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Do I Need Rental Car Insurance?

Wondering if you really need rental car insurance? When you travel, you want to cover all your bases, like purchasing travel insurance to ensure a safe and fun trip. But what about extra insurance for your rental car? Read on to find out if you need to purchase coverage- and what it will actually get you- before you hit the road.

Do I really need rental car insurance?

When the need to rent a car arises there are a lot of questions to ask. It could be needed while your vehicle is being fixed, for business or general travel. Many people have a hard time deciding if they need to purchase rental insurance or not. The answer comes down to some key details involving your regular car and health insurance as well as what you want to be responsible for. 

What does your regular car insurance cover?

The first thing that you should do is contact your regular car insurance company and see what your policy covers. If you have full coverage and they cover a rental car then you should be good to go. Your agent will be able to explain how the process works. However if you have the bare minimum for your coverage, it may not cover what you need for a rental car.

The good news is that if you do need to purchase insurance you don’t need to go through the rental company. It is typically less expensive to purchase rental insurance from your current company versus the rental company. Talk with your agent about what they offer.

Keep in mind that your rates may rise if you file a claim for an accident through your personal insurance, be sure to ask your insurance provider. 

Questions to ask your insurance agent

  1. Does my car insurance cover rental cars? What does that coverage look like if so?
  2. If not, do you offer rental car insurance that I can purchase? What are those prices and coverage?
  3. If I do purchase or have rental insurance through you, will my rates go up if I get into an accident and file a claim?

Check your medical policy

If you were to get into an accident would your car insurance cover your medical bills? What if you are in a rental car? Not all vehicle policies have medical coverage. It’s important to discuss this with your car insurance agent. If you find out that they won’t cover you in a rental car then it’s time to talk with your health insurance and see what they cover if something were to happen while in a rental car. If you choose to go the route of rental insurance be sure to look at what they cover for medical.

Questions to ask your insurance agent

  1. What medical coverage do I have for my car insurance? What about in a rental car?
  2. Do you cover the other persons medical bills as well?

Questions to ask your health insurance provider

  1. Will you cover my medical bills if I am in a rental car and get into an accident?

Check your credit card

Credit card companies often offer insurance for rented vehicles if you are using that particular credit card to pay for it. See what your card company offers for coverage. It might be just what you need. Ask the same questions mentioned above to be sure it covers everything you need.

Damage waiver

A damage waiver is something that you may want to purchase when renting a car. Most rental companies offer it and it help you to lessen your responsibility as the driver. It will waive your responsibility for loss or damage to the vehicle as long as you have followed the rental agreement or terms and conditions. Ask about this even if you are not purchasing insurance through the rental company, you may still be able to purchase the damage waiver just to be safe.

In short it comes down to this:

Get the insurance if:

  1. Regular insurance won’t cover it.
  2. You want to be sure that you have zero liability.
  3. When you are traveling abroad. 

Skip it if;

  1. Your regular insurance covers rental AND medical.


  1. Your car insurance covers rental and the other persons medical and your medical will cover any medical bills from an accident.

If the company offers it, it may not hurt to have the damage waiver added on to your rental car just in case.

What do you think? Do you normally purchase extra rental car insurance when you travel? Let me know in the comments.

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