Car rental occurs primarily for two reasons. Either you are on vacation or your primary vehicle is in the shop and you need a replacement to continue with your daily routine. It can be very frustrating after an accident to figure out everything. Before you head to the rental service, you must do a few things.
1. Understand your current insurance policy. Just give your provider a call and ask the questions you need to know. If you are renting a replacement vehicle, ask to see if your current policy will cover a rental. Some do, some don't.
2. Check your credit card benefits. Once again, just give them call. Some credit cards offer rental car insurance. There may be some limitations or conditions but ensure you check to make sure you're not paying extra.
3. Research your city. Some cities with extreme weather will have lots of rock chip incidents. Lots of insurance policies do not cover windshield damage. Make sure you know you are covered for these kinds of liabilities.
4. If possible, use a preferred rental partner your insurance policy recommends. Most of the time the rental partner will understand your policy and be able to help you with any questions plus let you know what you're covered under your policy. A good rental service will let you know which class of vehicle you're allowed to rent under your policy without additional costs, but at the same time you may try to experience a different class of vehicle for a reduced price since your policy will cover a certain cost per day and you can just pay the difference.
5. Additional liability coverage. Have full understanding of what kind of insurance the rental service offers and make sure they don't overlap with the same coverage your policy already offers.
6. Read the fine print. There have been cases where people have bought maximum coverage during international travel and ended up being liable for damages because their damaged rental vehicle did not come in contact with another vehicle while they were avoiding an accident.
Ultimately you are responsible for the vehicle you are renting. It is important to understand and find out as much information as possible before you end up paying extra for things you don't need.