What is car rental loss-of-use anyway?

On TripAdvisor there are literally hundreds and hundreds of posts by people renting cars asking for help to choose the best rental car insurance options. It’s such a minefield of complexity that travels call upon the collective wisdom of the community to help them make the best decision as to how they should insure their rental car.

One of the topics I’ve seen discussed a number of time is; “loss-of-use”

Basically it goes like this: When you rent a car and cause enough to damage to the rental, that it needs to go into the repair shop, you will likely need to the compensate the rental car company for loss of revenue while the car is off the road.

This often comes as a surprise to most renters, especially if they used their auto or credit card insurance option, under the belief that they would be covered for any damage no matter what. Well guess what? Unfortunately standard credit cards and some auto insurance policies often don’t have coverage for loss of use (not to mention diminished value! ...which we’ll cover is a future post).

So the tip is, if you use a credit card or your auto insurance to insure your rental car, be sure to double check your policy terms and conditions, and thereby hopefully avoiding a nasty surprise if you declined the insurance at the desk and and later find you aren’t covered for loss-of-use.

Orlando Woolf wrote to us asking “Does your plan cover ‘Loss of Use’ Claims?”

We let Orlando know that our car rental damage insurance policy covers basically any damage to the rental car including loss of use while being repaired up to $35k in value.

Elizabeth Wreath asked: “Does car rental insurance cover loss of use? My auto insurance covers everything else, but not loss of use (that is, charges the rental company for time while car is being fixed in case of accident).”

We replied to Elizabeth letting know that the Bonzah.com policy does cover loss-of-use, along with diminished value and all with a $0 deductible. We made it clear however, that we do not cover any liability to other cars or personal injuries. That’s often covered by auto or home insurance policies.

Given we’ve had these types of questions a number of time, and we updating our FAQ's section (at the very bottom question "Does the car rental policy cover "loss of use", while the vehicle is being repaired?")