When you reach the age of 18 in Alberta, otherwise known as the “age of the majority,” you are legally able to buy alcohol, get married, obtain a credit card, adopt a pet, change your name, vote in an election, and sit on a jury. But, there remains one thing younger people can’t do until they reach the age of 21, and that is rent a vehicle.
In order to rent a vehicle in Alberta, drivers must be at least 21 years of age, have a valid driver’s license and 12 months of experience behind the wheel, and be the holder of a credit card from a major company. There can’t be any restrictions on the license, meaning all Stage One Learners and Stage Two Probationary conditions have been met, and drivers can expect to pay a much higher security deposit for the vehicle up until the age of 25.
Some exceptions to the rule
Searching around and doing a little research can help circumvent the difficulties young drivers face in renting a vehicle. Some rental companies allow drivers under the age of 21 to rent larger vans and SUVs. It pays to do a little phoning around to find out what is available. In addition, those who are moving need to have the option of renting a moving truck, so companies such as U-Haul allow younger drivers to rent their vehicles. Again, drivers must have a valid driver’s license, a credit card, and pay a safety deposit.
Rental car insurance
In Alberta, there are three different ways drivers can obtain rental car insurance:
- Through your own auto insurance company
- Through the rental car company
- Through your credit card
Using your own coverage
Many people assume that their auto insurance will follow them no matter what vehicle they are driving. But, this is not necessarily the case. In order for a rental vehicle to be covered, your policy needs to include both collision and comprehensive coverage. You may also need to obtain an endorsement called an SEF 27 or a “Legal Liability for Damage to Non-Owned Automobile” endorsement, which transfers the coverage from your personal vehicle to the rental vehicle. If you are not sure about how your auto insurance policy will cover you for a rental vehicle, definitely give your company or your broker a call before taking possession. Also, be sure to ask about the deductible. Sometimes deductibles for rental cars vary from the deductible you have on your own vehicle.
Using the rental company’s coverage
If your auto insurance will not apply to a rental vehicle, companies generally provide four different types of coverage.
Collision and loss damage waiver: This waiver will provide for repairs for damage caused to your vehicle by perils such as vandalism, flood, hail, theft, windshield damage and fire as well as for a collision. It’s important to remember, however, that this type of rental car insurance may not cover for repairs to other vehicles involved in the accident – even if it is not your fault. Ensure to inquire about the scope of this particular waiver.
Liability insurance: This coverage will provide for legal fees and reparations if you injure another person and/or damage property while driving your rental car. Since legal fees can easily run into the millions, liability insurance can protect you from financial ruin and is absolutely essential. In fact, it is mandated by several provinces (including Alberta) to be included as part of insurance.
Personal accident insurance: Personal accident insurance provides for medical bills or a lump sum payment for injuries incurred during an accident.
Personal effects coverage: Often bundled as part of personal accident insurance, personal effects coverage will pay for your personal property if it is lost, damaged, or stolen while in your rental car.
Using your credit card for rental car insurance
Part of the many, many annual fees we all pay for our credit cards usually includes some form of rental car collision and loss insurance. There is generally a cap, however, which you should ensure to check through your credit card company. Luxury rental vehicles may also be excluded.
To be covered you just need to pay for the rental car with your credit card, but definitely carefully read the restrictions before relying on this type of insurance. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Trust Lane’s for All of Your Insurance Needs
Lane’s Insurance is a certified brokerage covering all of Alberta. We work for you, not the insurance companies, which means that not only can we mitigate on your behalf and ask the right questions so you get the answers you need, we can also shop around for you from the numerous policies provided by the respected providers we work with to get you better coverage for less. Contact us at our Calgary, Edmonton, Banff or greater Alberta offices to see what we can do for you.