Best Rental Car Insurance

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Contributor, Benzinga
March 25, 2024

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If you’re thinking about renting a vehicle for your next vacation, you might be wondering whether you need to purchase rental car insurance. If you don’t have a personal auto insurance policy or you’re using your rental for a business trip, you likely will need to purchase rental insurance. 

Quick Look: Best Rental Car Insurance

  • Best Provider for Liability Insurance: Bonzah
  • Best for Coverage: Allianz
  • Best for Single and Annual Plans: Chubb
  • Best for Getting the Cheapest Rates: Savvy
  • Best for Online Application:

Best Rental Car Insurance Providers

If you don’t already have a car insurance policy for personal use, you’ll need to buy rental car insurance before you hit the road. Consider beginning your search with a few of our favorite providers using the chart below.  

1. Best Provider for Liability Insurance: Bonzah

Bonzah by Pablow Inc. is a unique provider offering up to $1 million in on-demand liability insurance for your rental car - usually at a much lower rate than you'll pay for rental care insurance at the rental desk.

When you choose Bonzah for your rental car coverage, you can enjoy a range of benefits included in your policy. This includes coverage for rental car damage up to $35,000. The policy also provides primary and supplementary liability coverage up to $1 million.

Bonzah's rental car coverage extends to protecting your baggage and personal items up to $500, giving you added security in case of loss or damage to your belongings while traveling. The flexibility of the policy allows you to cancel within 10 days of purchase free of charge, as long as you have not filed a claim or embarked on your trip.

It is worth noting that all eligible drivers over 21 are covered under the Bonzah policy.

  • Quote process: Online
  • Purchase process: Online
  • Total coverage: Up to $1 million
  • Deductible: None
  • States served: 50 states


  • Quick and easy to purchase
  • Provides coverage for damage to the rental vehicle
  • Offers 24/7 roadside assistance


  • May be more expensive than other insurance options
  • Not accepted by all rental car companies

2. Best for Coverage: Allianz

Allianz offers something called the “One Trip Rental Car Protector” that offers powerful coverage for rental cars you use while you’re out of town. Coverage from Allianz includes: collision damage waiver, trip interruption coverage, lost personal Items and a 24-Hour Hotline.

Allianz usually charges $11 per calendar day for this coverage, allowing you to buy affordable insurance that protects you from accidents and damage along with any fees the rental company might charge after the fact.

  • Quote process: Online
  • Purchase process: Online
  • Total coverage: Up to $50,000
  • Deductible: n/a
  • States served: 50 states


  • Provides coverage for rental car damage or theft
  • Offers peace of mind while driving a rental car
  • May be cheaper than purchasing insurance through the rental car company


  • May not cover all types of damage or situations
  • Coverage limits and exclusions may apply, leading to out-of-pocket expenses in certain situations

3. Best for Single and Annual Trip Plans: Chubb

As a top insurance provider, Chubb offers comprehensive coverage options that can give you peace of mind when driving unfamiliar cars. Their rental car insurance policies often include benefits such as coverage for damage to the rental vehicle, liability coverage, and even coverage for lost or stolen personal belongings.

One of the standout features of Chubb rental car insurance is their responsive customer service and claims process. In the unfortunate event of an accident or damage to the rental car, Chubb policyholders can rely on their efficient claims team to quickly assess the situation and provide guidance on next steps.

  • Quote process: Online
  • Purchase process: Online
  • Total coverage: Up to $5,000 reimbursement with no per day limit
  • Deductible: None
  • States served: 50 states


  • Provides coverage for rental car damage and theft
  • Offers liability protection for bodily injury and property damage
  • Can be more affordable than purchasing insurance from rental car companies
  • Coverage can extend to international car rentals


  • May have coverage limits and exclusions
  • Additional cost on top of rental car fees
  • Coverage may overlap with existing personal auto insurance policies

4. Best for Getting Cheaper Rates: Savvy

Savvy's car rental insurance offering is a solid option if you're looking for peace of mind when renting a vehicle. As an auto insurance marketplace, Savvy partners with insurers to offer comprehensive coverage and offer protection in case of accidents, theft, or damage to the rental car.

You have the option to choose the level of coverage that best suits your needs, whether it be basic coverage or a more comprehensive plan. Savvy's car rental insurance is also straightforward to understand. The policy terms are clearly outlined, making it simple for you to know exactly what is covered and what is not. 

  • Quote process: Online, by email or over the phone depending on the insurer
  • Purchase process: Online, by email or over the phone depending on the insurer
  • Total coverage: up to $10,000
  • Deductible: n/a
  • States served: 50 states


  • Assistance with roadside emergencies
  • Ability to connect your current policy for more accurate quotes
  • Easy-to-navigate website


  • Coverage may have limitations or exclusions
  • Deductibles and coverage caps may apply

5. Best for Online Application: allows you to search for rental insurance anywhere you want right on the homepage. Because the site is so easy to use, you can purchase rental car insurance in a matter of moments.

