Learning About Rental Car Coverage the Hard Way

Man giving keys to another man for a rental car reimbursement.

It sounded like an explosion behind me as I was sitting in traffic. In a split second, I realized that the driver two cars behind me didn’t see the line of stopped cars. He crashed into the car behind me at about 50 mph, slamming that vehicle into mine.

The car in the middle was completely crushed, as were the front end of the auto that caused the collision and the back end of my prized Dodge Avenger. Amazingly, no one was seriously hurt.

While I was trying to collect insurance information and more, I immediately started thinking about how I was going to get to work the next day, keep that doctor’s appointment I’d scheduled weeks ago and get the kids to the game now that my car would be in the shop.

Fast forward to the claims process. I was surprised to learn I hadn’t purchased rental car coverage on my ERIE auto policy.

Why Transportation Expenses coverage makes sense

For this accident, the insurance company of the at-fault driver would cover the cost of my rental car. I had to pay up front, however, and wait several weeks for any rental car reimbursement.

“Not fair,” I thought. The accident wasn’t my fault, yet I was shelling out $325. If it wasn’t for the other party having adequate coverage, it’s likely I would have had to bear the cost to rent a car until mine was repaired.

There are two Eagle Scouts in my household and yet I was unprepared. The very next day, I updated my policy to includeTransportation Expenses coverage. It will cover transportation expenses for me, including rental car reimbursement, should my car be disabled from a collision again. For less than the average cost of a one-day car rental, I was able to add it to my policy.

No surprises at the rental car counter

Erie Insurance offers Transportation Expenses coverage in a whole new way. Instead of having to figure out how much a daily rental might cost, you choose a class of vehicle from a menu of choices. Each class has a corresponding insurance premium. So if you’re someone who can get by with a compact car during a covered repair, you select the lower cost, Class 1 option. But if you’re a soccer parent who would need a six-passenger vehicle, you select Class 4 or 5. At the time of the rental, the daily rental fee doesn’t matter – you’ll get the class of vehicle you selected. This means you won’t be shocked at the rental car counter if an accident sends your vehicle to the repair shop.

Take my advice and look at your policy or call your Erie Insurance Agent to make sure you’re covered for the cost to rent a vehicle comparable to what you normally drive. An auto accident is unexpected and stressful enough. Don’t let rental car expenses add to your worries. Looking back, I have no idea why I turned down the rental car reimbursement coverage. But you can bet I won’t find myself in that situation again.

*Availability and coverage specifics for Transportation Expenses vary by state. Contact your Erie Insurance Agent for more information.

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