The next time you need to rent a vehicle, ask yourself if auto insurance covers rental car policies. While that’s usually the case, it’s smart to ask your car insurance agent about your personal policy coverage before arriving at the car rental desk.
We at Home Media’s review team looked at the times when personal auto insurance policies cover rental cars, and we’ll list those situations below. We also researched the best car insurance companies in the industry to help you find the right match for your coverage needs.
Does personal insurance cover my rental car?
Check what your personal car insurance policy covers if you plan on driving a rental car without taking out a short-term policy. It is illegal to drive a vehicle, rental car, or anything else if there is no minimum coverage. In addition, car rental companies usually do not offer their own cover.
Major auto insurers typically extend your coverage to include rental cars, but this isn’t always the case. Also keep in mind that auto insurance companies usually only provide coverage for drivers when they are in the US, Canada or areas such as Puerto Rico. Auto insurance doesn’t cover rental cars in other countries, so buy your own coverage if you’re going elsewhere.
When determining whether your personal car insurance will cover rental cars, consider the value of your car compared to that of your temporary car. If the rental car is worth significantly more than your model, you can set higher coverage limits for the short term.
Do credit card companies cover rental cars?
Many credit card companies do offer some form of rental car insurance if you use your card to rent the vehicle. Your credit card company can reimburse high auto insurance deductibles if you make a claim on a rental car, or even cover the value of the rental car in the event of total loss or loss of use.
You can get primary or secondary coverage from your credit card company. Those with primary coverage will let their credit card company cover most of the damage, while drivers with secondary protection won’t receive benefits until the auto insurance company pays most of the claim. Check with your credit card company to see what type of coverage you qualify for.
Types of Rental Car Insurance
If you need cheap car insurance to cover a rental car or increase your protection, consider the following insurance products:
- Liability insurance: It is absolutely essential that all rental cars receive adequate coverage to meet or exceed the state’s minimum coverage requirements. Liability protection is not optional, so almost all motorists must provide proof of coverage. You will find that there are two types: personal injury and property damage liability insurance.
- Loss-damage waiver (LDW): Often known as Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), an LDW waives your liability if your rental car is damaged or stolen. This choice is below collision cover and comprehensive coverage for those using a personal policy.
- Personal belongings insurance: This additional insurance covers personal items that may be stolen from your rental car. Personal property insurance is a smart coverage option for people going to cities known to be prone to car break-ins. While personal property coverage is standard for homeowners or renters insurance, it’s not for autos.
- Personal accident insurance: If you have a car accident while driving your rental car, personal accident insurance will cover medical costs for you and your passengers. This option is very similar to medical payment and personal injury protection coverage in that it covers most medical bills.
If you have minimum coverage car insurance for your personal vehicle, it may be smart to add LDW or personal property coverage to your rental car. You may be more likely to be in an accident on unfamiliar roads when driving a rental car and valuables may be stolen. Also consider adding extra coverage if you have a rental car model that is more expensive to replace than your own vehicle.
Please note that rental car refund coverage covers getting a free replacement vehicle if your vehicle is damaged or goes to the repair shop. In other words, it’s not a coverage type you pick up when you’re intentionally looking for a rental car.
Does car insurance cover rental cars?: Conclusion
While auto insurance usually covers rental cars, check for exclusions during your own research. Before renting, ask your car insurance agent and your credit card company to find out exactly what coverage you already have.
Drivers with minimum insurance should strongly consider increasing their rental car coverage levels. It’s expensive to repair or replace a rental car, and the small cost to add a Collision Damage Waiver is well worth it for most motorists.
Top car insurance recommendations
If you want to find the best auto coverage rates, you should compare car insurance quotes from multiple providers. State Farm and Geico are two auto insurance policies that cover rental cars, and we recommend checking them out as you look for affordable premiums and peace of mind on the road.
State Farm: Editors’ Choice
We give State Farm, the nation’s most popular auto insurance company, a 9.3 out of 10.0 star rating and our Editor’s Choice award. State Farm has one A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and ranked highest for customer satisfaction among major insurers in the JD Power 2022 US Insurance Shopping Study℠.
Read further: Review of state farm insurance
Geico: Affordable for most drivers
Geico is known for its competitive rates and wide availability, which are two reasons for the 9.1 out of 10.0 stars. We also give Geico 9.8 out of 10.0 stars for its strong reputation in the industry, noting that A+ rating from the BBB. In short, Geico is a reliable car insurer with excellent rates for most types of drivers.
Read further: Geico insurance overview
Does car insurance cover rental cars?: frequently asked questions
Below you will find frequently asked questions about whether the car insurance covers rental cars.
Because consumers trust us to provide objective and accurate information, we’ve developed an extensive rating system to formulate our ranking of the best auto insurance companies. We’ve collected data from dozens of auto insurers to rate the companies on a wide variety of ranking factors. The end result was a total score per provider, with the insurers with the most points at the top of the list.
Here are the factors our ratings take into account:
- Cost (30% of the total score): Auto insurance estimates generated by Quadrant Information Services and discount opportunities were both considered.
- Coverage (30% of total score): Businesses that offer different options for insurance coverage are more likely to meet consumer needs.
- Reputation (15% of total score): Our research team took into account market share, assessments from industry experts and years of experience when giving this score.
- Availability (10% of the total score): Auto insurance companies with more state availability and few eligibility requirements scored highest in this category.
- Customer experience (15% of total score): This score is based on the number of complaints reported by the NAIC and customer satisfaction ratings reported by JD Power. We also considered the responsiveness, friendliness and helpfulness of each insurance company’s customer service team based on our own customer analysis.
*Data correct at time of publication.