Thursday, April 06, 2006

Car trouble

Given the chronic-temporary-employment nature of my chosen profession, I'm preparing for yet another move, as I've been offered a job in a different city from May until September. While the money is good, after bouncing around so much already in my short career, I've learned that the peripheral costs of moving to different cities can quickly add up.

My next locale is close enough that its only a few hours' drive to get back home, so I plan on doing that every other weekend. I've crunched the numbers, and have roughly calculated that it'll be cheaper for me to rent a bare-bones car than it is to go by Greyhound bus or Via rail. (A friend of mine who works at Enterprise Rent-a-Car has graciously offered to find me deals on compact cars, which I'm going to take him up on — despite his employer's legendary failures in the customer relations milieu)

As much as I'm dreading it, renting cars a dozen times over the next few months will give me the chance to test out a money-saving theory I've always had. The rare times I've rented cars in the past, I always signed up for the $25 insurance, just to be safe. But reading the fine print on my RBC Visa Platinum Avion card I'm thinking maybe I've been wasting my money:

For coverage to be in effect, You must:
1. Use Your RBC Royal Bank Visa Platinum Avion card to pay for the entire rental from a Rental Agency;
2. Decline the Rental Agency's Collision Damage Waiver option or similar coverage offered by the Rental Agency on the rental
contract. If there is no space on the vehicle rental contract for You to indicate that You have declined the
coverage, then indicate in writing on the contract “I decline CDW provided by this merchant”

The policy specifically goes on to say that panel and cube vans are not covered by the policy, nor does it include third party liability or personal injury insurance. Every time I've asked anyone at rental agencies if I'm covered by my credit card, they always told me I'm not. But it's an industry which is notorious for their high-pressure, commission-based wage structures. At the very least, it seems as though fender-benders to the car itself would be covered. But if I got into any serious accidents where the car is totaled and or people are injured, I could be up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

Can anyone shed light on this? Should I keep buying the rental car insurance or am I just flushing money down the drain?


Anonymous said...

Your credit card coverage is definitely enough. I used to be a manager at Budget Rent-A-Car. The CDW is almost pure profit for a rental car company and the desk agents always make a big commission on CDW sales. They will tell you anything to get you to take it.

giv said...

Thanks....I suspected as much.

Robin said...

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Robin (

GIV said...

Robin, you can email me at with anything you'd like to share

credit card lamb said...

What does it mean, the credit card coverage is enough? I still do not understand what will happen if there is a major accident.