Car Insurance Basics: What Is Rental Car Insurance And Where To Get It

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Driving a rental car without the proper insurance can be risky. If the vehicle is stolen or totaled, the driver can end up buying the rental car company a new car to replace it. Rental car insurance covers loss, damage, and liability expenses that drivers incur while driving a rental car. Just like ordinary car insurance policies, rental car insurance is actually a bundle of different coverage options that kick in under varying circumstances.

When looking for rental car insurance, drivers can choose from the following types of coverage:

  • Collision. It protects the driver if they drive the rental car into something or if something else crashes into the vehicle. When a driver arrives at the rental dealership's customer service counter, he will certainly get a loss damage waiver for the vehicle. This is not true collision coverage, but a promise that if the rental car is damaged or stolen the rental car company will not require the driver to cover replacement or repair expenses.
  • Liability. This coverage helps with expenses related to damaging other vehicles, property, or people. Being involved in an at-fault accident in a rental vehicle means that collision coverage will pay to repair the rental vehicle, while liability coverage will pay to repair the other vehicle.
  • Personal effects. This type of insurance is used to cover the cost of replacing any personal items damaged in an accident or stolen from the rental vehicle.
  • Personal accident. This coverage will pay for the medical expenses if the driver of a rental car is involved in a car accident. Also, most personal accident coverage extends to the passengers of the rental vehicle.

To get rental car insurance, drivers can go to the following types of providers:

  • Rental car dealerships. The easiest way for a driver to get rental insurance is to get one when he gets a rental car. In most cases, the person renting the driver a vehicle will likely push their particular brand of insurance.
  • Credit card companies. Most major credit card companies automatically provide rental car insurance coverage, so long as the driver uses the card to pay for the rental car. However, this is secondary coverage that will kick in after the primary rental coverage is exhausted. A few credit cards do offer primary rental car coverage, in which case the credit card company's insurance will be used first. American Express, Visa, and Mastercard offer free rental car insurance.
  • Car insurance companies. Most insurance policies extend coverage to rented vehicles. However, there are some limitations. A personal car insurance policy on a personal vehicle will also cover any rental car used for personal activities, but not rentals used for business purposes. Also, in many cases, coverage is limited to domestic trips only.
  • Private providers. Some companies sell rental insurance policies that include special options, or offer coverage similar to that of rental car company policies but at a lower cost. The biggest benefit of using a private insurer instead of the personal car insurance policy is that drivers don't need to worry about their insurance premiums going up if they have an accident in a rental car. Allianz and Bonzah are some of the companies that sell rental car insurance.

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