Jessica Fox Last Updated On: September 13, 2023

What You Need to Know About Rental Car Insurance?

Making the decision to buy rental car insurance could be the difference between walking away from a fender bender physically and financially unscathed and having to pay thousands of dollars for a repair bill—or even a new car. 

Whatever the reason you’re looking into rental car insurance, it’s definitely worth doing a bit of research so you understand what it covers, what it doesn’t, and how much it costs. 

Keep reading. We’re going to help answer these questions—and more—so you can decide on the best course of action for you.

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Table of Contents

What Is Rental Car Insurance?

Not to be confused with rental reimbursement insurance—which is provided by your personal auto insurance policy and provides you with the funds to rent another vehicle while yours is being repaired or replaced (due to it be damaged or stolen) — rental car insurance protects you against having to replace or repair a car from a rental company. 

Rental car insurance can also cover you against having to pay out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Why Do You Need Rental Car Insurance?

There are many reasons you may find yourself needing to rent a car and looking into rental car insurance. Maybe you’re on vacation or visiting friends or family. Maybe your car has been in an accident and is awaiting repairs or a payout from your insurance company. Maybe you’ve bought your first car but have a time gap between when your new ride arrives and when you need it. 

Regardless of why you need a rental car, rental car insurance is absolutely necessary. We’ll repeat that: you NEED to make sure you have insurance for your rental vehicle.

This said, you may not need to get separate car rental insurance.

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You May Already Have Car Insurance Rental Coverage

Your existing car insurance policy might already cover your rental, so you may not need to get separate rental car insurance. Likewise, your credit card might provide rental car insurance coverage, if you use your card to pay for the rental.  It’s a good idea to check before you make costly assumptions.

What Does Car Rental Insurance Cover?

If you do have rental car insurance coverages on your existing personal auto insurance policy, here’s what they may include:

  • Personal accident insurance. This insurance will cover injuries to your passengers or yourself, regardless of whether you’re driving your own car or a rental.
    You may also already have personal injury protection or medical payments coverage on your car insurance plan, which will also cover medical bills that result from an accident in or involving a rental car. 

  • Liability. While every state has different minimum requirements for car insurance coverage, liability is the bare minimum across the board. Liability insurance makes sure you’re covered against injury or damage while you’re driving a rental car and protects up to the limits of your policy. 

  • Personal effects coverage. Your belongings in your car or on your person are usually covered as part of your personal property insurance on your homeowner’s insurance (or your condo or renter’s policy). This coverage applies when you are traveling and on the road. 

  • Loss-damage waiver. If you have comprehensive and collision on your auto insurance policy, you’re already covered if your rental vehicle is vandalized, stolen, or damaged in an accident. As a result, you likely don’t need the loss-damage waiver (also known as a collision waiver) offered by some car insurance companies. If you do need it, however, it is inexpensive and ultimately worthwhile.

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Credit Card Rental Car Insurance Coverage

Credit cards that offer rental car insurance usually cover the loss-damage waiver, loss-of-use (for the rental company if the car needs to be repaired), and sometimes, they’ll also cover towing expenses and administrative fees.

However, there are a handful of things credit card companies do not usually cover. These include:

  • Injury or liability concerns, like damage to any property aside from the rental car, the people you hurt in the accident, or lawsuits resulting from the accident.
  • Loss or theft of any personal items you have in the car
  • Ambulance or medical bills

So, if you have a robust auto insurance policy and/or a credit card company that offers solid coverage, you don’t need rental car insurance, right?  

Well, maybe.

6 Signs You May Still Need Rental Car Insurance

Your personal car insurance has a high deductible. If so, it’s worth your while to consider rental car insurance since you could pay little to nothing out of pocket on that policy.

You want to avoid claims against your personal auto insurance. Making a claim on your personal car insurance could lead to a long-term increase in premiums. However, if you have rental car insurance, the claim will be made against that policy, leaving your personal auto insurance policy unchanged. 

Your personal car insurance policy has spotty coverage. If you’ve elected for the bare minimum or spotty coverage on your personal auto insurance policy, consider separate rental car coverage that adds a loss-damage waiver to protect you more fully.

You have low coverage limits. If your coverage limits are on the low side, rental car insurance can beef up your coverage so you can rest assured that you’re protected if you’re in an accident—at-fault or otherwise.

Your credit card does not provide adequate coverage. Again, you’re going to want to call your credit card company to see what kind of protection they offer on car insurance rentals. If it’s skimpy or non-existent, then getting separate car rental insurance is a good call. 

You don’t have personal insurance or coverage from your credit card. You may have a driver’s license but no car, and therefore, no personal car insurance. You may also not have a credit card that provides rental car insurance—there are some that don’t, though most of the major ones do. If this is you, then you should definitely buy car rental insurance.

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How to Get a Separate Rental Car Insurance Policy?

In the event your personal auto insurance and/or credit card don’t provide you with adequate rental car insurance, contact us. 

We don’t overwhelm you with middling quotes from a host of car insurance companies. Rather, we’ve carefully curated a list of the best rental car insurance providers and, based on that list and the information you provide us, we’ll provide you with a quote from the top rental car insurance carrier for you. 

It’s that easy. And the process is completely secure, so you can rest assured that you’re information safe with us.

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Not if you have all the coverage you need from your personal auto insurance company or the credit card company with which you will be renting the car. However, if there are gaps in the coverage provided by these carriers, or not enough coverage or you don’t have coverage, period, then you will need to get rental car insurance.

In fact, if you don’t have any insurance, you will need to buy rental car insurance from the rental company or have insurance from another provider in place before you can take possession of the rental vehicle.

It could cost nothing if you have enough coverage from your credit card company and/or personal auto insurance provider. Separate rental car insurance will typically cost between $35 or $40/day.

Again, contact us if you want a quote on a rental car insurance policy. We’ll pair you with the best policy for your needs.

Absolutely. If you damage or wreck your rental car—or the people in it or in another vehicle if you’re in a multi-car accident—you could be on the hook for a whole lot of money: enough to bankrupt you. Rental car insurance is an easy and relatively affordable way to protect yourself, others, and your peace of mind.

Typically, car rental insurance covers personal accident insurance, liability, personal effects coverage, and loss or damage.


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