Do you need rental car insurance?

You’re at the rental car counter, SO close to beginning your long-anticipated vacay. But wait! There’s a confusing and expensive decision you have to make before you hit the road: To buy or not to buy rental car insurance coverage?

Here are things to think about now so the next time you’re confronted with the inevitable “Do you want insurance coverage on this vehicle?” question, you can be confident you’re making the right choice.

1. If you already have car insurance for a personal vehicle, you may not need rental car insurance.

  • Your best bet - before you get the heck outta Dodge - is to check your personal auto insurance policy or call your Insurance Advisor to see if your personal car insurance covers rental cars, and to what extent.
  • States’ insurance rules vary widely, so whether to buy rental car insurance may depend on where your personal insurance policy originates. If you have a personal auto insurance policy in Minnesota, for example, in most cases you’re already adequately covered and can decline the unnecessary duplicate coverage. You would not even be subject to paying a deductible if your rental car got damaged.
  • If you have a policy from most other states, you may be required to pay your deductible if your rental car got damaged. In those cases, you should weigh the cost of the rental car insurance against your deductible when deciding whether to buy the added coverage.
  • A few states’ vehicle insurance coverage rules exclude rental cars entirely, so you’d definitely need the extra coverage in those cases.

2. There are some circumstances in which extra coverage is usually a good idea.

  • If you’re traveling abroad, you will probably need to get rental car insurance. Most auto insurance companies in the U.S. don’t cover rentals abroad.
  • If your trip is for business, your employer’s policy would respond first. Check with your employer to confirm coverage and determine if additional coverage is necessary.
  • The rental agency’s lost revenue from a car you damage may not be covered. Check your policy (or give your Insurance Advisor a ring!) before your trip to confirm coverage.

3. The credit card you’ll be using for your car rental may also provide insurance coverage.

  • If there are any gaps in coverage with your personal auto policy, your credit card company could provide additional coverage. Be sure to check what they'll cover, as rules and restrictions vary by company.

Protect yourself

An Insurance Advisor can help you put together a comprehensive auto policy. If you have questions about auto insurance or would like to review your current policy, call 1-800-443-6316.