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Does My Car Insurance Cover Rental Cars?


WRITTEN BY: Julia Matseikovich

UPDATED: JUNE 06, 2022 | 3 MIN READ

Sometimes, you have no option but to rent a car. Whether you’ve been in an accident or you’re traveling, renting a car is common. You may wonder if your car insurance covers rental cars, too.

Getting into an accident may be a rare occurrence, but the rental car company will always ask, “Do you want insurance?” Knowing your coverage ahead of time empowers you to save yourself money. Don’t get stuck paying for travel insurance you don’t need. For a general guideline of how to know whether or not your rental car accidents are covered by your insurance, keep reading this article.

What is Rental Car Insurance Coverage?

Rental car insurance is offered by the company you’re renting the car from. If you say “Yes,” when they ask if you want insurance, you’re covered by rental car insurance

Rental car insurance typically covers: 

  • Liability: This covers car damages and injuries while you’re driving the rental.
  • Loss/collision damage waiver: This releases you from responsibility for damage to the rental car.
  • Personal accident insurance: This gives you cover for any injuries to you and your passengers while driving the car.
  • Personal effects coverage: If any of your personal items are stolen from your car, this covers that.

While your personal auto insurance may cover all of these, in some cases, it’s best to get rental car insurance. 

Do I Need to Buy Rental Car Insurance From the Car Rental Company?

There are some situations when even if your car insurance covers rental cars, it’s best to buy car rental insurance from the rental car company. Situations where paying the extra cost for rental car insurance would be best include:

  • If you don’t have any auto insurance at all.
  • If you’d rather avoid putting accident claims on your auto insurance. For example, if you’ve gotten into an accident recently, another accident could bump up your rates. 
  • If you have high deductibles on your auto insurance. Rental car insurance usually has no deductibles, or they’re very low. 
  • If you have a low liability coverage limit, rental car insurance may actually offer much better coverage.
  • If you’re traveling out of the country, oftentimes your auto insurance won’t cover that rental while you travel.

Sometimes, adding the additional rental car insurance price is worth it.

How Do I Know if My Car Insurance Policy Covers Rental Cars?

For the most part, your regular car insurance policy should kick in and provide the same coverage for a rental car as it does for your own vehicle. The important thing to note is that the type of coverage — liability, collision, and comprehensive — will stay the same as what’s listed on your personal policy. If you have liability-only coverage and damage the rental car, you may be on the hook to pay for the repairs yourself.

In general, you can expect your coverage to cover you as you get behind the wheel. But if you’re not sure, contact your insurance company to see what your coverage is. If you have car insurance, then the answer is yes—generally, your normal car insurance will cover any damage or injuries you cause while driving a rental car. But that’s not always the case.

Every auto policy is different

Knowing what your coverage is before renting a car gives you peace of mind. Every auto insurance policy is different. Yours might be just as good as rental car insurance, therefore buying that extra insurance is just a waste of money.

If you have any questions, it’s best to clarify them with your provider before making any rental plans. 

Rental Car Insurance FAQs

Will my car insurance cover my rental car?

Usually, your car insurance will cover your rental car. However, every auto policy is different, so make sure you contact your insurance provider to make sure. If you’re buying insurance, ask the agent what your rental coverage is.

Will my credit card insure my rental car?

If you’re using your credit card to pay for the rental car, there’s a possibility that your credit card company provides rental insurance. Check in with your banking provider to see if you’re covered through them.

Some credit cards offer primary auto coverage, which means you don’t have to file a claim on your auto insurance. That means you won’t suffer from higher premiums after the accident. With secondary insurance, you still have to file with your auto insurance company. 

What happens if I wreck my rental car and don’t have rental car insurance?

If you wreck your rental car and didn’t buy the rental car insurance, typically your own auto insurance will kick in and cover damages from the accident. If you have no auto insurance, then you may be financially responsible for the damages if the accident was found to be your fault.

How much are average rental car insurance rates?

Rental car insurance varies depending on what type of vehicle you’re renting, and what location you’re renting in. Generally, rental car insurance rates range from $31 to $60 per day.

Does my insurance cover rental cars for repairs?

When your car is in the shop, you typically have to rent a car to continue day-to-day activities. To have your insurance cover rental cars for repairs, you can opt to receive rental car reimbursement from your company. This is additional, optional coverage that helps you pay for rental cars after your accident.

Rental Car Insurance: The Bottom Line

Knowing what your coverage is before renting a car gives you peace of mind. Every auto insurance policy is different. Yours might be just as good as rental car insurance, therefore buying that extra insurance is just a waste of money. If you have any questions, it’s best to clarify them with your provider before making any rental plans. 

If you’re looking for a change in your auto insurance, you have options. It’s always best to compare auto insurance quotes. Then, figure out what your rental insurance needs are, and you’ll know the best way to navigate renting a car.

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