How can I get insurance on a rental car?

Rental car insurance can be purchased from your car insurance company or the car rental agency. The average rates for rental car insurance are $19/day.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: May 15, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Car insurance is important whether you own a car or are just renting one
  • Rentals are usually covered through customer’s own personal auto insurance
  • Rental insurance is also available directly through the rental car company
  • Some credit card companies also offer rental car insurance if you pay for the rental with their card

If you are renting a car, you have several options for rental insurance.

Not all insurance is the same, so you need to determine who is offering what coverage and for what price in order to decide the best method for obtaining insurance on a rental car.

Enter your zip to start comparing car insurance quotes today!

Personal Car Insurance for a Rental Car

If you already own a car and have car insurance, there is a good chance that your coverage will extend to a rental car as well.

It is always best to check your policy directly or contact your agent to be sure you understand your coverage and limitations.

  • If your policy is only for liability then you may want to consider getting some additional rental car coverage through one of the methods described below.
  • If you have comprehensive and collision that carries through to a rental car then you most likely have all of the insurance you need.

Your personal car may be older and so you don’t carry comprehensive because you aren’t worried about some scratches and dings, but in a rental car those scratches and dings can end up being quite costly to you if they occur while the car is rented to you.

When traveling for business, ask your employer about the company car insurance.

It is very likely that the company car insurance coverage will apply to a rental car as well, and if you are on business then you should be covered under your company policy.

In order to be covered by the company policy, you may be required to submit a photocopy of your driver’s license and a recent Department of Motor Vehicles report.

Usually extensive information of this type is only required for employees who will be routine drivers for the company.

If you do not typically drive for the company, but you need to rent a car while you are out of town on business, then you most likely do not need to have your name added to the policy in order to be covered.

Either way, you should be certain that rental car insurance is addressed prior to your trip so that you can make informed decisions.

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Rental Car Insurance through a Rental Car Company

At the time you make your rental car reservation, and possibly again at the time you pick up your car, you will be asked if you want to buy optional rental car insurance.

It is best to be prepared for this question prior to picking up the car so that you know all of your options ahead of time and can make a confident choice.

Many people pay for unnecessary insurance at the last minute because they aren’t sure if they need it and they don’t want to take a chance.

Standing in line at the car rental place is not the time to start making phone calls to your insurance agent or to your credit card company!

The rental car company will be able to offer you several different insurance options for various prices.

These typically include:

  • Collision Damage Waiver – costs an average of $15 per day and removes any financial burden if the rental car gets damaged or stolen while it is in your care
  • Supplemental Liability Insurance – available for approximately $8 a day and covers liability in excess of your policy limitations all the way up to one million dollars
  • Personal Accident Insurance – costs about $4 per day and addresses accident-related medical expenses for you and your passengers
  • Personal Effects Coverage – approximately $3 per day and reimburses you for personal items that become damaged while they are in the rental car

Credit Card Rental Car Insurance

Since most people secure and pay for a rental car with a major credit card, it is a good idea to call your credit card company and ask if they offer rental car insurance.

If they do, it is usually secondary to your primary personal auto insurance policy, but it certainly could help pay for most damages that may well happen to a rental car.

This coverage is usually free but requires the use of the credit card to make the reservation.

Furthermore, if you need to file a claim, you need to follow their explicit directions, otherwise,they may not accept the claim.

It is easy to get rental car insurance because you can go through your own insurance agent, your credit card company, or through the car rental company itself.

The tricky part is deciding on how much coverage you truly need and what is duplicated coverage or wasted money but only what you need and only if you don’t already have coverage elsewhere.

To get quotes from several insurance companies right now, enter your zip code and then compare rates for free.



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