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Averill park, New York, United States
This is a blog that hopes to help with the confusion of bus riding in Vegas. Comments are encouraged. Spam is not encouraged. Comments that include websites will not be published. Allow time for moderation of all comments.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Why the bus and not a car rental


Certainly there are people who are bus people and those who are not, but in the next two years the buses are going to change dramatically in Vegas and folks will give them a second look.
Rental cars seem cheap until you take a look at some of the loopholes in insurance (BELOW) or add in what you lose in not drinking free booze.  I figure the value of  my Myer's Rum comes to as much as forty dollars a day.
Being overtired and meeting other out of town overtired, drunk, or crazy kid drivers at three AM just spoils my relaxation.  Half the time I sleep on the way back to my bed.
The other half I have some cool conversation with some stranger and hear the greatest stories.  I think of a bus like this blog only with four wheels and the folks are live.
I am solo so the conversations break up the day.  I so much prefer it to a lonely cab ride home where I have to stay awake to see the driver is not taking me for a ride and since I am solo and a senior, the bus ride for three days is priced at two cab tips.
And even if resolving an accident on a rental goes smoothly there is hassle and anxiety that depletes the joy of Vegas.

I was leaning in the direction of renting a car for my next trip.  But after hours of researching how insurance works and doesn't, I am not very comfortable renting without the full waivers and that puts the price up pretty high.

Before you dismiss these issues, be sure you read a bit and talk to more than one insurance agent.  My State Farm agent did a 360 degree turn around after telling me for years that I was covered.

And using the Visa may not do it either.

Here is what happens.

You get in an accident.  Your insurance covers you minus your deductable up to the amount you carry on the car you drive at home.  So I drive a 99 Saturn.  Odds are I would still have quite a bit to pay if I totaled a brand new rental expecially after one of those free upgrades that come along.


You get in an accident.  Your insurance does not cover loss of use, but the Visa does.  Read the fine print.  The Visa demands the car rental company send them a log that shows that while the car was out of service, they did not have other rentals.  Guess what?  The Rental Car company just ain't gonna send no log  So who is responsible for the loss of use fees?  Well,    You are.


You have an accident and the car is damaged.  The insurance company decides not to fix it but just to sell it off as salvage.  You are stuck with the difference in the full value of the car and what they get.  Does the insurance company cover that cost?  Probably not.  Ask your agent if you are covered for "loss of value"
So a $35,000 crashed vehicle sold off at $7,000 leaves a lot for you to pay.  And the rental company is conservative about what they will fix and put back out there because if a rental has a damage history, it leaves them open for lawsuits in a future accident.  They like to get rid of the cars and start over.  Especially since someone else pays.

And even if things go smoothly, you are responsible for the damage until you get your insurance company to pay for it.  Any accident may raise your premiums so you pay for it over time for the rest of your life.  And you better not have a drink.  Drinking, speeding, reckless behavior, having your car impounded by police all void insurance policies as does letting someone else drive for a while who not on the rental contract.  I have a family fight every time we rent a car about that one.  it is so easy to get tired and just let the kid drive for a while.

Basically, I am back to deciding that car rental is sort of like playing video poker.  The Royal never comes and never comes and never comes..............and then when you least expect it........there it is.  Only the Royal is a good thing.  The casino pays off.  The accident is a not good.  You pay off.

From what I gather from my son who as a financial adviser and talks to insurance agents every day, the entire issue is being debated around the agents' coffee meets.  My own State Farm Agent is doing some research.  Perhaps she will come up with some definitive angle.  My son recommends getting the waiver.

I also found this site that sells a cheaper policy than the car rental places offer.
This one at $9 a day is nice but not for me as I am a NY resident

Travel guard offers the same type of coverage and seems to have pretty good press.


I also found out that Visa does an easier job of negotiating with the car companies than Mastercard.  And American Express may have everything covered.

But all insurance leaves you responsible to have a claim approved and doing the paperwork.  What the rental car places give you is not insurance but a waiver of their right to recover money in case of accident, theft, damage.   That is why they can ask such a huge fee for the waiver.  It is not covered by insurance regulation, so they can ask whatever the market will bear.

And the hassle works against the pleasure of a Vegas trip.  Here is the kind of work and worry just a damaged mirror can entail.

I know this adds anxiety to those of you who rent every time you go to Vegas and are proud of the $9 a day you manage with codes and specials.  I am one of you.  Frugal to the bone.
Just don't dismiss the issue of liability because someone once told you that you were covered even if that someone was your agent.
I asked my agent if State Farm would send me something in writing, and she just laughed.  Take the time to review the issues and make the agent focus on Nevada which has different rental laws and sketch out the loss of use and the selling off the car as salvage senarios for the agent.  Some states do not allow the company to charge loss of use, for example.

Here are some articles to read around this issue.

This seemed the most comprehensive article.  Don't neglect the comment section as that has more information.

Here is an older article, but I like the questions it raises:

Happy motoring.

1 comment:

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