Do I need Insurance to Rent a Car?

When renting a car, you need insurance. If you have adequate insurance on your own car, including collision and comprehensive, this may be enough.

Before you rent a car:

  • Contact your insurance company
    Find out how much coverage you have on your own car. In most cases, the coverage and deductibles you have on your personal auto policy would apply to a rental car, providing it’s used for pleasure and not business. If you don’t have comprehensive and collision coverage on your own car, you will not be covered if your rental car is stolen or if it is damaged in an accident.
  • Call your credit card company
    Find out what insurance your card provides. Levels of coverage vary.
    If you don’t have auto insurance, you will need to buy coverage at the car rental counter. The following coverages are available to you at the rental car counter:
  • Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)
    Sometimes called a Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), this coverage relieves you of financial responsibility if your rental car is damaged or stolen. The CDW may be void, however, if you cause an accident by speeding, driving on unpaved roads or driving while intoxicated. This coverage generally costs between $9 and $19 a day. If you have comprehensive and collision on your own car, you may not need to purchase this coverage. (Note: In New York, collision damage is already included in the rental price and rental car companies are not permitted by law to charge extra for the CDW. New York also restricts the liability of drivers to $100.)
  • Liability Insurance
    This provides excess liability coverage of up to $1 million for the time you rent a car. Rental companies are required by law to provide the minimum level of liability insurance required by your state. Generally, this does not offer enough protection in a serious accident. If you have adequate liability coverage on your car or an umbrella policy on your home/auto, you may consider forgoing this additional insurance. It generally costs about $7 to $9 a day. If you don’t own a car, and rent cars often, consider purchasing a non-owner liability policy. This costs approximately $200 – $300 per year. Frequent car renters sometimes find this more cost-effective than constantly paying for the extra liability coverage.
  • Personal Accident Insurance
    This provides coverage to you and your passengers for medical/ambulance bills. This type of insurance, usually costs about $3 per day, but may be unnecessary if you are covered by health insurance or have adequate medical coverage under your auto policy.
  • Personal Effects Coverage
    This provides coverage for the theft of personal items in your car. However, if you have homeowners or renters insurance, you may be covered for items stolen from the car, minus your deductible. You need to have receipts or other proof of ownership. This type of insurance usually costs about $1.25 per day.

Some rental car companies combine personal accident and personal effects coverage together as one type of insurance, while others sell it individually.

The cost of insurance at the rental car counter will vary depending on the rental car company, state, and location of the dealer and the type of car you rent.

Some rental car companies may check your credit and driving history and may deny coverage. Check with the rental car company to find out its policy.

Did you know: If you’re renting a car abroad, you may need an international drivers license.

Red Cars More Expenssive to Insure?

Color of your car is not a even used to calculate automobile insurance rates. Insurance Companies do not even ask about color of your vehicle when you request a quote. Factors that do matter are the year, make, model, body type, engine size and age of your car, as well as drivers on your policy.

What is in a Basic Auto Insurance Policy?

Your auto policy may include six coverages. Each coverage is priced separately.


Bodily Injury Liability

  • This coverage applies to injuries you, the designated driver or policyholder cause to someone else. You and family members listed on the policy are also covered when driving someone else’s car with their permission. It’s very important to have enough liability insurance, because if you are involved in a serious accident, you may be sued for a large sum of money. Definitely consider buying more than the state-required minimum to protect assets such as your home and savings.

Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

  • This coverage pays for the treatment of injuries to the driver and passengers of the policyholder’s car. At its broadest, PIP can cover medical payments, lost wages and the cost of replacing services normally performed by someone injured in an auto accident. It may also cover funeral costs.

Property Damage Liability

  • This coverage pays for damage you (or someone driving the car with your permission) may cause to someone else’s property. Usually, this means damage to someone else’s car, but it also includes damage to lamp posts, telephone poles, fences, buildings or other structures your car hit.

Collision

  • This coverage pays for damage to your car resulting from a collision with another car, object or as a result of flipping over. It also covers damage caused by potholes. Collision coverage is generally sold with a deductible of $250 to $1,000—the higher your deductible, the lower your premium. Even if you are at fault for the accident, your collision coverage will reimburse you for the costs of repairing your car, minus the deductible. If you’re not at fault, your insurance company may try to recover the amount they paid you from the other driver’s insurance company. If they are successful, you’ll also be reimbursed for the deductible.

Comprehensive

  • This coverage reimburses you for loss due to theft or damage caused by something other than a collision with another car or object, such as fire, falling objects, missiles, explosion, earthquake, windstorm, hail, flood, vandalism, riot, or contact with animals such as birds or deer. Comprehensive insurance is usually sold with a $100 to $300 deductible, though you may want to opt for a higher deductible as a way of lowering your premium.Comprehensive insurance will also reimburse you if your windshield is cracked or shattered. Some companies offer glass coverage with or without a deductible. States do not require that you purchase collision or comprehensive coverage, but if you have a car loan, your lender may insist you carry it until your loan is paid off.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

  • This coverage will reimburse you, a member of your family, or a designated driver if one of you is hit by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver. Underinsured motorist coverage comes into play when an at-fault driver has insufficient insurance to pay for your total loss. This coverage will also protect you if you are hit as a pedestrian.