Rental car insurance can be one of the most tedious and complicated parts of renting a car. As you’re looking at the options, you may be wondering what rental car insurance actually covers, whether your personal insurance policy provides coverage and if you really need to get rental car insurance at all. These are all great things to consider, and we’ll aim to answer these questions while making rental car insurance a bit easier to understand.
Before you get car insurance for a rental
To help determine what coverage you may already have, start by checking these two policies:
- Your personal auto insurance
Some car insurance policies cover you while you’re renting a car. If you have insurance, you should be able to read a copy of your policy or contact your car insurance provider or a licensed agent to check.
- Your credit card provider
Many credit cards, especially travel-based rewards credit cards, offer a basic level of car rental insurance as part of their cardholder benefits. Check your credit card company’s website or reference your cardholder policy to learn more about their specific policies.
How does rental insurance work?
Whether you’re booking online or at a physical rental car counter, you’ll likely be presented with a few different rental car insurance options to consider. They’re usually broken up into three or four separate plans with varying degrees of coverage and pricing, including:
1. Loss damage waiver or collision damage waiver
What it covers: Damage due to a wreck, stolen parts or a stolen car
If your own policy has collision and comprehensive coverage, it might extend to a rental car (note: you will still have to pay your deductible), but you should contact your insurance provider or a licensed agent to confirm. Premium credit cards (e.g. gold and platinum cards) may provide this coverage as well. If you don’t have collision and comprehensive coverage and opt out of the loss damage waiver, you might be responsible for any damage.
2. Liability coverage
What it covers: Damage to other people or property as a result of an accident
Your personal auto policy will have at least your state’s minimum required liability coverage, and it may extend to your rental car as well. You should contact your insurance provider or a licensed agent to confirm.
Heads up: 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 car than you have 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. Before your trip, it’s a good idea to consult with a licensed insurance agent to determine what coverage is appropriate to meet your needs.
3. Personal effects coverage
What it covers: Any personal items stolen from the car
If you have a homeowner’s insurance policy, you might be covered in the event that a personal item gets stolen from your car. You should consult with a licensed agent to determine if this coverage extends to car rentals. Consider this form of rental car insurance if you are worried about keeping high-value items, like jewelry or electronics, in your car.
4. Personal accident insurance
What it covers: You and other passengers in the car if you are affected by an accident
Your health, life or personal auto insurance policies could cover these costs. Contact your insurance provider to confirm.
How much does a car rental with insurance cost?
Rental car insurance coverage is usually priced as an additional daily rate. The more coverage you choose, the more you’ll pay per day. 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 a little differently than traditional rental car insurance. If any of your existing policies cover traditional car rentals, you shouldn’t just assume that car sharing rentals will also be covered. 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.
Avail protects your trip with insurance coverage from Allstate
Every trip with Avail car sharing is protected by insurance from Allstate. Coverage means protection for the car or damages to other people and property in the event of an accident. For borrowers, this coverage is excess over any other insurance that may exist.* Avail also offers 24/7 roadside assistance for those extra-large bumps in the road.
Here’s how coverage works with Avail in the event of an accident: If damage is found on your vehicle after a trip, Avail’s standard protection plan limits your out-of-pocket expenses to a maximum of $3,000. This can be handy in the event of severe damage! If you’re not comfortable with paying up to $3,000 in repair costs, you’ll have options. At checkout, 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. For questions about whether your personal auto policy or credit card policy may apply, contact your insurance provider or a licensed insurance agent.
The bottom line
When it comes to whether to purchase rental car insurance, you’ll need to do a little research first to see what coverage you already have that may apply to your booking. You can always purchase coverage if you don’t have any or want more peace of mind. Avail offers the right options to fit your protection needs and budget. 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.