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  1. #1

    Default Our roadtrip across the US in the spring of 2007

    First off, hi and thanks for all the interesting and helpful information here at roadtripamerica.com!

    We're two Norwegians planning a 40 day roadtrip across the US starting mid-April 2007, and finding this site has already been very helpful. We'll probably bug you with questions and requests as our planning continues, so we figured it best to introduce ourselves right away.

    We're Selma&Louis - or actually Hilde and Stein-Gøran.
    We're both movie buffs, and we're planning to stop by quite a few movie locations on our trip, so we figured we needed a concept name paying tribute to one of the great road trip movies.

    Here's a map of our itinerary:


    We're really looking forward to your advice (we'll be posting future questions in this thread), and hopefully we'll be able to share a few tips here ourselves as we return from our trip!
    Last edited by Selma&Louis; 10-08-2006 at 04:37 PM. Reason: We prefer that first-time posters not use this site for marketing purposes

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Plenty of sites to visit for movie fans

    Quote Originally Posted by Selma&Louis View Post
    We're two Norwegians planning a 40 day roadtrip across the US starting mid-April 2007, and finding this site has already been very helpful
    We are glad to help -- Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum. You have an interesting site and I left intact the link to the site from the map graphic, but we prefer that you not use this Forum as a promotional tool. We will do our best to answer your questions as you pose them.

    Mark

  3. #3

    Default Thank you - and a question about car rental and insurance

    Thank you, Mark.

    I understand about the promotional thing, and I apologize. We were just being lazy, and figured a link to our site would be easier than to type up our story. Guess we were just a bit too enthusiastic about finding this forum =)

    So... here's our first question:

    We're planning to rent a car, or actually two cars. First one in Seattle that we'll drive down to Grand Junction, Colorado, where we'll get on the AmTrak California Zephyr line to Chicago and then further on to Boston. There we'll rent a new car, and drive it down to Miami. (We know that renting TWO cars and delivering them both at different locations than we rented them from will cost us extra, but we want the AmTrak experience).

    The car rental itself is OK. We've compared cars and prices and have settled on renting online from one of the big companies.

    But what we're really a bit unsure about is the insurances. Car insurance can be a bit difficult to grasp back home in Norway, and we're afraid to miss out on something important written in small print (yet, we don't want to be talked into paying for something we don't need by an eager salesman at the rental counter either).

    So.. is it safe to go with the insurance deals offered by the car rental offices?

    What does the standard Personal Accident/Personal Effects Insurances cover?
    (And what happens if you get into an accident and injure someone (God forbid!) without health insurance?)

    Does anyone have any experiences with rental cars being stolen, damaged or in an accident?

    And while we're here.. does anyone know (approximately) how much the "extra driver" fee is?
    Last edited by Selma&Louis; 10-08-2006 at 04:12 PM. Reason: Typos...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Insurance

    Quote Originally Posted by Selma&Louis View Post
    But what we're really a bit unsure about is the insurances. Car insurance can be a bit difficult to grasp back home in Norway, and we're afraid to miss out on something important written in small print (yet, we don't want to be talked into paying for something we don't need by an eager salesman at the rental counter either).
    Questions about vehicle insurance is a hot topic around here. This first thread was posed by someone intending to purchase, but the discussion might be helpful to you as well -- read all of the thread as there is more stuff further down. And in this thread, I provide an short primer about what the various kinds of insurance mean.
    So.. is it safe to go with the insurance deals offered by the car rental offices?
    Generally, we recommend that you obtain coverage from an independent broker (for the reasons discussed in those threads) because of the reduced cost.
    (And what happens if you get into an accident and injure someone (God forbid!) without health insurance?)
    It wouldn't be health insurance -- it would be general liability -- and the penalites can be quite severe.
    Does anyone have any experiences with rental cars being stolen, damaged or in an accident?
    It can happen, of course, but if you choose a company that doesn't identify the car as a rental in any way -- the odds of anything happening are greatly reduced.
    And while we're here.. does anyone know (approximately) how much the "extra driver" fee is?
    There is not hard and fast rule -- but if you are a couple, there should be no extra driver fee.

    Mark

  5. #5

    Default Thanks!

    Thanks again, Mark!

    I can't believe we haven't discovered this forum earlier, the whole site is packed with useful information!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Check, Please

    Before buying insurance from with the rental car company, check with your own car insurance company to see what coverage you're already paying for. Many people, especially those who worry about being properly insured as you do, already have a rider or clause in their own insurance which extends to rental cars. The part that you should be most concerned about is liability, coverage for damage - physical, personal, and medical - that you cause. Also check with your credit card company. Often they will offer some coverage on rental cars (providing, of course, that you charge the rental on them.) Finally, I don't know if you have a Norwegian equivalent of AAA (or what in Britain is RAC or AA), an auto club offering roadside assistance and such, but if you do and you are a member, also check with them. Once you know what coverage you already have, you will be in a much better position to know what extra coverage you may need. Then before buying it from the rental company, check again with the people listed above, especially your own insurance company, to see what they would charge for short term coverage for your trip. Once you know what rental company you're going to use, you should be able to poke around their web site and find out what they will charge. In short, comparison shop rather than impulse buy at the pick-up counter.

