Pa. Commissioner Reminds Summer Travelers to Understand Personal Auto Coverage

June 1, 2004

As consumers prepare and plan their summer travel schedules, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Diane Koken is reminding consumers to understand what types of losses are covered in
their personal auto insurance policies.

“The summer travel season is just around the corner, and consumers are busy making arrangements for vacations and travel destinations,”
Koken said. “Sometimes those summer plans involve renting a car and consumers need to know if their auto insurance policy will cover the use of a rental vehicle.”

Typically, if consumers choose to carry collision coverage on their
personal auto policies, that coverage may extend to the use of a rental
vehicle, provided the rental vehicle is used for pleasure and not business.

But, Koken said that before deciding to purchase additional collision coverage – typically called a collision damage waiver – on a rental vehicle, consumers should refer to the declarations page of their personal auto policies.

“Your declarations page must clearly state whether or not your collision coverage covers the use of rental vehicles,” she said. “If you are still unsure, check with your insurance company or insurance agent.”

Pennsylvania law requires consumers to purchase coverage for bodily
injury, first-party benefit and property-damage liability. Because collision coverage is optional, not all consumers have this extra layer of coverage on their personal auto policies. Collision coverage will generally pay for repair damage to a car as a result of a collision with another car or object.

“If you do not have the optional collision coverage on your personal auto policy, and plan to rent a vehicle for your vacation and travel plans, you may be held responsible if the car you rent is stolen or damaged in an accident,” Koken continued. “And if you do decide to purchase the additional liability for a rental car, it’s important to read and understand the terms of the rental agreement before you sign on the dotted line.”

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