Rental Car Insurance

Renting a car is often times a needed expense when you go traveling. The cost of renting a car is usually relatively inexpensive. Insurance coverage for your rental, on the other hand, is usually where the rental companies profit. Continue reading below to find out if you actually need rental car insurance, who you should buy it from, if your credit card company offers it, and also where to get rental car insurance quotes.

auto insurance for rental cars

Do You Need Rental Car Insurance When You Rent-A-Car?

Whether you’re traveling on business or simply for recreation, the question of “Do I need rental car insurance?” is likely to arise. Or at least it should. After all, you don’t want to be hit with a 5-figure or 6-figure bill just because you crash your rental car and cause tons of monetary damage.

It’s a common misconception that all auto insurance policies and packages include rental coverage. Although some insurance policies will cover rental car insurance, not all of them include it, at least not without a hefty addition to your premium. Even if some rental car coverage is included with your regular car insurance policy, the terms of your rental coverage aren’t as easy to grasp as your standard collision and comprehensive coverage terms.

Should You Get Insurance From The Rental Company Or The Insurance Company?

Rental Car Insurance

When you rent a car, you should always think about whether or not you need to purchase rental car insurance coverage.

Any reputable car rental company will, if not include insurance as part of the rental agreement, at least offer you the option to add insurance coverage when you rent from them. Usually, this additional insurance coverage will run anywhere from an extra $10 per day to an extra $100 per day. If you plan on skipping out on this insurance in order to save a few bucks, you better make sure that your existing auto insurance policy covers you, or you already have insurance from some other source (your credit card company, etc.)

A surefire way to find out if you have rental coverage from your current car insurance company (assuming you own a car and have valid insurance) is to give your car insurance provider a call and ask. If you don’t have this additional coverage option, your car insurance company will give you the option to add this coverage type to your policy (increasing your premium), or they will give you a rental car insurance quote for the vehicle you are about to rent.

Say, for example, that your auto insurance policy includes rental coverage with a $500 deductible. If your rental car was involved in a fender-bender or a minor accident, the rental company would cover what was laid out in the terms of the rental agreement (if anything), then your car insurance provider would pick up the remainder minus your deductible.

However, if you don’t have rental coverage on your existing insurance policy or from any other source, and you opted-out of the insurance coverage that the rental car company offered, you’d be responsible to foot the whole bill by yourself.

Again, this varies from company to company, so to be absolutely sure if you are covered when you rent a car, it is best to give your insurance provider a call personally and find out exactly what rental car coverage your policy includes.

Can You Get Coverage From Your Credit Card Company?

Often times, if you use your credit card to pay for a rental car, the credit card company will offer complimentary rental car insurance.  Renters should check with their credit card company to check whether they provide sufficient coverage without buying additional insurance because not all cards do.  Many credit cards include some collision and theft protection.  This protection, however, is usually very minimal and is secondary to personal auto insurance for insurance sold to you by the rental car company.

Visa cardholders will generally be in luck when renting a car. Almost all Visa credit cards offer some type of rental car insurance as a benefit to cardholders. Mastercard cardholders need to be more careful when renting a car as not all Mastercard cards offer rental insurance as a benefit. American Express and Discover card holders, however, can rest easy, as booking with their cards will all provide rental insurance coverage. To be sure if your card provides you with rental car insurance as a benefit, check out this good guide on SmartAsset. To be 100% sure that you are covered, give your credit card company a call and explain the situation to them.

Important Note – Many times your credit card company will NOT cover your rental car unless you waive all additional coverage that the rental car insurance company offers. Be extra careful when renting the car and choosing insurance if you plan on relying on your credit card company for coverage.

For more information on credit cards and rental car insurance coverage, view our guide on the subject here.

Getting Auto Insurance Quotes For A Rental

If it seems like you’re renting a car every time you travel, it makes a lot of sense to extend your coverage well beyond the basic features provided by the rental car agency’s bare-bones insurance policy options. If your current auto insurance provider won’t cover rental cars or has outrageously high fees for adding rental insurance coverage to your policy, then it may be time to find a new auto insurance company.

Luckily for you, finding an auto insurance policy that matches your unique needs is easier today than it’s ever been before. Scroll to the top of the page and enter your zip code in the provided field to begin getting car insurance quotes from companies that do offer supplemental rental car coverage. Within a couple minutes, you’ll be able to compare and contrast rates from some of the best auto insurance deals out there.

