International Car Rental Insurance Not Always Trouble-Free

Hi, I'm Rick Kahler, thanks for joining me When travelling in the U

S I rarely purchase the insurance offered by car rental companies By paying with a major credit card, you're going to typically have all the insurance coverage that you need and you'll save $20-$50 a day in unnecessary charges I do suggest that you call the credit card company in advance, at least once, to verify your coverage limits, but once that's done you should be good But, this doesn't fully apply when renting a car internationally

I recommend that you call your credit card company every time you travel to specifically check that they will cover a car in the country that you're going to travel to Plus any nuances that there may be in the international travel insurance Adding additional car insurance coverage to a travel insurance policy, in addition to using your major credit card, is another economical option And, it's perfectly okay to have duplicate insurance, just verify that at least one of those policies is going to accept being a secondary Meaning that they'll take over any excess when the primary card, where they leave off

Still, after taking all of these precautions, things can go awry They did for me on a family vacation to Ireland this summer As usual, I declined all insurance coverage when I rented the car I used my MasterCard World Elite card, which is the highest coverage you can get with a MasterCard I verified with MasterCard that I was covered in Ireland for a vehicle with a manufacturer's suggested retail price, and that's the MSRP, of up to $50,000

I checked the vehicle that I was renting, it was a Nissan Rogue, and it was listed at $26,000 to $34,000 Well under the $50,000 limit But, because I am a worrier and a planner, I also purchased a separate $40,000 vehicle policy from my trip insurance company $90,000 of coverage What could go wrong? Well, when we arrived in Dublin, Rebecca, at the Hertz counter, asked me why I didn't want their insurance? When I told her my credit card would cover it she said American credit cards don't extend to cars in Ireland

She wanted proof After a lot of hassle and time on the phone, I had my credit card company email proof that I had the coverage extended to the country of Ireland for $50,000 She then told me $50,000 isn't enough I needed $65,000 Well I argued about this because the car was well within the limits, but finally I'm like okay this doesn't matter, I have an additional $40,000 of primary and secondary coverage with my travel insurance company

That's more than going to cover $65,000 Nope, Rebecca wasn't moved She told me that no coverage goes into secondary position they both had to be primary So, long story short, two hours of a long story short, she told me I would either pay her an additional $584 for their insurance or I would need to go someplace else to rent a car and lose the $424 I had already paid to Hertz She curtly added, "Good luck", I can't do the Irish accent, "because this weekend is a bank holiday and everyone is sold out

" Like I said, all of this took two hours at the counter After a long day of international travel on a transatlantic, I'd been up 24 hours, my wife and two children were exhausted and hungry, and while I knew I had met the terms of the agreement and that I was being extorted, the thought of losing my initial $424 plus going back to the terminal to start probably a futile hunt for a different car was just a little bit too much So, I agreed to pay the extra $584 As soon as we got back to the US, I filed a dispute with my credit-card company on both the initial $424 car rental charge and the $584 insurance charge My grounds were that that Hertz violated their contract which only required me to accept full financial responsibility or to have verified that I had insurance that would cover a loss They violated the contract by demanding that I prove having coverage in excess of the value of the car that I had rented and by refusing to accept that proof when I produced it

Since doing that, Hertz has denied the claim in Ireland, and Hertz US says they can't do anything about that My claims with the credit card companies are still pending So, the lesson here? Faced with a person of questionable ethics, in a situation with limited choices, you may be forced to give in to what is essentially extortion If that happens, document everything, then file appropriate complaints and dispute the charges That is, if starting over may be a perfectly good option if you're not arriving in some international country on a holiday

And, if you ever want to rent a car in Dublin, I suggest you steer clear of anybody named Rebecca! Thanks for listening