Do I Need Insurance To Rent A Car?

Yes you absolutely need insurance coverage if you are renting a car, although if you already have adequate insurance for your own vehicles, including collision and comprehensive, this may be all you need to safely rent a car. If you are traveling internationally, check to see if an international driver's license is required in that country. Before you rent a car anywhere, be prepared by doing the following:

  1. Ask your insurance company how much coverage you have on your own car. Usually the coverage and deductibles you have on your personal auto policy will apply to a rental car if it's being used for pleasure, not business.
  2. Consult with your insurance agent if this personal auto policy does not include comprehensive and collision. This is significant because if your rental car is stolen or damaged in an accident, you are not covered.
  3. Contact your credit card company to see the level of rental car insurance your card provides if you utilize it for renting the car.

Not everyone who rents a car for pleasure actually owns their own car, so there are options for those without any personal auto policy of their own, or those who do own their own car but do not carry collision and comprehensive.

Rental car counter insurance

This may provide the following coverage and will vary in cost depending on rental company, car rented, and location. Car rental companies may deny coverage based on your driving record or credit report, so be prepared ahead of time.

  • Collision damage waiver or loss damage waiver - This covers your rental if it is stolen or damaged, with the exception if you are engaging in dangerous, unlawful activies such as speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol.
  • Liability insurance - This is excess liability coverage for the time span your rent the car, which you may not need if you have adequate coverage in your own policy or have an umbrella policy. Frequent car renters are encouraged to look into a non-owner liability policy (more info below), more cost effective than paying for the extra liability coverage.
  • Personal accident insurance - This is coverage for you and your passengers in the event of medical bills but if you are covered by health insurance or have medical coverage under your personal car insurance this could be unnecessary.
  • Personal effects coverage - This provides reimbursement for the theft of valuable personal items in your car but if you already carry homeowners or renters insurance, you are likely already covered. Some companies combine personal accident and personal effects coverage.

Non-owned auto liability insurance

Do you rent cars on a regular basis? We highly recommend you consider a non-owner auto liability insurance policy from one of our insurance companies. These insurance policies for frequent car renters cost approximately $300 a year, which will most likely save you money and time at the rental counter. Other components of a non-owned auto liability insurance policy include:

  • If you are in the market for an umbrella liability policy, this policy could meet the auto insurance coverage requirement so that you can be assured of higher than basic limits of liability coverage.
  • Insurance coverage under a non-owned auto insurance policy includes damage to someone else's car, as well as liability for injuries to passengers or pedestrians in the event of an accident.
  • Medical payments coverage for you and your passengers will be covered along with underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage (includes hit and run).
  • Non-owned auto insurance does not provide collision coverage. You need to buy this from the car rental company or see if your credit card provides it.

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