Dear Peter, We are going to New Zealand for three weeks, and our car-insurance company has informed us that they will not cover our rental car in New Zealand. Can you tell us of any companies, either here in the United States or in Auckland, that might offer a one-month policy for us in New Zealand, so we would not have to pay the exorbitant amount demanded by the rental-car agency? Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Unfortunately, virtually all automobile-insurance policies sold in America exclude coverage in foreign countries.
In addition, the auto-insurance coverage you may have through your credit-card company often won’t cover you in countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Israel, Ireland, and Italy. This is because regulations in those countries prevent car-rental agencies from accepting such insurance.
Though it might pain you to shell out for a collision-damage waiver at the rental car counter, it is the most cost-effective way to protect you from financial responsibility in case of a problem. Consider what it might cost to replace or fix the car if you got in an accident. However, prices vary by company, so shop around to find one with reasonable rates.
Another option is to buy auto coverage through a travel-insurance company, such as Travelguard. It offers an add-on collision-damage-waiver policy that covers you for up to $35,000 in damage, for about $9 per day.