You would think that renting a car would be pretty simple. Maybe it is, but the topic of insuring a rental car is actually pretty confusing. Some people may be able to choose from a variety of options, but are not clear exactly what option covers which type of hazard. Others may have a very simple decision to make, but they may not even know it.

Insuring A Rental Car

The two main concerns you will have are these:

Damages to the car you rent, yourself, and your passengers

Damages to other people, cars or property

You probably have questions about your coverage options. These include your own car’s policy, waivers you can purchase at the rental counter, non-owner policies, and credit card benefits.

Do you already own a car with full coverage? If so, your coverage is probably already handled. Just call your agent or company to be sure that your policy covers rented vehicle. In many cases, the answer will be yes. If so, your rented car will be covered the same way that our own car is covered.

Be aware that your policy deductible will still apply though. If you wreck the rented car, you will be responsible for that out of pocket cost just like you would be if you wrecked your own car. You may, or may not, decide to extend that coverage with the type of waiver you can purchase at the car rental company.

What is the rental car company policy or waiver for? Most of the time, the agent at the car rental counter will attempt to sell you an additional waiver. The basic plan usually covers damage to your rental vehicle. If you only carry liability insurance on your own car, this can provide you with additional protection in cased the rented car gets damaged. If you do not purchase this extra coverage, and you do only have liability insurance on your own car, you will still be liable for damages.

What if you want to rent a car, but you do not own a car, and do not have auto insurance? This can be a stickier problem. You still need liability insurance to be a legal driver in every US state Beyond that, you are still responsible for damages to the rented vehicle.

Some rental companies may sell an additional liability waiver. If you frequently rent, a non-owner car insurance policy may be sensible.

What about rental insurance from credit card companies? You must be sure you know what these benefits really cover. In most cases, this coverage is similar to the basic rental company waiver. It may only cover damaged to the rented car, and it does not cover liability.

If you already have full coverage on your own car, and it extends to rented vehicles, your choices are pretty simple. If you do not own a car, making sure you are covered is a little more complicated. It is your responsibility to be sure you are covered and financially responsible for a rented vehicle.

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