The platform markets itself as being compatible with any rental car agency around the world, with coverage for theft, damage, flat tires, cracked windshields, towing costs, additional drivers and rentals lasting longer than 30 days.

  • Quote process: Online
  • Purchase process: Online
  • Total coverage: up to $50,000
  • Deductible: None
  • States served: 50 states


  • Offers insurance coverage for rental cars at affordable rate
  • Easy online booking process
  • Offers a variety of coverage options to suit different needs


  • May not cover all types of damage or incidents
  • Some restrictions and exclusions may apply
  • Limited coverage options for certain rental car providers or locations

What is Rental Car Insurance?

Rental car insurance is a type of coverage that offers financial protection from the risks of driving a rental car. This is a subtype of non owners car insurance, which protects drivers operating vehicles that they don't not own or that are not registered to them. You may be able to purchase rental car insurance from your car insurance provider; typically, rental car coverage isn't part of your regular policy unless specifically specified. You may also be able to purchase it from a rental car company at the purchase desk or from a provider.

Types of Rental Car Insurance

Here are some common types of rental car insurance you may want to explore.

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance is a type of insurance coverage that compensates anyone who you injure or whose property you damage during an accident. Most states require you to carry at least a certain level of liability insurance to remain on the road legally. If you have a personal auto insurance policy, you most likely already have both bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage. 

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage is a form of car insurance that compensates you for damage done to your own vehicle — in this case, your rental car. If you don’t purchase collision insurance, you will likely be held responsible for any damage your rental car incurs while in your possession. If you have collision coverage on your personal auto insurance policy, it may extend to any rental cars you use. 

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage is a type of auto insurance that compensates the owner of the vehicle if the automobile is damaged outside of the context of a collision. Some common examples of situations that fall under comprehensive coverage include theft, vandalism and damage from lightning. Like collision coverage, comprehensive coverage is an important protection for rental car drivers because you may be held liable for any damage or theft that happens when the vehicle is in your possession. 

Using Credit Card Benefits for Rental Car Insurance

Many credit cards offer some sort of rental car coverage, but each card varies in what is actually covered. Major credit card service providers such as American Express and Mastercard offer insurance when you rent a vehicle, but the specific coverages you’ll receive will vary by provider.

Credit cards can offer coverage for the collision damage waiver or loss damage waiver when you rent a vehicle, which can be costly if you’re involved in an accident that damages your rental vehicle. Some cards also cover towing expenses and other miscellaneous fees associated with renting a vehicle. Coverage from credit cards comes in 2 forms: primary and secondary coverage.

Coverage from your credit card is usually secondary to any other insurance you may have. This means it won’t be used until you’ve exhausted any type of insurance coverage you already have that extends to rental cars. For example, if your personal auto insurance policy extends to the use of rental cars, this is your primary insurance, and your insurance from your credit card is your secondary insurance. If you don’t have any other form of auto insurance, the coverage from your credit card becomes your primary source of coverage.

Rental car companies sometimes may seek something called a “loss-of-use” fee. This is the compensation for what the company could be receiving if they were renting the car that is now out of commision because of you. Some credit card networks offer coverage and will pay these fees, but some do not and will leave you responsible for any loss-of-use fees you run into.          

Credit card networks generally only offer coverage for rental cars over a limited period of time. If you’re traveling for longer than the limit on your card, you’ll need to find rental car insurance coverage elsewhere. Coverage can be applied in other countries, but in most instances, you’re limited to driving in the United States and Canada. Consult with your credit card provider to learn more about what is and isn’t covered under your card’s benefits. 

Adding Rental Car Coverage to Your Car Insurance

In addition to the basic liability coverage that extends to your rental vehicle, you may be able to add extras onto your insurance through the rental company. Some types of extra coverage you may find include:

Collision or Loss Damage Waiver

A collision or loss-damage waiver isn’t technically insurance. However, it can protect you if you’re involved in an accident, and you don’t have collision or comprehensive coverage on your personal insurance policy. This waiver will cover any damage you cause to the rental car when driving. Collision and loss-damage waivers usually don’t apply if you were speeding or driving on unpaved roads when the damage occurred.

Personal Accident Insurance

Personal accident insurance helps you pay for your own medical bills and the medical bills of anyone driving in your rental car with you if you’re involved in an accident. If you have health insurance or personal injury protection from your car insurance provider that extends to rental cars, this may be a redundant protection.

Personal Effects Coverage

Personal effects coverage compensates you if items are stolen from your rental car. For example, if you leave your laptop on the seat of your rental car and someone smashes the window and leaves with it, your personal effects coverage will help you cover the cost of a new laptop up to your policy limit.

