We all dread the counter at the car rental company. Confusion over coverage causes many travelers to either buy expensive, duplicate insurance or to drive away without adequate protection. Checking all the insurance boxes on a rental contract can easily add $300.00 to the cost of a week’s car rental. But wrecking a rental after declining the insurance would trigger a much bigger bill. Faced with aggressive sales pitches, it pays to know your options before you rent.
- Do You Need It? The Quick Answer
- Coverage You May Already Have
- Types of Car Rental Insurance
- Other Alternatives
- Cost of Rental Car Insurance Coverage
- When Rental Car Insurance Might Make Sense
- The Bottom Line
Do You Need Rental Car Insurance? The Quick Answer
If your personal vehicle is insured and you pay for your rental with a credit card – or if you are taking a business trip -- you don’t generally need to buy extra insurance when renting in the United States or Canada.
Non-owner car insurance is coverage for licensed drivers who don’t own a car but drive using rental cars, car sharing services, or borrowed vehicles. Drivers are eligible for non-owner insurance if they have a valid driver’s license and do not own a vehicle. Many insurers will not write a non-owner policy if a driver has access to a vehicle in their household.
Key Things to Know About Non-Owner Car Insurance
- Non-owner policies provide the minimum coverage required by the state, as well as some optional add-ons.
- Most major insurers offer non-owner car insurance.
- Non-owner car insurance costs between $200 and $500 per year.
- Consider getting non-owner car insurance if you don’t own a car but plan to frequently rent or borrow one.
- What Does Non-Owner Car Insurance Cover?
- Who Offers Non-Owner Car Insurance?
- How Much Does Non-Owner Car Insurance Cost?
- When To Consider Non-Owner Car Insurance
Military car insurance policies are coverage options that provide discounts and special benefits to military personnel, veterans, and members of certain military associations. The best military car insurance companies are USAA and Geico, as they offer the largest discounts for military members.
Key Features of Military Car Insurance
- Direct discounts of up to 15%
- Additional discounts through military associations
- Perks including payment deferrals and military-specific customer service
- Policy flexibility during deployment
Best Military Car Insurance Companies
- Armed Forces Insurance
- State Farm
- Liberty Mutual
- American Family Mutual
Military Car Insurance Options
We have gathered details on the special offers from the largest car insurance companies, plus Armed Forces Insurance, a smaller insurer that specifically serves this market.
You can get car insurance online, over the phone, or in person with an insurance agent. The best way to shop for car insurance is to compare quotes from different insurance companies online. That way, you can quickly find the lowest price for the coverage you need.
The way you choose to buy insurance is entirely up to your personal preference. Some people want the personal support of an agent, while others like the convenience of purchasing insurance online. No matter which method you choose, remember to verify your state’s car insurance requirements before purchasing a policy. Nearly all states have a minimum liability coverage requirement, which you are obligated to meet. You can also buy additional liability coverage if you want it.
WalletHub’s insurance company reviews are designed to help consumers efficiently find the best car insurance, home insurance and other types of coverage by providing impartial, data-driven ratings for insurance companies across the country. More specifically, WalletHub evaluates insurance companies in seven key areas – ranging from cost and customer service to claims and transparency – in order to demonstrate each company’s suitability for a variety of different types of people who may be shopping for insurance coverage.
Each category in WalletHub’s review framework has a certain maximum point value attached to it, reflecting WalletHub’s estimation of its importance in the process of choosing an insurance provider. Each category also has a list of criteria and benchmarks that companies must fulfill or hit to earn a certain number of points, which reflect WalletHub’s definition of a 5-star insurer – based on market conditions and what we believe are reasonable terms.
The most important things to do after a car accident are to stay calm, call 911 if anyone is seriously injured and keep everyone away from oncoming traffic. Once everyone is safe, you should gather information for an insurance claim, including the other driver’s insurance information, witness contact details, and photos and notes related to the accident.
Key Thingsto Do After a Car Accident
- You’re legally obligated to call the police if there are injuries or property damage beyond a certain value.
- Don’t immediately admit fault or agree not to file an insurance claim.
- Always exchange insurance information with any other drivers involved, even if it’s just a minor fender bender.
- Contact your insurance company.
- What to Do After an Accident Causing Injuries or Significant Damage
- Do You Need to Report Fender Benders to the Police?
- Do You Need to Report Fender Benders to Insurance?
- What to Do After a Single-Car Accident
Comprehensive and collision coverage are two different types of car insurance. Comprehensive coverage is a type of insurance that protects your car from things other than an accident, like falling objects and vandalism. Collision coverage is a different type of insurance that covers damage to your own vehicle due to a collision with another car or object.
