Yes, your car insurance covers rental cars, in most cases. Standard auto insurance policies cover car rentals in the U.S., up to your normal policy limits and with your regular deductible, but it’s best to check the details of your car insurance policy to make sure you’re aware of any specific rental car restrictions.
In addition, other policies, like health or home insurance, kick in for certain situations. Your health insurance will usually cover injuries resulting from a car crash, and home or renters policies cover items stolen from a car. Also, depending on the credit card you used to rent a car, you may be able to file a claim through it, too.
When Your Car Insurance Does Not Cover Rental Cars
Although every standard car insurance company has its own criteria for covering rental cars, a few situations are commonly excluded.
Most insurers do not cover rental cars outside of the U.S., though you can buy specialty rental car or travel insurance to fulfill another country’s insurance requirements.
If you get into an accident, the rental car company may charge you for things that your insurance won’t pay for, like loss-of-use or administrative fees.
- Many personal car insurance policies do not cover cars rented for business reasons
Most companies have time limits, meaning that your insurance will cover a rental car for a few weeks or a month at most.
If you carry full coverage, your insurance will only pay for the limits established by the value of your usual car, even if the rental car is worth more.
When to Buy Additional Rental Car Insurance
- You don’t have your own car insurance policy.
- You have a personal insurance policy but want additional coverage.
- You are renting a car for business purposes.
- You are renting a car outside of the U.S.
Keep in mind that not every state requires rental car companies to automatically provide the minimum mandated insurance coverage. In California, for example, you need to carry a personal car insurance policy with liability coverage or purchase the rental car company’s additional liability coverage in order to drive legally.
To learn more, check out WalletHub’s full guide to rental car insurance.
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