You’re standing at the airport rental car counter when the agent looks at you and asks you that age-old question, “Do you want rental car insurance?”
Sweat begins to form on your forehead. Is rental car insurance worth it? am I throwing money away? Does my regular car insurance cover me? can I call a friend?
we’ve all been there. But don’t worry, we’ll discuss if you really need rental car insurance, so the next time you’re at that counter, you don’t have to worry about your answer!
what is rental car insurance?
Rental car insurance is an add-on you can get when you rent a car. gives you additional coverage if you have an accident while driving a rental vehicle.
Here’s a breakdown of what rental car insurance typically covers.
The Collision Damage Waiver (also called Loss Damage Waiver) covers theft or damage to the rental vehicle in the event of a collision. although it is not really insurance. it is a waiver that says the car rental company will not hold you responsible for all damages. it will not cover you if the accident was caused by your carelessness (such as speeding). and the rental company could still charge you for other things, like towing or loss of use, money they lost because they couldn’t rent the car.
Supplemental Liability Coverage covers you if you damage other people’s vehicles or property. (Liability limits for rental cars typically range from $300,000 to $1 million.)
personal accident insurance covers medical bills for you and your passengers if you are injured while driving the rental. it even includes death benefits for worst case scenarios.
Personal Effects Coverage will pay for any of your personal property (up to a certain amount) that is stolen from the vehicle. It’s the same type of coverage you get from your renters or homeowners coverage, so you probably don’t even need this protection.
Does my auto insurance cover rental cars?
In general, yes, your auto insurance will cover your rental car the same way it covers your own car. so you probably don’t need rental car insurance.
for example, if you have comprehensive or collision coverage, you won’t need the collision damage waiver. And if you have the right amount of liability coverage, you don’t need the liability of a rental car either. skip it.
Also, you probably don’t need personal accident insurance. Your health insurance or the personal injury protection on your auto policy probably provides enough coverage. When it comes to death benefits, you’re better off buying term life insurance.
However, it’s still a good idea to understand your personal auto insurance policy before paying for your car rental. don’t assume you’re covered. check your coverage policy.
When do I need rental car insurance?
Still wondering if you need to take out rental car insurance? Let’s sum it all up. you will need it in these situations:
- Your personal insurance policy does not cover rentals.
- You don’t own a car and you don’t have car insurance.
- you rent cars more than the average person.
- You are worried about paying a high deductible.
- you are traveling for business and your company does not cover you.
- If the rental car is damaged or stolen and you have to file a claim, it will affect your premium in the same way as if the incident involved your own car.
- The rental company may take a deposit on your debit card and then refund the money to you when you return the car in good condition.
- Your personal auto coverage does not cover vehicles such as moving trucks. in that case, you must purchase insurance from the truck rental company.
- Collision/Loss Damage Waiver – $20 per day
- Liability Insurance – $15 per day (per $1 million in coverage)
- personal accident insurance – $5 per day
- personal effects coverage – $2 per day
If you frequently rent cars but don’t have your own auto insurance policy, you might consider non-owners auto insurance. covers bodily injury and property damage if you have an accident while driving a car you don’t own. It’s also less expensive than standard insurance, which is good for your budget.
If you decide to use your own insurance instead of buying the additional coverage from the rental company, keep a few things in mind:
one last thing: certain credit cards also offer some protection against car rental incidents, but they should not be your preferred solution. credit cards have so many drawbacks that they just aren’t worth using, ever! Also, credit card protection is secondary, so it will only kick in after you pay for your personal policy.
Do I need rental car insurance for international travel?
If traveling internationally, should I get additional car rental insurance?
rent a car outside the usa. uu. brings its own challenges. Fewer insurance companies cover customers who rent cars internationally. so contact your insurer to see if your rental is covered.
Some people like to purchase the additional coverage when traveling abroad due to the increased risk of accidents due to different driving conditions and traffic laws. the additional coverage will also help you avoid the hassle of filing a claim in a foreign country.
how much does rental car insurance cost?
The cost of rental insurance varies, but full coverage insurance typically costs between $30 and $60 per day. if you choose to buy a la carte, this is what each one will cost:
You can also buy rental car insurance through a third party (like bonzah or insure my rental car) if you don’t want to buy it over the counter. it’s cheaper than buying the often overpriced car rental insurance (that’s why car rental people pressure you to buy it!). But for most people, it’s usually best to use your own auto insurance policy.
rental car insurance: to buy or not to buy?
The bottom line when it comes to car rental insurance is making sure you’re not paying for something you don’t need. but it’s also not worth taking unnecessary risks to save money.
If you rent cars often, you may want to upgrade your personal policy for more coverage while you rent. And even if you don’t rent often, it’s good to review your personal policy when you travel, or at least once a year.
As long as you have a solid auto insurance policy, the next time you’re at the rental counter, just smile and say “no thanks.”
If you need to update your auto insurance policy or want to make sure you have enough coverage, we recommend working with an independent insurance agent who is part of our Supported Local Provider (ELP) program. They are trusted and will listen to your specific situation to provide coverage that fits your needs and budget.
connect with an elp near you and start saving today!