Additional Rental Car Insurance Resources

  • Consumer Reports – Should you take the car rental insurance? It depends
  • USA Today – For the last time: Car rental coverage is not mandatory


  Comments: 9

  1. Hi,
    I want to purchase non-owner liability insurance because i will be traveling and renting cars. What is the average quote for about 1 month car insurance.

    Thank you


    • Christina@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Sam, Purchasing a non-owner insurance policy is a good option when renting cars! All auto insurance pricing depends on a variety of factors including age, driving record, and how often you plan to drive. Typically, a non-owner car insurance policy costs far less than what you would pay for the same level of liability coverage on a vehicle you own. Our site ( offers a variety of reputable insurance providers that can be reached by phone. By calling the insurance companies you’ll be able to better explain what type of policy is needed and provide the necessary information. Our site ( also has a “Search by State” feature in the upper-right corner of this page. You can use the “Search by State” to find local insurance agents that can also guide you through the process of purchasing a non-owner auto policy. Hope this information is helpful!

  2. was wondering how to get a quote for non owner car insurance…? the site only lets me get info is i own or lease a car ?
    will i be able to see different offers and companies and their prices 🙂

    • Christina@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Tom, Thanks for visiting our site (! You are correct that our quoting feature is really focused on consumers that either own or lease a vehicle. However, the insurance providers that appear in our quoting tool are all reputable companies that have licensed insurance agents available by phone to discuss your specific needs. Please feel free to phone any of our insurance providers including Travelers, Nationwide, State Farm, Liberty Mutual, Allstate, and Farmers for assistance in buying a non-owner policy. We also have a “Search by State” feature in the upper-right corner of this page. You can use this “Search by State” look-up to find local insurance agents able to guide you through the process of purchasing a non-owner auto policy. Thanks again for stopping by!

  3. Take pictures with your cellphone! A few years ago my family vacationed in Hawaii. We rented cars on 3 islands. Upon returning the first rental, the agent reported the she’d spotted “damage” to the car and wrote it up. Upon renting on island #2, I took extensive pictures of the car. Nevertheless, the rental agent again claimed it was damaged. Same thing on island #3. When we got home there was a notification from the rental company that required that I hook them up with my insurance carrier. I refused, wrote to the carrier and to the NY Attorney General. Guess what! Never heard another word… until I read an article in the paper about this scam and about the legal action taken against the rental company.

    • Christina@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Alex, Taking pictures of your rental car is an excellent tip! In fact, that’s the #1 rental car rule of thumb. You should document every dent or scratch on the vehicle’s body, interior, wheels, and glass before driving away. Some rental companies actually have a special form for damages which they require you to complete upon pick-up. Make sure you take a few minutes to do so before leaving the lot! This could save you a ton of headaches later. If you do receive notice from the rental company that you owe for car damages, don’t panic. First, consumers should request evidence from the rental car company which clearly shows you are responsible for the damages. For example, ask for a list of all the other people that rented the car between the time you turned it in and when the claim was submitted to you. Or ask for time stamped photos of the vehicle when you picked it up and when you returned it. If all else fails, consumers can do what you did and write to state officials such as the Attorney General, Department of Insurance, or even the Better Business Bureau. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Where I was informed of the appalling cost of rental insurance one a one week trip, I called my own insurance company (Geico). They solde a rider on my existing policy to cover the rental. Cost: $9.50. Insurance rates are calculated on probability, and the odds of something happening to your car within a few days are astronomically lower than that probability over a long period, like a year. That’s why rental insurance is so profitable.

    • Christina@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Johnson, Glad your insurance company was able to assist! I always recommend consumers first contact their existing insurance carrier about coverage for a rental. Why pay the high price for rental car insurance if you already have a policy in place? Each insurance company may handle it differently. Some may add a rider to the current policy (like yours), some auto coverage already has language written into the policy to cover rentals, and some carriers may offer a non-owner policy for the rental. There are a variety of approaches. Contacting your insurance agent is also helpful as he/she is a resource for your coverage needs and can walk you through different options. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Always remember, in the case of auto insurance and otherwise: Insurance companies are not in the business of protecting their insureds. They are in the business of taking as much money as possible from the insureds, and paying out as little as possible. It’s called the profit motive. The insurance company is not your friend! (I’m a former insurance attorney, having worked for various insurance companies and against others.)

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