Which car insurance extras are worth investing in when you’re renting a vehicle? The answer will vary depending on the types of coverage you already have. For example, if you have renters or homeowners insurance, you probably already have personal property coverage that would make personal effects coverage redundant. 

Rental Car Insurance Without Exception 

For the most part, your personal car insurance will cover you while driving a rental car. Some credit cards offer rental car insurance. However, there are limitations to every car insurance policy. For example, your personal auto insurance likely only covers the use of rental cars when you’re driving them for personal use. This means that if you’re on a business trip, your personal auto insurance may not cover you. 

Check with your insurance agent before you rent a vehicle. The last thing you want is to think you’re covered, get into an accident and find out that your insurance isn’t valid. 

What to Do Before Renting a Car

Before renting a car, check what insurance you already have. You can call your auto insurer, your credit card company, your health insurance provider and your homeowners insurance company to learn more about where each coverage applies. 

Remember, if you have personal auto insurance and additional insurance for medical accidents and personal possessions, you might not need to purchase rental car insurance. 

Primary or Secondary Rental Car Coverage

Rental car coverage can come in 2 different forms: primary and secondary. Primary coverage is less common when it comes to credit card benefits. However, if you own one of the rare credit cards that offers primary coverage on rental cars, you can avoid contacting your auto insurance and filing a claim if you’re involved in an accident. This can help you avoid an increase in your auto insurance premiums when you renew your policy.

Secondary coverage is generally what credit card networks tend to offer. Secondary coverage only covers what your personal auto insurance coverage is not covering. Therefore, you usually need to put in a claim with your auto insurer first. Your personal auto insurer may increase your rates after being involved in an accident.

Chase provides primary rental insurance on certains cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. If you use rental vehicles for business purposes, you may be able to claim primary coverage through select Capital One business cards. This coverage doesn’t extend to personal auto insurance rentals. 

American Express usually doesn’t offer primary coverage with its cards, however, all American Express cardholders have the option to purchase rental car insurance for an added fee per rental. Certain credit card networks may offer coverage only in certain countries, specifically in your country of residence.   

Do I Need to Buy Rental Car Insurance?

Just like when you drive a vehicle at home, you must have insurance when you drive a rental car. The good news is that you may already have rental car insurance and not even know it. You can make a few calls and determine the kind of rental car insurance you already have, and you can purchase it at the rental car counter if you don’t already have sufficient coverage. 


What is rental car Insurance and when does one need it?


Rental insurance effectively reduces your risks while renting a car. For example if you are a non-owner and don’t have your own auto insurance, then rental car insurance is your best friend, especially in case you have an accident while on a rental trip.


How much is full coverage insurance on a rental car?


We consider full coverage to be when a renter has primary damage, primary liability and supplemental liability for the rental, at a cost $38 per 24hrs. That covers $35K in damage to your rental car, $60K in liability damage/injury to others in the state of NY. And the icing on the cake is supplemental liability that covers you from $60K up to a $1M aggregate in NY (liability coverage levels differ throughout the US)


What happens if you damage a rental car without insurance?


You know the term “that sinking feeling?“, well that’s what you get if you damage a rental car without having rental car insurance. Most rental cars are valued at $20-$40K, therefore having an accident without insurance could really set you back financially. That’s why we strongly recommend buying sufficient levels of coverage, to ensure you have peace of mind.


Does personal auto insurance cover rental cars?


It depends!? How many people actually read the fine print & understand if their auto insurance covers a rental car? For those who are covered by their own auto insurance, they can breathe a sigh of relief. However, many owners of vehicles will still decide to buy rental car insurance because they want to avoid a potentially large deductible or a painful premium hike if they were to have an accident while renting.


What is rental car reimbursement coverage, and is it the same as insurance?


For those whose auto insurance explicitly doesn’t cover rental cars, they may purchase supplemental auto rental reimbursement coverage that actually pays for the cost of renting a car while your personal auto is being repaired after an accident has taken place.


Do you need insurance (personal or rental) to rent a car?


Nowadays rental car companies are reluctant to rent a car to a person who does not have adequate insurance. This is understandable given a renter could cause $10-$20K in damage to the rental car, and not personally have the funds to pay for the damage repairs. So if you are renting a car and don’t have adequate insurance, don’t be surprised if you get turned away at the rental counter, or be required to purchase very expensive (2-3 x more expensive) insurance directly from the rental provider.


Does my credit card provide car rental insurance?


Many higher end credit cards do include rental car insurance, though there are always caveats. For example the rental period might be capped at 7-10 days. And very importantly even the highest end credit cards do not cover liability risks e.g. injuring other people or damaging other people’s property, for example.