What is rental car insurance? 

Rental car insurance is an insurance policy that provides financial protection when you rent a car. It's different from your personal car insurance because it specifically covers the rental vehicle for the duration of your rental period. 

It provides coverage against accidents, theft, or other unexpected events while you're driving the rental. 

What does rental car insurance cover? 

Rental car insurance typically provides coverage for certain risks and damages associated with renting a vehicle. 

  • Collision damage waiver (CDW) covers the cost of repairs to the rental car if it's damaged in a collision.
  • Supplement liability coverage helps cover costs if you're responsible for injuring someone or damaging their property while driving the rental car.
  • Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) provides coverage for medical expenses and accidental death benefits for you and your passengers.
  • Personal effects coverage covers the theft of your personal belongings from the rental car.

The coverage may vary across rental car companies, and there may be limitations. Before opting for rental car insurance, carefully review the terms and conditions to understand exactly what is covered. 

Do you need rental car insurance if you have car insurance?

If you already have car insurance, it may provide coverage for rental cars as well. Many personal auto insurance policies extend coverage to rental vehicles, at least for liability and collision damage. However, the extent of coverage can vary, and it's important to check with your insurer to understand the specific details.

Before renting a car, contact your insurance company to confirm whether your existing policy covers rental cars and to what extent. If your coverage is limited, you might want to consider purchasing additional rental car insurance from the rental company. 

Should you get rental car insurance? 

Whether you should get rental car insurance depends on a few factors. If you already have car insurance, check with your insurance company to see if it covers rental cars. If it does, and the coverage is sufficient for your needs, you may not need additional rental car insurance.

However, if your current insurance has limitations or if you only carry the minimum required car insurance, getting rental car insurance can be a good idea. It provides extra protection from potential damages, accidents, or theft while you're driving the rental.

Final thoughts

If you already have your personal auto insurance policy that covers rental cars adequately, you may not need to purchase rental car insurance coverage. Check with your insurer to understand the extent of your existing coverage. 

Auto insurance FAQs

Does my car insurance cover rental cars?

Whether your car insurance covers rental cars depends on the specific terms and coverage of your policy. In general, many auto insurance policies provide some level of coverage for rental cars, but the extent of coverage can vary.

What happens if you damage a rental car without insurance?

If you damage a rental car and don't have insurance, you'll likely be responsible for paying for the repairs or replacement out of your own pocket. The rental car company may charge you for the cost of fixing the damage, and it could include expenses, such as repair labor and parts.