think about how long you are going to be in New York, what places you plan to visit, what the driving distances will be, and who will accompany you? By asking yourself these questions, you will be able to figure out which insurance policy best suits your requirements.

Also, it is important to take the time to read the contract and all the conditions that the company offers. Don’t forget to make a thorough inspection at the time of picking up your car, so you can take into account the state in which it is delivered to you. If you identify any defect, the best thing to do is to report it to the rental company and they will note that it was not your responsibility.

So, now you know all the basics about insurance and coverage for renting a car in New York. We know that it is important for you and your family to travel around New York, and even several highways in the USA, in a safe way and avoiding any kind of inconvenience. So go and sort your car, and your insurance, but most importantly, have fun!

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