Do I need rental car insurance?

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The answer is simple: Yes. If you rent a car from Hertz, Avis, National or Budget, then yes – you do need rental car insurance. This type of insurance covers you for claims against the rental car company (i.e., liability). Rental cars are notorious for being stolen or totaled during their stay, and property damage can be included in your rental agreement as well.

Generally, If you decide to use a rental car, there are a lot of risks involved. This article will deflate some common myths and reveal some hidden truths regarding “rental car insurance”.

What is rental car insurance?

Rental car insurance protects you when you drive a rental car on your own or with another person. Rental car insurance is essential because the rental company is not responsible for your damages if an accident occurs during your trip. The term “rental car” is sometimes used as an umbrella term to refer to all vehicles rented from a business or for pleasure.

Photo by Scott Graham

It can be tempting to forego car insurance when your travel plans are set in stone, but this should never be the case. You don’t want any surprises during your vacation, or, worse, legal problems with your rental car when you return home. To avoid these unfortunate events, it is critical to have a plan in place from the start of your trip planning.

Do I need rental car insurance?

What Is the Purpose of Rental Car Insurance?

Rental car insurance protects you from damage, theft, and other losses caused by others. If you’re renting a car, make sure it has at least the same amount of coverage as your own vehicle.

The main reason for this is that rental cars are frequently used for short trips and thus have little value. Even if they have high resale values, it may not be worthwhile to insure them unless you intend to use them frequently.

If you’ve been in an accident where the other driver’s insurance will cover the damages, your rental car insurance may not pay anything at all. In fact, if the other driver does not have any insurance coverage or has inadequate coverage, then his or her own insurance company may not cover any damages either. This can leave you without a way to pay for repairs after an accident!

a man standing on the road. he has paid for rental car insurance
Photo by Jamie Street

You should also ensure that you are not held liable for damage caused by someone else while driving the car. If they were on a collision policy, they may be able to file a claim with their own insurance company.

One common misconception about rental cars is that they come with full insurance coverage, but this isn’t always the case. The standard rental agreement rarely covers more than personal injury and property damage liability, which is usually limited to $25,000 per person per incident (subject to state laws).

If you’re renting from an independent agency, then you need to check their terms and conditions carefully before handing over any cash. But if you’re hiring a car through one of the big operators, such as Hertz or Avis, then they’ll be able to provide you with the details of their own insurance policy.

But what if your rental is from a smaller firm that isn’t listed on an operator’s website? Then it can be tricky to know exactly what cover is available and which bits are mandatory – so it pays to shop around until you find something that meets your needs.

Does your personal auto insurance cover rental cars?

If you are in an accident while driving a rental car, your personal insurance policy should cover you.

However, you should double-check your policy to ensure that this is covered. Some insurers may limit coverage to liability only, which means you’ll have to pay for repairs or other costs related to the accident out of pocket.

If you discover that your personal auto insurance does not cover rental cars, you can still protect yourself from claims. You can get supplemental insurance from a specialist agent or broker, or you can use an online tool like’s Auto Coverage tool (available at or QuoteWizard (available at

How to get a rental car insurance?

Rental car insurance is an essential part of any vacation. It covers any damage to the vehicle and its contents in the event of an accident, theft, or other loss. It also protects you from the cost of repairs if your car is damaged while in your possession.

Rental car companies are required by law to provide nationwide coverage to their customers. It is up to each individual rental company, however, whether they provide coverage for their vehicles. In general, rental car companies will not provide liability insurance unless you have previously rented from them. Even then, it may not be available on all car models or makes that are available for rent.

Photo by Anders Nord

If you have a special needs vehicle such as a wheelchair accessible van or minivan, you can ask for special consideration when renting a car. You should be able to get an insurance policy with no problem if you have one of these vehicles available at the time that you need a rental car.

If you’re worried about being properly covered while driving around in someone else’s car, consider purchasing collision and comprehensive coverage from an online broker like at checkout. These policies are typically much cheaper than traditional policies purchased at the dealership or through a broker.


The answer is yes. Rental car insurance is a necessity for any traveler who rents a car. You should always have this coverage in place before you rent your vehicle.