Auto Insurance Tips for Rental Cars

You may not need to buy rental car insurance. Check with your insurance company and your credit card company to see if you'd be properly covered when driving a rental car.

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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 29, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Contact your personal insurance company before buying insurance from the rental agency
  • Make sure you understand the limits of your collision coverage
  • Shop around and compare options to help you save money on your insurance

You may be asking yourself, “When I rent a car, do I need the insurance?” If you want financial protection for your rental car, you must buy some form of rental insurance.

Read the following top rental car insurance tips.

Enter your ZIP code into our web comparison tool to get FREE insurance quotes now.

Basic Rental Car Insurance Tips

Talk to your agent and find out exactly what your current policy covers.

The collision damage waiver also called a CDW and the liability insurance policy are the most important coverage for a rental car.

A CDW covers any and all damage to the rented car. This usually includes theft and acts of nature, but every policy is different and every state has its own sets of rules.

Liability insurance covers damage you may do to another vehicle.

How much does it cost to rent a car with insurance? Expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $20 a day extra for car insurance through the rental car company.

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Tips for Outside the Agency

Make sure you understand the limits of your collision coverage.

Just because you have the policy in your hand doesn’t mean it covers every possible scenario.

Keep these tips in mind:

  • If you drive a $3,000 car and rent a $20,000 car for the weekend, your current insurance may only pay the smaller amount
  • Clarify whether or not your current coverage covers the full cost of rental car liability. Be sure to ask about any exceptions to the rules
  • Ask the agent about the possible theft of your personal items. Some insurance policies cover this, but most do not
  • If you travel quite a bit, for business or vacation and rent a lot of cars, then it may be time to discuss a rental policy through your regular insurance provider
  • Does your credit card cover car rental insurance? If your car insurance doesn’t cover you then contact your credit card company and inquire about rental coverage. Some credit card companies provide rental car insurance options

If none of this works for you, then you may have to get coverage from your car rental agency.

Start by finding out exactly what the policy covers, so you won’t end up buying an empty policy.

Some policies are top notch and cover everything, including the contents of the car, while others even provide life insurance.

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Tips and Observations

Verify whether the policy covers the whole car, including the tires and windshields. Some policies do not cover windshields, meaning if you are driving through the mountains and

Some policies do not cover windshields, meaning if you are driving through the mountains and a falling rock cracks the glass, you have to pay for it out of pocket!

Also verify that you are covered in Canada or Mexico if you are considering taking a trip over the border or driving abroad.

Check with various membership organizations about possible discounts. AARP and even Sam’s Club sometimes offer rental insurance discounts.

If you are making a reservation online, you can look for discount codes from the various car agencies like Hertz and Budget.

Last but not least, try shopping around online for cheaper insurance providers than the rental company itself.

You can shop for third party insurance coverage through the Internet. These policies are usually cheaper than traditional in-house rental insurance.

Just type in your ZIP code to the FREE rate tool and compare rental car insurance quotes now.

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Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

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