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Even with high gasoline prices, this is the time of the year when many New Yorkers rent cars for vacation travel. However, many people purchase insurance at the rental counter without knowing whether their existing auto policies or credit card benefits already cover their needs.

“Don’t drive without insurance because it’s risky, but don’t buy extra insurance if you don’t need it. When renting a car, you may be able to save money if you educate yourself before you get to the rental car counter. It’s important for consumers to protect themselves by asking the right questions,” said Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo.

New York drivers who already own a car and have their own private automobile liability insurance are usually protected when renting and operating a car in the U.S. or Canada for 30 days or less. Since certain limitations apply, consumers are urged to contact their insurance company, broker or agent for specific details. They should also contact their credit card company to determine the provisions of the insurance coverage, if any, available through their credit card.

Drivers may wish to consider purchasing excess liability insurance and a collision damage waiver at the car rental counter if they do not have their own personal automobile insurance and are unable to obtain coverage through their credit card company.

The New York State Insurance Department’s Consumer Guide to Auto Insurance offers comprehensive information on automobile insurance. This free booklet is available by calling the Department at 1-800-342-3736 or visiting the Department’s website at



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