Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Kelly Kapoor's car insurance headache

Mindy Kaling of 'The Office' paid twice for car rental insurance she probably didn't need in the first place.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 24, 2011 1:38PM

This post comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.

 

Mindy Kaling (© Dan Steinberg/AP)If only "The Office" star Mindy Kaling had access to the corporate credit card or a travel-booking HR rep, she might not have overpaid for car rental insurance.

 

Kaling, who plays Kelly Kapoor on the popular show, tweeted Thursday, "Beware guys! Rented a car on Expedia. They sold me car insurance. I picked up the car, was told the insurance didn't cover that type of car." She said she ended up buying insurance from the rental company, but couldn't get the "25-50 bucks" spent through Expedia refunded.

 

Without more information from "The Office" actress (who declined to comment), it's tough to say who's at fault -- the unnamed car rental company, Expedia, or Kaling herself, says Phil Reed, consumer advice editor for Edmunds.com. "I can't think of any reason why it would not be covered," he says.

 

An Expedia spokesman says the company is investigating, and that its policy is to offer a refund in cases where there has been a miscommunication on coverage. The company tweeted Kaling to apologize, asking her to follow them and send them a message with details so that they could look into the issue.

 

But as airlines and other travel sites branch out more into booking car rentals, Kaling's dilemma is one more consumers might face. Post continues after video.

"The insurance that they sell is a very high-profit items for them, and they're very eager to sell you that," Reed says. Full coverage could add as much as $26 per day to the cost of a rental, so it's important to weigh the options before you hit the road:

 

Check current coverage. "Many people are insured, possibly twice, before they even get to the counter," Reed says. Car owners typically have adequate collision coverage through their regular policy. Many credit cards also offer free rental insurance coverage as a perk for cardholders. (You'll need to book the rental with that card to take advantage.) Call reps for both to check coverage and exclusions.

 

Compare options. If you have a choice of places from which to buy coverage, as Kaling did, take time to read the policy documents and compare costs. Policies may not provide coverage for say, driving on dirt roads or traveling with expensive goods in the vehicle, Reed says. Expedia's excludes rental of trucks, motorcycles and "exotic vehicles," among other factors.

 

Skip unnecessary add-ons. Collision, liability and comprehensive insurance is all you need, Reed says. Companies may try to sell you add-ons for roadside assistance, theft from inside the vehicle and other things, but they add more to your bill than they do to coverage.

 

More on SmartMoney and MSN Money:

0Comments

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

ABOUT SMART SPENDING

Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

LATEST BLOG POSTS

Can you trust Carfax?

If you're thinking about buying a car and the Carfax report comes back clean, you're good to go, right? Um, maybe not. Here are four other ways you can avoid buying a clunker.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

TOOLS

More