People often mistakenly think “comprehensive and collision coverage” refers to a single type of car insurance coverage because collision and comprehensive are often combined to protect a vehicle against most forms of damage, as part of so-called “full coverage.” But they are distinct types of coverage, differing primarily in terms of the types of damage that they apply to.
An auto insurance score, or a credit-based insurance score, is similar to a credit score. The main difference is that your auto insurance score predicts your likelihood of filing a claim as opposed to your odds of defaulting on a loan or line of credit. By analyzing years of data on credit scores and car accidents, insurers have found certain connections between financial misbehavior and motorist mistakes. In other words, people who are less responsible with credit are also more likely to have accidents. And insurance companies consider such behavioral patterns when pricing their policies.
But your own driving record has nothing to do with your auto insurance score (insurers will still consider it when they calculate your premium, though). Your score represents different components of your credit history, graded from an insurer’s perspective. There are just a few exceptions to this, as California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts don’t allow credit history to affect auto insurance. Other states may have requirements to notify you when your score is used this way, too. It’s always helpful to contact your state government to find out your rights.
If you cause a car accident, liability insurance will cover injuries to other people and damage to their property. Liability car insurance, sometimes called "third party" coverage, is one of the most important types of car insurance. In fact, states typically require drivers to have a minimum amount of liability insurance coverage.
Liability auto insurance comes in two forms. One is bodily injury liability coverage, which covers all expenses related to physical injury to other parties. The other is property damage liability coverage, which pays for repairs to the victim’s damaged property, including a car or a house.
A car insurance deductible is the amount of money you’ll pay out of pocket before your insurance company pays the rest of a claim, up to the policy’s pre-set coverage limit. For example, imagine that you have a $500 deductible and a claim for $1,500 to repair your car after you hit someone’s mailbox. You file a claim with your insurance company, which reviews and (hopefully) approves coverage for the full amount, minus your deductible. Then you pay the $500 deductible, and your insurance company covers the remaining $1,000 balance.
The same is true if your claim is $5,000 – you pay $500, and your insurance company pays for the rest. If your claim is $400, however, the whole repair bill is your responsibility. Your insurance company isn’t responsible for paying any bills that don’t exceed your deductible. In most cases, the insurance company will write you or your mechanic a check for the claim amount minus the deductible.
After a car accident, the prospect of dealing with insurance adjusters and claim forms can be more stressful than the accident itself. Be patient and optimistic. Filing claims and waiting for decisions can be a battle of attrition, but in many cases the process is faster and smoother than you might think.
Set the stage for a successful claims process by also reading what to do after a car accident. Read on to find out more about the process and how to make it work for you.
When you’re driving your own car, you’re covered by your own auto insurance policy. But what happens when you’re a passenger? The good news is you may have coverage from more than one form of insurance carried by the driver of the car you’re riding in, another driver – or even your own insurance.
But who pays your bills is a question that doesn’t need to be answered until after you get care and medical bills arrive. So if you are injured in a car accident, it is important to seek medical care immediately. If you have health insurance, that will provide a first line of insurance coverage. But as soon as is practical, get car insurance details from all of the drivers involved in the accident, because ultimately the primary coverage for your medical care may come from a car insurance policy.
Although the term “full coverage” is commonly used by consumers, it doesn’t have an official definition. In popular jargon, the term is generally used to describe a policy that covers more than the bare minimum required by law and includes coverage for damage to your own car when the other driver's insurance won’t. Common variations include:
- A policy that includes liability, collision and comprehensive
- A policy that includes the state minimum coverage, plus any additional insurance required by the lender who financed your car
- Coverage that will take care of anything and everything in the event of a crash or incident
Without an official definition, each of these descriptions is equally valid. If you want to be “fully covered” by car insurance, the most important thing is to choose the right insurance coverage that's worth it for your own situation. To help you select the appropriate auto insurance products, we’ll walk you through the important issues you should take into consideration.
Insurance companies offer a variety of accident forgiveness programs designed to reassure safe drivers that, on the rare occasion that they do cause an accident, they won’t be penalized for it with increased premiums. Accident forgiveness can benefit insurers and customers alike.
Insurance companies benefit by retaining loyal customers who are the least likely to cause an accident. Drivers benefit from the reassurance that, if you have that rare lapse in judgment, you might be able to avoid the curse of higher rates.
Car insurance is a contractual agreement that provides financial protection for drivers in case of an accident, vehicle damage, personal injury or theft. Without car insurance, drivers would be at risk of financial ruin every time they get behind the wheel, as severe collisions can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. Plus, the top three reasons people go bankrupt are medical bills, job loss, and uninsured catastrophes — all of which can result from a car accident. With car insurance, however, every driver can spend less time worrying about paying for costly damage on their own.
