Does AAA cover rental cars?

AAA covers rental cars if you have AAA auto insurance, but not with membership alone. You may have some coverage for a rental car with AAA if you have the AAA credit card as long as you book the car using that card. Make sure to verify your AAA rental car coverage benefits before you book.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Jan 12, 2022

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What You Should Know

  • As long as your rental car is for personal use, your rental car will be covered by AAA
  • If you have a AAA credit card and AAA insurance, AAA will cover your rental for any damages
  • AAA has a partnership with Hertz where you can save up to 20% on domestic trips or 25% on international trips

Whether you’re renting a car on vacation or while your car is in the shop, as you pick up a pen to sign your rental company’s paperwork, you may wonder if it’s worth it to purchase coverage through that car rental company when you already have AAA. Does AAA cover rental cars?

Rental car companies typically offer a loss damage waiver as coverage in an accident. If you buy it without knowing whether your auto insurance policy covers rentals, you may end up paying double for the same coverage.

Having AAA auto insurance offers many benefits, including coverage for rental cars. Your coverage with AAA depends on whether you have just an AAA membership or whether AAA is your insurance company. 

The good news is that your AAA auto coverage will extend to your rental car, if you have insurance with the company. But depending on your policy, your rental car still might not be fully covered. 

If you’re interested in learning more about renting cars under AAA, then let’s dive in. Before we start, enter your ZIP code to compare insurance rates from top companies.

Rental Car Coverage With AAA

With AAA auto insurance, your rental car will be covered like your personal car. As long as the rental is for personal use, your current policy will cover it.

Unsure what you’re covered for, exactly? 

A basic policy may include the following:

  • Liability Coverage pays for accident expenses when you’re liable (or at fault) in the situation. That includes the other party’s repairs, medical bills, property damage, or other expenses. This coverage is mandatory in most states.
  • Personal Injury Protection protects you in case of an accident. It will pay for your medical bills, injuries, and even lost wages because of an accident. 
  • Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage protects you if the person who caused the accident is underinsured or uninsured. This coverage will pay for your medical bills and property damage.

Make sure to review your current policy to see what’s covered. For example, having only liability coverage means that you would have to pay to repair the rental if it gets damaged.  

It’s important to know that a AAA membership alone does not provide any sort of insurance coverage. AAA membership provides roadside assistance and other benefits. You have to be a member to get AAA insurance.

AAA Membership Levels

Being a AAA member makes you eligible for exclusive benefits, like their auto insurance coverage. It’s important to know that for AAA to offer you insurance, you have to first pay for the membership. There are three levels of membership that range in cost from $60 to $100. These levels include: 

  • Classic Membership – Classic membership offers standard benefits, such as roadside assistance, discounts, and AAA auto insurance.
  • AAA Plus Membership – This option includes standard benefits, as well as added bonuses, like 100 miles of towing instead of their standard 5 miles.
  • AAA Premier Membership – The highest level includes standard benefits, as well as extra advantages, such as 24/7 roadside assistance with direct access to personal concierge service even if you’re 100 miles away from home.

Membership alone doesn’t provide you with any insurance coverage.

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AAA Visa Signature Credit Card Benefits

Instead of paying for a rental company’s loss damage waiver, gain added coverage through your credit cards. With AAA auto insurance, you also have access to a complimentary AAA Visa Signature credit card. When you pay for your rental with your card, it will provide supplementary collision coverage. 

So, if you got into an accident in the rental vehicle, this bonus coverage would pay for any damages up to the average rental’s cash value. Together with your regular insurance coverage, your rental could be fully protected using just your AAA benefits. 

Credit Card Coverage Benefits

Before you look for ways to rent a car without a credit card, just know that it has many benefits. Charging your car rental to your credit card can provide some coverage for damages. With the AAA credit card specifically, you receive all of the below benefits for no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, plus the advantages of contactless payment. 

Extra AAA Visa credit card benefits include:

  • Increased earnings and points for travel expenses
  • Secondary and sometimes primary insurance
  • Discounted prices on car rentals
  • Opportunities to upgrade your car

Make sure you read the fine print for all of your credit card benefits.

Why Choose AAA Over Car Rental Insurance

When car rental companies offer their loss damage waiver, it may seem like your safest option. With this waiver, if you return the rental damaged, the company won’t charge you for it. However, if you have AAA insurance and a AAA credit card, you may not need to rely on the rental company. Instead, AAA will cover your rental for any damages.

