Rental Car Insurance

Do you need rental car insurance? It's a common misconception that all auto insurance policies and packages include rental coverage. Although some insurance policies will cover rental car insurance, not all of them include it, at least not without a hefty addition to your premium.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Nov 12, 2020

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Renting a car is often times a needed expense when you go traveling. The cost of renting a car is usually relatively inexpensive. Insurance coverage for your rental, on the other hand, is usually where the rental companies profit. Continue reading below to find out if you actually need rental car insurance, who you should buy it from, if your credit card company offers it, and also where to get rental car insurance quotes.

Do You Need Rental Car Insurance When You Rent-A-Car?

Whether you’re traveling on business or simply for recreation, the question of “Do I need rental car insurance?” is likely to arise. Or at least it should. After all, you don’t want to be hit with a 5-figure or 6-figure bill just because you crash your rental car and cause tons of monetary damage.

It’s a common misconception that all auto insurance policies and packages include rental coverage. Although some insurance policies will cover rental car insurance, not all of them include it, at least not without a hefty addition to your premium. Even if some rental car coverage is included with your regular car insurance policy, the terms of your rental coverage aren’t as easy to grasp as your standard collision and comprehensive coverage terms.

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Should You Get Insurance From The Rental Company Or The Insurance Company?

Rental Car Insurance
When you rent a car, you should always think about whether or not you need to purchase rental car insurance coverage.

Any reputable car rental company will, if not include insurance as part of the rental agreement, at least offer you the option to add insurance coverage when you rent from them. Usually, this additional insurance coverage will run anywhere from an extra $10 per day to an extra $100 per day. If you plan on skipping out on this insurance in order to save a few bucks, you better make sure that your existing auto insurance policy covers you, or you already have insurance from some other source (your credit card company, etc.)

A surefire way to find out if you have rental coverage from your current car insurance company (assuming you own a car and have valid insurance) is to give your car insurance provider a call and ask. If you don’t have this additional coverage option, your car insurance company will give you the option to add this coverage type to your policy (increasing your premium), or they will give you a rental car insurance quote for the vehicle you are about to rent.

Say, for example, that your auto insurance policy includes rental coverage with a $500 deductible. If your rental car was involved in a fender-bender or a minor accident, the rental company would cover what was laid out in the terms of the rental agreement (if anything), then your car insurance provider would pick up the remainder minus your deductible.

However, if you don’t have rental coverage on your existing insurance policy or from any other source, and you opted-out of the insurance coverage that the rental car company offered, you’d be responsible to foot the whole bill by yourself.

Again, this varies from company to company, so to be absolutely sure if you are covered when you rent a car, it is best to give your insurance provider a call personally and find out exactly what rental car coverage your policy includes.

Can You Get Coverage From Your Credit Card Company?

Often times, if you use your credit card to pay for a rental car, the credit card company will offer complimentary rental car insurance.  Renters should check with their credit card company to check whether they provide sufficient coverage without buying additional insurance because not all cards do.  Many credit cards include some collision and theft protection.  This protection, however, is usually very minimal and is secondary to personal auto insurance for insurance sold to you by the rental car company.

Visa cardholders will generally be in luck when renting a car. Almost all Visa credit cards offer some type of rental car insurance as a benefit to cardholders. Mastercard cardholders need to be more careful when renting a car as not all Mastercard cards offer rental insurance as a benefit. American Express and Discover card holders, however, can rest easy, as booking with their cards will all provide rental insurance coverage. To be sure if your card provides you with rental car insurance as a benefit, check out this good guide on SmartAsset. To be 100% sure that you are covered, give your credit card company a call and explain the situation to them.

Important Note – Many times your credit card company will NOT cover your rental car unless you waive all additional coverage that the rental car insurance company offers. Be extra careful when renting the car and choosing insurance if you plan on relying on your credit card company for coverage.

For more information on credit cards and rental car insurance coverage, view our guide on the subject here.

Getting Auto Insurance Quotes For A Rental

If it seems like you’re renting a car every time you travel, it makes a lot of sense to extend your coverage well beyond the basic features provided by the rental car agency’s bare-bones insurance policy options. If your current auto insurance provider won’t cover rental cars or has outrageously high fees for adding rental insurance coverage to your policy, then it may be time to find a new auto insurance company.

Luckily for you, finding an auto insurance policy that matches your unique needs is easier today than it’s ever been before. Scroll to the top of the page and enter your zip code in the provided field to begin getting car insurance quotes from companies that do offer supplemental rental car coverage. Within a couple minutes, you’ll be able to compare and contrast rates from some of the best auto insurance deals out there.

Additional Rental Car Insurance Resources

  • Consumer Reports – Should you take the car rental insurance? It depends
  • USA Today – For the last time: Car rental coverage is not mandatory

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