Out of State Rental Car Insurance

Out of state rental car insurance is the same as when you rent a car in the state. Out of state rental car coverage is usually included in your personal policy, but make sure you have enough coverage. Generally speaking, the protections afforded to your own car insurance policy will convey to any cars you rent.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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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: Jan 25, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • There is no difference in terms of insurance when renting a vehicle in-state or out-of-state.
  • Usually, your own car insurance policy carries over to the rental car.
  • You will want to examine your coverage to decide if it is enough.
  • Check to see if your credit card offers any car rental insurance coverage.

When it comes to rental car insurance, the same rules apply to both in-state and interstate car rentals. Generally speaking, the protections afforded to your own car insurance policy will convey to any cars you rent.

  • Comprehensive insurance will cover fire, vandalism, theft, and damage from animals as it relates to your rental car just as it covers those things on your daily drive.
  • Collision insurance will cover damage resulting when you collide with another vehicle or object.
  • Liability insurance, which covers the damage to other vehicles or persons if you cause an accident, is most often provided by your own car insurance policy or, if you do not have car insurance, by the car rental company’s liability protections.

The rental car companies are unlikely to publicize the fact that they automatically provide liability insurance (albeit at the lowest levels required by law), but it makes sense when you consider that it is not a legal option to let any drivers on the road without liability insurance.

Rental car companies don’t have to advertise the availability of liability insurance for each renter, but they do have to provide it.

Several years ago, Enterprise, a prominent rental company, was sued by the New York Attorney General for failing to provide customers with the minimum liability coverage New York required.

Enterprise illegally sued renters for damages instead of covering the liability with the company’s own policy. Enterprise was forced to pay $2 million in restitution to wronged parties and $200,000 to the state.

Credit Cards & Rental Insurance


You may also find that your rental car insurance may be covered by your credit card company. Carefully review the options available to you through your credit card before you arrive at the rental counter.

Rental car insurance coverage varies widely from one credit card to the next:

  • No protection – This is self-explanatory.
  • Secondary coverage – In this case, you must file a claim through your own insurance, or the car rental insurance, before the credit card company picks up any responsibility.
  • Primary coverage – This means the credit card company will pay for damages without asking you to go through any other means of insurance.

Some questions to consider when investigating the depth of coverage include:

  • Will the card cover damage to other cars in the event of an accident or does coverage apply only to your rental car?
  • Will it cover you or the other victims in the event of bodily injury resulting from an accident?
  • What insurance options are available through the rental company when you rent a car interstate?

Careful consideration of all the variables will allow you to make the most informed decision possible when considering car rental insurance.

There are a variety of options available, and the coverage selection is likely to be different at each car rental company. The most common forms of insurance available for purchase are Loss Damage Waivers (LDW) and Collision Damage Waivers (CDW).

Make sure you read the fine print before you sign. Note the existence of deductibles and conditions (such as speeding) that will void your coverage.

Some companies also offer Additional Liability Insurance, Personal Accident Insurance (death and medical expense benefits), and coverage for personal property that is lost or stolen.

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How to Save Money When You Rent a Car Interstate

With car rental insurance remaining the same whether you are driving in-state or interstate, you will need to look at other avenues in order to save money. Comparison shopping is the best way to find out how you can save.

Make sure you compare the prices offered through several car rental companies before settling on the most suitable choice.

Car rental or travel websites are treasure troves of information and time-saving opportunities to make reservations or even pay in advance for car rentals.

Here are some things to look for when comparing:

  • Drop-off fees – When making reservations, be aware that many companies charge a “drop-off” fee when you return the car to a site other than the one at which you rented it.
  • Mileage charge – Companies may also charge for mileage over a certain amount, which should be a major consideration when selecting a rental car provider for interstate travel.
  • Discounts – Ask the rental company if they offer discounts, and then decide if any apply to you. Sometimes being a member of AAA or a wholesale group will give you access to discounts.

While researching your car rental options on the Web, you may also want to look into car insurance options.

The best policy for your own cars may well be the best policy for your rental cars—and that holds true whether you are driving in your own state, out-of-state, or even internationally.

The same technology that enables you to plan your trips on-line also allows you to compare car insurance from a host of providers with just a few keystrokes. A comprehensive car insurance quote comparison tool makes it easy to find out what options are available to you.

Taking care of these details long before you embark on your journey will help ensure a smooth and more economical trip. Compare car insurance quotes today!


  1. https://www.enterprise.com
  2. https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news03/enterprise.html
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_State_Attorney_General
  4. https://www.cardhub.com/edu/rental-car-insurance-credit-card-study/
  5. https://www.travelpulse.com/news/features/finally-the-truth-about-car-rental-insurance.html
  6. https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/05/how-to-save-big-bucks-on-car-rentals/index.htm
  7. https://www.foxnews.com/travel/2011/11/10/for-rentals-cars-membership-has-its-privileges/

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