Auto Insurance Coverage for Rental Cars

Auto insurance coverage for rental cars will be pushed on you by the rental car agency when you pick up your rental, but you may not need it. Personal auto insurance covers rental cars if you have the right coverage, or you may have coverage on your credit card of up to $75,000. Compare rental car auto insurance rates and options before you buy that extra policy.

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Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about auto insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features. His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and Cinncinati.com. ...

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Reviewed by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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If you’ve ever rented a car, then you’ve probably received the sales pitch about how you need to buy auto insurance coverage for rental cars from the agency while you are driving their vehicle. Maybe you’ve purchased it before, or maybe you assumed it was a scam to rip you off so that they could make more money.

Well, if you’re in the latter group, you may be right. Drivers have many different options when it comes to car insurance coverage for a rental car. And most of those options are actually more affordable than purchasing rental car insurance from the company. As a matter of fact, there are a few different common situations in which you may already have plenty of coverage before anyone puts the keys to your rental in your hand.

Whether you are renting a car now or just want cheap auto insurance, shopping around is key. Enter your ZIP code to find auto insurance that covers you in a rental car.

If You Have a Good Credit Card, Then You Already Have Rental Car Insurance

As you can see in the chart below, many credit cards have rental car insurance options that customers like you can take advantage of. But keep in mind two very important facts: number one, this type of insurance is liability only. It won’t protect you from theft, or damage to the vehicle that would normally be covered under Collision or Comprehensive coverage. Number two, this type of insurance won’t protect you from any lawsuits that may be filed against you after your liability coverage is maxed out.

Credit Card Company Credit Cars with Coverage Benefits Coverage Limits Coverage Duration Claim Submission Grace Period
Visa All $50k 15/31 Days 90 Days
American Express All $50k/$75k 30 Days 180 Days
Mastercard Gold, Platinum, World, World Elite $50k 15 Days 180 Days

It’s also worth noting that credit card insurance for a rental vehicle usually covers you for no longer than 30 days – and in some cases, it barely covers you for more than 2 weeks. If you plan on renting a car for longer than that, you may need to look for additional options.

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If You Have Full Coverage Auto Insurance, Then You Are Already Protected

If you have full coverage auto insurance on the vehicle or vehicles you currently own, then the odds are you are protected from almost every bad scenario that could happen to your rental vehicle. However, if your coverage limits are less than the damages incurred if something goes wrong while you are renting that vehicle, you may be in for some out-of-pocket expenses.

Lots of car rental companies offer temporary insurance which protects you in the event that your personal belongings are stolen from your rental car. However, if you have homeowners or renters insurance, those policies will usually cover stolen items – even if they’re stolen from your vehicle as opposed to your residence. But these types of coverages usually have limits, especially for valuable or rare items, so you’ll need to check with your insurance agent to make sure that you have adequate financial coverage.

Average Homeowners Insurance PremiumsLegend: Average Homeowners Insurance Premium IdahoFloridaOregonLouisianaUtahTexasWisconsinMississippi 150300450600750900105012001350150016501800$518$1933$559$1672$563$1578$592$1409

Since liability insurance is mandatory in practically every state in order to drive legally, then your current insurance policy will cover you in the event that your rental car accident is deemed your fault. However, keep in mind that if the damages from the accident cost more than the coverage limits on your liability policy, you will be legally responsible for any extra expenses. Rental car liability insurance can protect you for up to a million dollars in damages; most car insurance policies usually only offer up to $300,000 of liability coverage. And most drivers usually choose less coverage than that, because state minimums range from $10,000 to $25,000 in most areas. So that’s something to keep in mind the next time you rent a car.

Minimum Liability Premiums (Average)Legend: Liability Coverage CaliforniaTexasFloridaNew YorkPennsylvania 102030405060708090100110120130140150160170$47$51$91$174$23

If you have collision and comprehensive coverage on the policy of the vehicle you own, there’s a good chance your insurance company may extend that coverage to any rental car that suffers damage from an act of nature or from a collision that is not your fault. Be sure to talk to your insurance agent just to double-check and make sure that your plan offers you that luxury.

Liability vs Comprehensive Policy PremiumsLegend: Liability Coverage Comprehensive Coverage CaliforniaTexasFloridaNew YorkPennsylvania 306090120150180210240270300330360$47$121$51$128$91$169$174$389$23$69

Personal injury protection covers medical expenses that you might need to pay if you get into an accident. But personal injury protection is only mandatory in no-fault states; in other areas, it’s easier for your insurance companies to determine who pays for your medical expenses based on who was at fault. Either way, if you live in a state where personal injury protection coverage is sold, it should extend to any accidents that happened while you are driving a rental car. Again, though, it’s best to double-check with your insurance agency just to make sure.

What You May End up Paying If You Buy Rental Car Insurance

Rental car companies are in business to make money, period. They also want to protect their business, and their business assets, from financial ruin. They take out millions of dollars of insurance coverage to protect their fleet, and if they can recoup those costs while charging a markup so that they can profit, they will do so. But if you’re already protected by the other forms of insurance that you’re already paying for, you could be throwing money out the window. Just look at how much it would cost to purchase rental car insurance from the rental car agency if you’re going to be renting that car for an extended period of time:

5 days 15 days 30 days
$10/day $50 $150 $300
$20/day $100 $300 $600
$30/day $150 $450 $900

At the end of the day, whether it’s a rental car or a vehicle you own yourself, the best way to save money on your insurance costs as to shop around. Here on our website, you can come here several quotes in a matter of minutes from local insurance companies who are competing for your business.

All you need to get started find affordable rental car auto insurance from a full coverage policy is your ZIP code. Enter it now to begin. We’ll help you find and compare rental car auto insurance quotes.

Frequently Asked Questions: Auto Insurance Coverage for Rental Cars

If you still have questions, read on for more answers.

#1 – Does USAA auto insurance have coverage for a rental car?

Does USAA auto insurance cover rental cars? Yes, if that coverage is included in your policy. The same goes for most insurance companies.

So whether you are asking: does AAA auto insurance cover rental cars, does auto insurance cover rental cars with State Farm or Progressive, or whether Geico car insurance has coverage for a rental car, the answer is the same. Yes, if you purchase that coverage on your policy.

#2 – Does personal auto insurance cover rental cars?

Much like the question above, the answer is yes – if you have the right coverage on your policy. You can buy rental car auto insurance from most companies, and it’s usually the best way to avoid expensive rental car auto insurance rates.

A rental car auto insurance company that works with rental car agencies will be more expensive in general.

 

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