Subject: Liability insurance w/Rental Cars
Hello Ziners:

I'm hoping some of you have some expertise in this subject, because I cannot seem to get a straight answer, even from the rental companies. When I rent a car in the USA, I know that I am completely covered by my own automobile insurance. I have State Farm and my agent today told me that it also covers me in Canada and 50 miles into Mexico. But my agent also told me that I am not covered at all in any other countries, except if I have an umbrella liability policy which will protect me from lawsuits for accidents/damage to others in which I would be at fault. However, my umbrella liability policy will cover me only if I buy the maximum personal liability offered by the car rental company. In other words, if I am able to buy liability coverage for up to $50,000/occurrence and I would get sued for $200,000, my State Farm umbrella policy would pay the difference.

I, of course, am not talking about the CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) coverage that is always offered by the rental car company, but is covered by most credit cards.

When I asked Budget today about their personal liability insurance option, she just started talking about CDW and mentioned that usually credit cards covered it. I told her that would be only for damage to the rental car, and she just said that they did things different down there, (which meant Curacao in the Caribbean where I am going next week and renting a car) sort of implying that you didn't need liability coverage, blah, blah, or that your credit card covered it. But my credit cards are very specific that they cover only CDW and only the rental car. But Budget does not offer a personal liability option, at least on that island.

I am sure all of this has you as confused as I am. I have rented cars in Europe and the Caribbean a number of times and always decline all insurance, but I always worry about what would happen if I would have an accident that was my fault. Is the answer different in each country? Help! Does anyone know the reality on this?

Thanks in advance.

Corliss Kansas City