Do I Need Insurance For Rental Cars?

Do I Need Insurance For Rental Cars? bb3 Jun 1, 2010

By Keith Griffin, automotive journalist and car reviewer

  • Email
  • Print

When renting a car, you will be asked if you want to purchase insurance coverage. The rental agent will normally offer you different levels of insurance coverage, including a Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) or Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), which covers the rental vehicle in the event of accidental damage and theft. Many drivers become confused at this point, wondering if they need this insurance.

Here are some guidelines to help you decide.

Situation What to look for When to consider additional coverage
You have a personal auto policy Read your policies carefully or call your insurance agent to ask for details of coverage. Many auto policies cover rentals with the same type and amount of coverage on your personal vehicle. Also ask about coverage for any administrative fees you may be responsible for, such as loss of use (rental income not earned on a car while it is in the repair shop). If your policy does not cover rentals, has a high deductible, or does not include collision coverage or sufficient comprehensive coverage, you may wish to purchase additional coverage from the rental company. Also, insurance is invaluable in foreign countries where you may be responsible for paying for the damage in full before you leave the country.
Your credit card offers rental car insurance Carefully read the documentation that came with your specific credit card and understand the extent of the coverage it provides. Depending on the level of coverage your credit card provides, you might consider adding coverage from the renting agency.
You are traveling on business Your employer may provide corporate insurance for rented vehicles. Be sure to know the applicable corporate policies and procedures before you rent a car for business.
You do not own a car If you do not own a car and therefore do not carry auto insurance, you will need to purchase insurance from the rental agency. Take your time at the rental counter to consider the coverage packages being offered. You may not need the most expensive plan being offered.
You are renting a car in a foreign country Check your auto insurance policy for possible exclusions or limitations on renting a car abroad. Also check for coverage that may be offered by your credit card company or auto club. If you are not sufficiently covered, you may wish to purchase third-party travel insurance to cover your foreign rental, or the Loss Damage Waiver from the agency. You will still be liable for any costs resulting from vehicle damage that are not covered by the waiver.

If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.


Find a local agent below

Get a Rate Quote Now