Do You Need Car Rental Insurance

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Navigating the intricacies of car rental insurance can often feel like deciphering a foreign language. But, with the right insights and a reader-centric approach, we aim to make this topic understandable and relevant for you. Dive in with us as we simplify the maze and empower you with the knowledge you need to make confident decisions regarding your rental car coverage.

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Understanding the Basics

Before diving in, let’s get acquainted with some foundational concepts.

What is Rental Car Insurance?

Rental car insurance provides coverage when you’re driving a rental vehicle. It can either be primary insurance, covering you before any other policy kicks in, or secondary, stepping in after other policies have been exhausted.

Example: After a minor fender bender in a rental, John’s primary rental car insurance covered the repairs immediately, while Jane, with her secondary insurance, tapped into her personal auto policy first.

Do I Really Need Rental Car Insurance?

Your Own Auto Insurance Policy

If you have your own car insurance, it often extends to cover rental cars. Your personal car insurance policy may include collision, comprehensive, or liability coverage for rental vehicles too.

Example: Maria’s personal auto insurance already had comprehensive collision coverage, which she found covered her rental after a tree branch fell on it.

Credit Card Company Benefits

Some credit cards offer rental car coverage as a perk. Before renting, it’s wise to check with your credit card company. Remember, this is usually secondary coverage.

Example: When Alex scratched his rental, he recalled his credit card benefits, which fortunately had collision coverage for rentals.

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Exploring Types of Coverage

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)

This isn’t traditional insurance but a promise from the rental company to waive any costs from damages to the rental vehicle.

Example: Despite heavy winds causing damage to his rental, Sam’s CDW ensured he paid nothing extra.

Liability Coverage

This offers protection if you harm someone or their property while driving the rental car. Many rental agencies offer minimal liability coverage, but it’s often advisable to have more.

Example: Sara accidentally rear-ended someone. Her liability coverage took care of the other party’s medical bills and car repairs.

Personal Accident Insurance

This covers medical expenses for you and your passengers if injured in the rental.

Example: After an unfortunate accident, Mike’s personal accident insurance helped cover hospital bills.

Personal Effects Coverage

It covers personal belongings stolen from or damaged in the rental car, but before purchasing, see if your home or renters insurance provides similar coverage.

Example: Lucy’s camera was stolen from her rental, but her personal effects coverage reimbursed her.

When to Buy Rental Car Insurance

Assessing Your Existing Coverage

If your personal auto insurance, health insurance, or credit card benefits don’t provide adequate protection, consider buying rental car insurance.

Example: Jane, without any personal auto policy, bought insurance from the rental car counter for peace of mind.

International Travel Considerations

Outside your home country, your personal policy might not extend its benefits. Always check before assuming.

Example: Traveling to Spain, Robert realized his U.S. car insurance didn’t cover international rentals, prompting him to buy insurance from the car rental agency.

Auto Rental Insurance

Tips for Making an Informed Decision

Read the Rental Agreement

Always read the car rental agreement to know your responsibilities and understand the coverage limits.

Example: By reading the fine print, Tom discovered he’d be liable for ‘loss of use’ charges and opted for additional coverage.

Shop Around

Don’t just settle for the rental company’s coverage. Sometimes, standalone policies from car insurance companies might offer better rates and coverage.

Example: Instead of the rental company’s high rates, Amy found a better deal with her own car insurance company for rental coverage.

The Intersection of Travel Insurance and Car Rental Insurance

Travel insurance primarily focuses on the broader spectrum of your travel needs, such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, or lost baggage. But, did you know that some travel insurance policies also touch upon car rental scenarios?

Rental Car Coverage in Travel Insurance

Many comprehensive travel insurance plans offer rental car collision damage coverage as an add-on or even as a standard feature. This coverage usually comes in the form of a collision damage waiver.

Example: Nathan had purchased travel insurance for his Disney World escapade. To his pleasant surprise, it also included a waiver for collision damages to his rental car in Florida.

Limitations and Exclusions

While travel insurance can provide some level of rental car coverage, it’s essential to be aware of its limitations. Often, this coverage is secondary, meaning it’ll come into play after other primary insurance sources have been exhausted. Moreover, there might be restrictions based on the type of vehicle, country, or duration of rental.

Example: While Claire’s travel insurance did offer rental car coverage, it excluded luxury vehicles. On her trip to New York, she had to ensure her rented Ferrari had its own separate insurance.

Assessing the Need

If your travel insurance offers rental car coverage, evaluate its depth. Sometimes, it might be enough, and other times you may need to combine it with other insurance for complete peace of mind.

Example: On his trip to New Mexico, Raj found that his travel insurance covered only minor collision damages for rentals. To be on the safe side, he opted for additional coverage from the car rental agency.

Next Steps

Navigating the world of rental car insurance can seem daunting, but when equipped with the right knowledge, it becomes manageable. Whether you’re considering additional coverage or relying on your own auto insurance or credit card benefits, always stay informed and make decisions that best suit your needs. Here’s to confident, informed, and safe travels!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is rental car insurance mandatory in Florida?

Although rental car insurance is not mandatory in Florida, it’s highly recommended to ensure your safety if you’re involved in an accident or have a theft occur while renting a car. Fortunately, the rental company and vehicle insurer can purchase this coverage for you.

How much is car rental insurance in Florida?

In the Sunshine State of Florida, renting a car can be expensive – ranging from approximately $46 to $57 per day. But you don’t have to shell out that much money if you opt for cheaper coverage!

Are rental car companies liable for accidents in Florida?

More often than not, an insurance company will be the one to cover the costs of any damages incurred in a rental car accident. However, there is one exception; if the rental company was careless regarding keeping up with their vehicle maintenance and carelessness led to the incident, they would be held accountable for any resulting losses.

Does my auto insurance cover rental cars near Florida?

Car rental is typically handled when your automobile policy includes comprehensive collision coverage. Be aware that the deductible on your auto insurance will be applied if the rented vehicle is damaged or lost in an accident.

Who pays for a rental car after an accident in Florida?

Usually, a car can take up to two weeks in the auto body shop for repair work. But if you’re located in Florida, and your vehicle is damaged due to someone else’s fault, you need not worry! The at-fault driver’s auto insurance will cover the cost of renting a replacement while yours gets fixed – so no more spending extra bucks on transport costs!

Does travel insurance cover car rental cancellation?

Travel insurance varies depending on the plan and purchase date. Still, it could also cover damages to a rental car, pre-existing conditions, or even canceling a trip for any reason.

What is the best car rental insurance?

Allianz, IMG, and GeoBlue offer the best car rental insurance.

Does my car insurance cover travel?

If you have car insurance in the United States, don’t worry about it being valid when traveling to another state. Your policy will cover your journey no matter how long or where it is.

*Disclosure: Some of the links in this guide may be affiliate links. I may receive a commission at no cost to you if you purchase a policy. It helps us keep the lights on!

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

The Annuity Expert is an online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. My goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning or find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates for you. 

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