Generally speaking, you won’t be asked to show proof of insurance to rent a car, but you’d be wise to have some level of protection for your trip. Even if you are an experienced driver, those with whom you share the open road might not be.
The unexpected happens, and it usually happens without warning. Besides, car accidents are not the only thing you need to worry about when renting a car. Your rental car (and personal belongings) can get stolen or vandalized. And though it may be through no fault of your own, the rental company will still hold you financially responsible for any loss or damage. So, why risk ruining a perfect weekend getaway or a long-awaited visit with family and friends? Protecting your trip with insurance is easy and it doesn’t have to cost much, either.
What follows is an outline of car rental insurance options, as well as a practical and inexpensive solution that makes getting protection for your rental car trip a breeze.
Do you need insurance to rent a car?
You don’t need a personal auto policy to rent a car. There are several ways to get insurance for your car rental, either through your personal policy, the rental company, credit card benefits or standalone rental car insurance. So instead of asking whether you can rent a car without insurance, we are going to help you answer a more practical question: What’s the best and most cost-effective way I can safeguard my trip against possible theft or damage?
Your personal car insurance
First, you’ll have to review your policy, checking for limits, exclusions and requirements, to see if the coverage on your personal vehicle extends to a rental. As long as you are not renting for business purposes, you should be able to use your personal policy to cover your trip. Should you have an accident, you will likely have to pay a deductible, and your monthly premium may go up.
Rental car insurance
You can purchase temporary insurance through the car rental company, choosing the level of coverage you want during your rental period. Basic coverage includes waivers that release you from any financial responsibility if the rental vehicle sustains damage or is stolen. You can opt for broader protection (we’ll review those add-ons in the next section) that covers other passengers and yourself in case of an accident. The more comprehensive the policy, the more expensive your daily rate. However, some rental companies, like Avail car sharing, for example, take the guesswork out of car rental insurance by already including broad protection in the daily rental rate.
Credit card benefits
Credit cards can offer wonderful perks, and car rental insurance is one of them. Most offer drivers a loss damage waiver (LDW) or collision damage waiver (CDW) that covers damage to or theft of the rental car, and nothing else.
Non-owner insurance or stand-alone rental car insurance
For frequent renters, it might make sense to look into non-owner insurance. You can purchase a policy from a number of insurance companies which, in the long run, will likely save you money.
Rental car insurance options
Rental companies provide drivers with a wide range of coverage options for their trip. These are the most common ones:
Loss damage waiver (LDW) or collision damage waiver (CDW)
The waiver is not actual insurance; instead, it releases you from any financial responsibility should your rental car be stolen or damaged.
Supplemental liability protection
If you cause an accident in your rental, this protection provides coverage for the resulting damages to other vehicles or property and/or bodily injuries to the driver and passengers. It also helps cover the cost of any possible lawsuits.
Personal accident protection
A car accident often means a trip to the ER, as well as subsequent medical visits for you and your passengers. Adding this protection to your rental car insurance will cover the cost of any medical bills.
Personal effects coverage
Say your car was stolen with all of your, and the other passengers’, personal belongings inside. This protection will cover the items’ estimated replacement value.
Travel worry-free by choosing Avail
Knowing your car rental trip is protected is reassuring, allowing you to relax and enjoy the ride. And safeguarding your trip doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. When you borrow a car with Avail, you don’t have to wonder whether you need insurance to rent a car. Every trip offers Allstate insurance protection. Along with our affordable daily rates, 24/7 roadside assistance is available for those moments when the road gets a little bumpy. Avail also covers the cost to repair damage done to the Avail vehicle over $3,000, which can come in handy if there is severe damage! If you’re not comfortable with paying up to $3,000, you can select an alternative protection plan for an additional charge and limit your potential out-of-pocket cost to either $1,000 or $500. This protection is not insurance and only covers damage done to the Avail car.