Rental car liability insurance for a trip to Canada

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I am trying to figure out a thrift way to get a rental car liability insurance while planning a vacation in Canada for a week next month. A car will be rented for a week from Hertz location in Buffalo, NY. Then I will drive to eastern Canada for sightseeing for the week.

My auto insurance company is Allstate. I called them and they told me the auto policy (full coverage as they) I have will cover the rental car liability part when the car is driven in the US but not outside the US.The exception is that the policy will cover me if I drive my own car, not a rental one. If that is true, probably it is the same for all other comparable rental companies. Please correct me if you see exceptions.

I know my Platinum AMEX will cover the Canadian part for the collision and comprehensive. I also know the NY state law probably enforce the rental company company have a default coverage of the state minimum, which is pretty low. Hertz charges $13 a day for supplemental liability coverage (for 1 million) and it would last for the whole rental period. (I can't just buy first 4 days of the rental, for example). This translate $91 to my travel budget.

I also heard of the official Canada yellow 'non-resident inter-province motor vehicle liability insurance' card must be with the driver when there is an accident. Places like Ontario impose a minimum of $200k insurance as a law. But Hertz told me it is not necessary. Just rental contract will work.

So my questions:

1. Is what allstate told me true? (rental car liability not covered outside the US for standard policy)

2. What are the cheap alternatives to the liability insurance for this scenario, such as independent insurer or auto club?

3. Any good online information regarding this issue?

I have been driving in Canada a couple of times but was never aware of this till this time. Also I saw some people are talking about driving to Toronto in this forum so I guess this topic is beneficial for all of us.

I drive in vancouver all the time and I am insured through state farm they have no problem w/ it. You can always get free rental car insurance by using most visa/mc plat cards.

...You can always get free rental car insurance by using most visa/mc plat cards.

The coverage you get with various "platinum" cards is not *free insurance*, is not really insurance, it is an agreement under which you won't be liable for the loss or damage (as long as you comply with their conditions). Most credit cards offer secondary protection, which covers any damage or loss left unpaid after you have made a claim to your auto insurance company. A few, Dinner’s Club and some AMEX plans, offer primary that pays for damage/loss without you filing a claim with your auto insurance. Also, be aware that most credit cards do not provide liability coverage, but this is "usually" included in the cost of the rental. Probably should check this if you rent from a small, local company.


I called Allstate service center last night and I was told by another lady that she could not see any reason that the rental car is not covered in Canada leisure travel. So I called my Allstate agent again today. This time, a nicer lady answered the phone. She said she recalled some marketing material saying the rental liability coverage does not carry over outside the US but she was willing to check. I also asked if she heard of the yellow Canadia 'non-resident inter-province vehicle liability insurance card'. She did not know either. However, she called me a few minutes later. The corporate office guy told her that there indeed is a such card for free to the clients. By carrying that card, I do not have to buy any additional liability insurance when using a rental car in Canada. And it will match the Canadian provincial minimum insurnace requirement. So I am all set to save $91 for 7 day trip. She put the request to mail the card from Allstate corportate processing center for me. It seems a lot of people in insurance service segment do not know anything about this and they just imagine what the rule is and insist it to the client, which is very misleading information.

jaimelobo said:
...You can always get free rental car insurance by using most visa/mc plat cards.

The coverage you get with various "platinum" cards is not *free insurance*, is not really insurance, it is an agreement under which you won't be liable for the loss or damage (as long as you comply with their conditions). Q]

Through USBanks plat card.

"Auto Rental Insurance.** It's yours automatically - at no extra cost - when you charge your entire car rental on your U.S. Bank Visa Platinum card and decline the rental company's collision damage waiver option. Coverage on a 24-hour basis for damage due to collision or theft. "

Sounds like insurance to me.

Maybe he justs means the coverage isn't very broad. It only covers damage, theft, loss to the vehicle you're renting. If you hit another car, you're not covered. What if you hit a Mercedes? What if you hit someone in a crosswalk? regular insurance covers you a bit in these circumstances.

Actually, my point about whether on not what the credit cards companies offer is actually "insurance" was just an aside. They can call it what ever they want; my point being that it is not technically "insurance"; in that it is not underwritten the same way an insurance company would write and fund a homeowner or auto policy. For example, BestBuy can have a program where they will refund you the difference if a price drops on something you bought within the last 30 days and they can call that "Low Price Insurance". A grocery store can have advertise their “No Stale Bread” insurance, .but it is not really "insurance".

My main point was that many cards (not all) offer a reimbursement program that covers your out-of-pocket expenses not covered by other sources. Many of these program have very strict limits and you still have to come up with the money up front (which could be thousands of dollars), then file a claim for reimbursement at some point in the future. This is very different from a normal auto policy where, in most case, everything go through the insurance company not you. If you do not own a car and have your own auto policy, you could be on the hook for big buck because of limits on the CC company's free insurance. You should understand what exactly is covered and by who before making a decision about car rentals.

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