Plus, there are a few other downsides to relying on a rental company’s loss damage waivers:

  • The price for a loss damage waiver can cost anywhere from $10 to $30 per day, which can quickly add up for long trips.
  • It doesn’t cover medical bills, theft, negligence, damage to other people’s property, or damage from speeding. 
  • You may have more coverage from your personal auto insurance policy and your credit card.

So, do you need a waiver? Not with AAA. You would be better covered with your AAA insurance and credit card than with this waiver. 

When to Choose Rental Car Insurance

While you are fully covered with car rentals under AAA, in some cases, you may choose to pay for the waiver instead. 

Here are a few reasons why it may make more sense to pay for the rental car insurance:

  • If you’re driving outside of the US into Mexico where your insurance will no longer apply
  • If your insurance applies to a commercial car
  • If you don’t want to risk filing a claim and raising your rates

Coverage for Long-Distance Travel

Wondering if AAA will still cover you when traveling out of the state? 

If you’re planning to travel across state borders, then you’ll still be covered under AAA. Yet, depending on the rental company you use, there may be some unique restrictions for out-of-state traveling. It’s important to contact your rental company or review your rental agreement to make sure you won’t be breaking any rules. 

When dealing with rental car companies, there are a few common rules to keep in mind:

  • If you rent a car in Hawaii, it has to stay on the island.
  • If you rent a car in Alaska, most rental companies require you to stay in Alaska. 

Be sure to check on the rules in any state you are visiting.

Traveling in Other Countries

What about traveling out of the country? There are a few more considerations to take into account. 

  • AAA may require you to buy added travel coverage if you’re traveling internationally. 
  • If you’re traveling to Canada, you’ll still be covered under AAA and access all your member benefits and services.
  • Driving your rental into Mexico will require specific Mexican Automobile Liability Insurance, as your U.S. auto insurance won’t be valid.

If you’re thinking about traveling overseas and renting a car, the rules and restrictions may be a bit different from the United States. AAA offers a list of various services and benefits available to members who are traveling overseas. 

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Rental Car Discounts with AAA

Are you wondering how to get discounts on car rentals? Another benefit of being an AAA member is access to exclusive offers and promotions, such as discounts on car rentals. AAA’s partnership with Hertz includes advantages such as:

  • Savings of up to 20% on domestic trips or 25% on international trips when renting from Hertz
  • Booster seats for children, infants, or toddlers
  • No young renter fee for members under 25
  • No charge for any additional drivers that meet rental qualifications and are also AAA members

Along with that, you’ll be able to make advanced rental reservations at any rental company in the country.

Coverage for the Whole Family

Want to guarantee your family members are protected when driving a rental? A AAA membership allows you to add anyone in your family. Everyone from a parent to a spouse is eligible to join your AAA membership. 

Your membership also covers children who are away at school, even if they don’t have a car. They’ll still have access to all the same benefits, from roadside assistance to rental car coverage.

The price will depend on your membership level, but you’re not limited in who you can add. 

How to Handle Accidents in a Rental Car With AAA

Getting into an accident is a renter’s biggest concern. But an added bonus of AAA membership is that your benefits will extend to your rental as well. So, you’re covered for insurance and roadside assistance even if you’re driving a rental or you’re the passenger in a rental car.

But what should you do if you do get into an accident? Let’s walk through your next few steps:

  1. Take pictures and document every aspect of the car, even the undamaged parts, from far away and up close.
  2. Contact the car rental company. They can help you with repairs and getting a replacement rental. 
  3. Contact your insurance company to begin the claim filing process. Then, contact your credit card company if they provide coverage, too. 

Afterward, if you need a ride home, you can receive a free ride through the AAA tow truck. 

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Does AAA cover rental cars? The Bottom Line

With the right auto insurance policy, you can stay fully protected even when you’re driving a rental car. And when you know what you’re covered for, you won’t have to pay more than you have to for car rental coverage. Fortunately, if you have AAA car insurance, you have coverage when you rent a car.

You can get help finding the cheapest car rental company with AAA discounts if you’re a member. However, to have insurance on your rental car, you will need a AAA auto insurance policy.

Now that you know how AAA covers rental cars, you should take a moment to compare car insurance rates. Enter your ZIP code to see free car insurance quotes from companies near you.

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