    Health insurance is similar in that a little research before you go can save big on both cost and worry. When I travelled this summer to Russia and England, it did not take much effort to determine that my own health insurance (through work) as well as the nationalized health care systems in the two countries we would be traveling through, would be more than sufficient. As it happened, my wife injured her Achilles tendon just before we left and experienced significant breathing difficulties due to allergies to smoke (Russia) and rapeweed (England). While the health problems were not pleasant, knowing our options before we left greatly aided in our finding the appropriate medical assistance when needed, and I think our only out-of-pocket expense was for a private consultation with a physician in England and some prescription drugs. I am sorry to say that your situation will probably not be as free from worry since the US is one of the few remaining countries without some form of national health care, but again a check with your current health care provider (Norway?) may be all you need to get coverage extended to you while you are overseas. If not you can check with some of the larger companies in the US or Europe that offer short term health insurance for travelers.

    By doing your homework before you go, you'll cut down on both the expense and the worry, and set yourself up for a great trip

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 10-11-2006 at 03:36 PM. Reason: Rental car NOT rental card

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Thanks for the clarification

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Health insurance is similar in that a little research before you go can save big on both cost and worry.
    My response was much too cavalier -- Thanks for AZBuck for "picking up the ball" on this one.

    Mark

  8. #8

    Default Thank you so much, AZBuck!

    Thank you so much for your long and detailed answer, AZBuck!

    We have checked with our insurance companies back home, and alas they won't cover rental cars abroad. We're planning to set up a joint bank account for the trip (we're friends, not a couple, so we don't have a shared economy), and we're searching high and low for a bank that can offer credit cards with coverage for rental car insurance.

    I guess what scares me (and perhaps needless to say, I'm the Selma part of the team) is that so much in the US is different from what we're used to here in Norway, and then there's the language barrier. I've been reading a lot about the insurance system, but get somewhat confused by the terms. Marks post helped clear some of that up, which was a relief, because my previous sources have just been stating what we need without describing what they are.

    As for the health insurance, we're privileged Norwegians. A rather cheap travel insurance covers most of whatever medical treatment we might need, and even grants us transportation back home if the medical needs are severe. "Health insurance" doesn't really exist here in Norway; hospitalization is free of charge (save for a small "consultant fee"). So what I was thinking about was injuring someone else, and sending them to the hospital without (them having) health insurance.

    So what I'm really worried about is having an accident and being slapped with a law suit... Mark explained a bit about the Supplemental Liability Insurance, which was helpful. But I guess we'll just have to try to find a reliable source at our local insurance company (some of them are just too eager to sell!) and make them help us.. =)

    But thanks again to both of you!

    Selma aka Hilde
    Last edited by AZBuck; 10-10-2006 at 04:06 PM. Reason: Minor language

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default Movies & the Insurance Issue

    God kveld!

    We're both movie buffs, and we're planning to stop by quite a few movie locations on our trip, so we figured we needed a concept name paying tribute to one of the great road trip movies.
    Great website you got there! I read you plan on going through Savannah and visit a few "Midnight" locations? Here's a very helpful website to help you locate some of them. A great way to visit Savannah if you can't manage to spend many days there is to take a tour bus (~10-25$), and, if possible, one where you can get on and off as you wish.

    I don't usually care much about guided tours but it's easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of old houses, parks, cemeteries and other attractions available in that great city. Other films were also entirely or partly shot in Savannah : Forrest Gump, Glory, The General's Daughter, Something to Talk About. Also, Driving Miss Daisy was filmed in Atlanta and Fried Green Tomatoes in friendly and picturesque Juliette, Georgia.

    In the Mojave on your way to Vegas, don't miss the former Sidewinder Cafe now Bagdad Cafe at Newberry Springs, the movie location of Bagdad Café. Since you're going through Utah, you should pay a visit to Canyonlands and Arches N.P. Both were used as filming locations for Thelma & Louise. This guide might also be helpful to you.

    Here's a short list of road movies to add to your collection and to put you in the mood. Be sure to check out our RoadTrip Planning section which features some road music & books along with other useful tips.

    I guess what scares me (and perhaps needless to say, I'm the Selma part of the team) is that so much in the US is different from what we're used to here in Norway, and then there's the language barrier. [...]But I guess we'll just have to try to find a reliable source at our local insurance company
    How about finding an American embassy where they could explain to you all the details in your native language after you've been "insurance shopping"? Then maybe they could tell you what you need exactly (health, car, liability, etc.)? I don't know if it would work but you could try it.

    Good luck & happy planning!
    Geneviève

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Ontario Canada
    Posts
    169

    Default car rental insurance

    You probably will find that your insurance in Norway (?) will NOT cover you in America. Often the "reciprocal agreement" is between neighbouring countries only, not this far away. If that is the case, you will need to buy what the rental company offers.

    Are you planning to go to some National Parks / scenic drives along the way? Check out www.nps.gov/parks.html to find out which ones are along your route. The National Parks Pass can be purchased at the entry gate of the first park for $50 US. That will get you entry into ALL of the national parks and national monuments.

    Have fun planning!

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