Do I need rental car insurance?

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You’re at the car rental desk and the clerk implies that you need to get the car rental insurance provided. You wonder, “Do I really need it?” For the most part, no, car rental insurance isn’t necessary, but sometimes it is.

Liability Coverage

If you own your car and you have a car insurance policy, then your liability coverage goes with you regardless of which car you are driving. Chances are if you are dealing with a licensed insurance agent, then you have the proper coverage already. But if you haven’t considered what happens if you crash into a new Ferrari LaFerrari, don’t happen to have an extra $1.2 million lying around, and you have assets worth keeping, then you probably should double check with your agent to make sure you’ve got proper liability coverage.

Comp & Collision

If your car is worth more than $3,500, then you probably have comprehensive & collision coverage on your policy. This means that if you get in an accident, the rental car will be covered. Just make sure that you are in a position to cover the deductible immediately because if an accident does happen, the car rental company will need that deductible.

What about theft & damage?

If you have a good car insurance policy that includes comp & collision, then you will probably be covered for theft or damage to the rental, car but not all policies cover rental cars. If you are unsure, make sure you ask your agent if your auto insurance covers it.

What about coverage through my credit card?

Many credit card companies offer coverage, but there are a few things of which you should be aware:

  • The entire car rental coverage needs to be purchased using your credit card.
  • Benefits such as theft & collision protection often don’t kick in until you’ve reached a certain level with the credit card company.
  • You usually need to decline the supplemental collision damage offered by the car rental company.
  • Your credit card company may not cover popular SUV rentals, such as Range Rovers, Ford Expeditions and Suburbans.
  • Coverage is often limited and will not include any damage occurring on private or unpaved roads.
  • Check the car rental cap for your credit card. Some companies allow for 30 days, some 15 some only a week.

Are there times when my personal policy will not cover my rental?

Your personal policy needs to match your rental. If you’re looking to cover something you do not normally, they your policy is NOT going to cover anything extra. Some examples that people often think are covered but are not:

  • Truck rentals with an open bed
  • Off-road vehicles
  • Exotic or expensive vehicles such as Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Bentleys
  • Boats and other water craft; and
  • If you’re normal coverage does not include business and you’re on a business trip, the car rental won’t be covered either.

We always recommend that you check your current policy to make sure that you are covered before you leave. If you have questions, you should call your insurance agent. If you live in California, don’t have an insurance agent, and are looking for car insurance, then please give us a call or fill out our FREE online car insurance quote form.


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