Ask MoneySense: Rental cars - MoneySense

Ask MoneySense: Rental cars

When you rent a car and take out collision insurance (either with the rental company, or through the credit card you pay with), would having an accident impact the premium you’ll pay when you renew your own auto insurance policy?

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When you rent a car and take out collision insurance (either with the rental company, or through the credit card you pay with), would having an accident impact the premium you’ll pay when you renew your own auto insurance policy?

—David Lowry, Ottawa

An accident with a rental car might affect your personal automobile insurance, depending on the nature of the mishap and whether you are deemed to be at fault. A claim that falls under a policy’s comprehensive section is considered no-fault and shouldn’t impact your premium. But a collision-related claim is another story.

Insurance companies have access to all motorists’ driving records, and these include any on-road violation, whether it was using one’s own car, a friend’s vehicle or a rental. This information can be used to determine insurability and premium levels.

“Companies have different tolerances for how many accidents a person can have before their rate is affected,” says Erika Bennett, a spokesperson for the Insurance Bureau of Canada. “Drivers can also sometimes buy ‘first accident forgiveness’ coverage as an add-on to their basic policy, which basically protects your driving record from falling to the bottom of the insurer’s rating system.”

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