Key Things to Know About How Car Insurance Works
- Car insurance pays for damage that a driver causes, and may also cover their vehicle repairs and medical bills.
- Each driver buys a policy from a car insurance company, which promises set levels of coverage in various situations.
- The most common types of car insurance coverage are liability, collision, comprehensive, personal injury protection and uninsured motorist.
- You can use car insurance by filing a claim after you’ve been in an accident. After you pay a deductible, your policy with cover the rest.
- Car insurance is required in 48 states, but specific coverage requirements and costs vary between states and drivers.
- Types of Car Insurance
- How to Use Car Insurance
- Is Car Insurance Required?
- Who Sells Car Insurance?
- How to Get Car Insurance Quotes
- Final Thoughts & Next Steps
A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) will make it harder to get car insurance and will increase premiums by 30% to 370%, depending on the state and insurance company. The best car insurance companies after a DUI are State Farm, Allstate, Progressive and Geico because they do not increase premiums as much as other insurers.
Key Points To Know About DUI Insurance
- Each insurer considers DUI convictions differently when calculating premiums.
- A DUI conviction is only one of several factors that insurers use to determine risk.
- Every state has a last-resort program to provide car insurance for drivers convicted of DUI and other serious offenses.
- Insurance rates can increase by up to 370% after a first DUI, depending on the state and insurance company.
- It is possible to rebound after a DUI, but the best thing to do is never let it happen again. Both criminal and insurance penalties are far more significant for repeat offenders.
- Average DUI Insurance Costs
- Cheapest Car Insurance After A DUI
- What To Do If You Are Denied Car Insurance
- 4 Tips For Rebounding From A DUI
Average DUI Insurance Costs?
WalletHub recently studied the impact of many high-risk driving behaviors on car insurance rates. This study compared insurance pricing from the five largest insurers for a middle-aged male driver with a full set of coverage on a 7-year-old family sedan – before and after adding in a high-risk driving issue like a DUI. You can learn more about the methodology here.
Car insurance discounts are available to nearly everyone and offered by every company in some form. Auto insurance discount can save you up to 30% or more on car insurance and include so it pays to be informed on what different insurance companies offer.
The three main types are car insurance discounts are policy discounts, driver discounts, and vehicle discounts. Policy discounts are discounts insurers offer to retain you as a customer, these can include customer loyalty or new customers discounts. Driver discounts are offered when you have demonstrated you pose a lower risk to the insurance company. Some discounts include good driver and non-drinker. Finally, car insurance companies offer vehicle discounts for safer, less risky cars. Vehicle discounts can include anti-theft and passive restraint.
The cheapest cars to insure are the Subaru Forester ($1,774 per year), Dodge Grand Caravan ($1,786), and Honda Odyssey ($1,800), according to WalletHub’s analysis of 26 popular vehicles. Of the 10 cheapest cars to insure, 3 are minivans, 3 are crossovers, 2 are SUVs, 1 is a pickup and 1 is a sedan.
Comparing cars based on expected insurance costs is important for anyone shopping for an affordable vehicle, as the difference in annual premiums between the cheapest and most expensive cars to insure could be as much as $1,500 per year. In other words, the car with the cheapest sale price might not be the cheapest overall, with all costs considered.
Collision insurance is a type of coverage that helps pay to repair or replace your car if you’re involved in an accident. State laws do not require collision insurance coverage, though auto loan and leasing companies typically do. Drivers with valuable cars should also consider purchasing collision car insurance even when it’s not required in order to protect their finances in the event of an accident.
A variety of factors influence the cost of collision coverage and whether a driver should purchase it, from their financial situation and the value of their car to their driving record and where they live. Drivers must weigh the cost and benefits to determine whether collision insurance is a good value.
The 3 biggest factors that affect car insurance rates are state coverage requirements, age, and the car’s make and model. The more coverage you’re required to buy in your state, the more you’ll pay for car insurance. As for your age, your peers’ driving tendencies can work for or against you. Vehicle type matters because insurance companies consider the safety, anti-theft, and repair-cost statistics for all cars they insure.
10 Factors That Affect Car Insurance Rates
- State Requirements
- Car Make and Model
- High-Risk Violations
- Yearly Mileage
- Credit History
- Driving Record
- Zip Code
- Marital Status
Some of the factors that affect car insurance rates are within your control, such as your credit history and whether you’ve ever been convicted of drunk driving. Other factors are at least largely out of your control, like your city’s population density and your age.