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Rental car insurance explained
March 31, 2021

Rental car insurance explained

Rental car insurance is definitely one of the least fun and most complicated parts of renting a car. Do you even need rental car insurance? What does rental car insurance even cover? Does your personal insurance policy cover you at all? These are all great questions we’ll answer while making rental car insurance a bit easier to understand. 

Do this before getting rental car insurance

  1. Check your personal auto policy (if you have one)–some car insurance policies cover you while you’re renting a car. You should be able to read a copy of your policy or contact your car insurance provider or a licensed agent to check.
  2. Check with your credit card provider– it sounds odd, but many credit cards provide a basic amount of car rental insurance as part of their rewards. This is especially true with travel-based rewards cards

‍Traditional car rental insurance explained

Whether you’re booking online or at the rental car counter about to grab the keys, you’re going to have options for rental car insurance. They’re usually broken up into three or four separate plans with varying degrees of coverage and pricing including:

Loss damage waiver or collision damage waiver

Covers any damage due to a wreck, stolen parts, or a stolen car.

Do you need it? If your own policy has collision and comprehensive coverage it might extend to a rental car in most states (note – you will still have to pay for your deductible). You should contact your insurance provider or a licensed agent to confirm. Additionally, premium credit cards (I.e. gold and platinum cards) may provide this coverage. If you don’t have collision and comprehensive coverage and opt-out of the loss damage waiver, you are responsible for any damage.

Liability coverage

Covers damage to other people or vehicles affected by an accident.

Do you need it? Your personal auto policy will have at least your state’s minimum required liability coverage and that may extend to your rental car. You should contact your insurance provider or a licensed agent to confirm..  

Heads up– this supplemental liability coverage from rental companies can cover significantly more than personal auto policies do. If you think you might need more coverage for your rental than you normally would for your own car, consider adding on liability coverage.

If you don’t have a personal auto policy, you might want to consider getting rental car insurance in the form of liability coverage.

You should consult with a licensed insurance agent to determine what coverage is appropriate to meet your needs.

Personal effects coverage

Protects any personal items stolen from the car.  

Do you need it? If you have a homeowner's policy, you might be covered in the event that a personal item gets stolen from the car. Consider this form of rental car insurance if you are worried about keeping high value items like jewelry or electronics in your car.

Personal accident insurance

Protects you & other passengers in the car if you are affected by an accident.  

Do you need it? Your health, life, or auto insurance policies could cover these damages. Contact your insurance provider to confirm.  

If coverage applies, for both personal effects coverage and personal accident insurance, your policy will pay first until the limit has been reached at which time Avail’s insurance coverage will pay the remainder. 

people discussing over laptop

Let's talk pricing

Rental car insurance coverage is usually priced at an additional daily rate. More coverage means more money. It’s best to check your personal auto policy, call your insurance agent, or look at your credit card benefits before purchasing any insurance on rental cars.  

What about insurance for car sharing?

Car sharing insurance works just a little differently than traditional rental car insurance and you should not assume that if any of your existing policies cover traditional rentals they also cover carsharing rentals. Still, it depends on the company. Turo drivers are not required to buy insurance. Instead, plans are available and are priced as a percentage of your total trip price. Other companies, like Zipcar and Getaround include insurance, but not from large insurers like Allstate. Zipcar members are also responsible for the first $1,000 of any accident where they’re at fault. That’s a pretty hefty price to pay in case of the unexpected.

toy cars on contract

Avail: We protect your trip with insurance coverage from Allstate

Every trip with Avail is protected by insurance from Allstate. Coverage means protection for the car, other passengers, and yourself in case of an accident. For borrowers, this coverage is excess over any other insurance that may exist.* We also provide 24/7 support and roadside assistance for those extra-large bumps in the road.

If damage is found on your vehicle after a trip you will be responsible for a $500 damage fee regardless of fault. If another insurance policy (e.g. your personal auto or credit card policies) pays to repair the damage, then they may have different deductibles that apply. For questions about whether your personal auto policy or credit card policy may apply, please contact your insurance provider or a licensed insurance agent.

The bottom line

When it comes to rental car insurance, Avail never makes you choose between the best deal and being protected. That eliminates so much guesswork and worrying about ‘what-ifs’. Even better, your trip is protected by insurance from  one of the most trusted names, Allstate. Happy sharing!

Want the nitty gritty insurance details? Learn more about car sharing insurance.

*Additional fees may apply.