Yes, your car insurance likely covers rental cars, as most standard insurance policies cover car rentals in the U.S. Your car insurance will cover rental cars with the same coverage limits, requirements, and deductible as your personal car insurance policy. It’s best to check the details of your car insurance policy to make sure you’re aware of any rental car restrictions, though.
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. For example, 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. It’s also important to remember that 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.
Similarly, many personal car insurance policies do not cover cars rented for business reasons. Most companies also have time limits, meaning that your insurance will cover a rental car for a few weeks or a month at most. Lastly, if you carry full coverage, remember that 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
Buying rental car insurance to supplement a standard car insurance policy might be worthwhile, depending on your needs and preferences. But if you don’t have your own car insurance policy, buying coverage beyond the minimal amount that most rental cars carry is definitely a smart way to protect yourself.
Rental car companies are not even required to provide every state’s minimum insurance coverage by default. 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.
If you do need additional coverage, rental car companies sell different types of insurance at the counter, or you can buy travel or rental car insurance from a third party. And if you drive regularly but do not own a car, consider purchasing non-owner insurance.
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