Vacation Car Rental Insurance: What You Need to Know
Planning to rent a car for summer vacation? Review your insurance coverage before you go. Don’t wait until you reach the rental car counter, where you might feel pressured to make a quick decision and buy extra coverage. Do your homework ahead of time and figure out if you need the rental company’s insurance.
Does my car insurance cover rental cars?
Your auto insurance typically provides the same kind of coverage offered by the car rental company. SECURA’s MILE-STONE® coverage, for example, includes liability coverage for rental cars. If you have physical damage as part of your coverage, that will apply to your rental as well.
If you have collision coverage or comprehensive coverage, you’ve probably covered most of your bases. But rental companies have a way of adding extra fees that go beyond traditional coverage. Before traveling, check your policy and call your insurance agent to make sure you understand what’s covered and what isn’t. Find out if your policy:
- Extends to rental cars
- Covers rental company fees, such as admin fees, towing, and loss-of-use while the vehicle is being repaired
- Covers diminished value claims
- Covers the rental car’s full value in case the car is totaled
- Includes coverage if the car is being valet parked or in the custody of a valet service
If you have a coverage gap, talk to your agent about how you can stay protected on your trip.
Find out what your credit card covers
Some credit cards offer car rental insurance when you pay with your credit card. This coverage is typically “secondary insurance,” which means it only covers what your primary auto insurance doesn’t. Terms vary by issuer, but typically include coverage for physical damage and theft…not injury, liability, diminished value, or damage to other vehicles.
Coverage only applies if you decline the rental company’s insurance and may exclude certain vehicles such as large vans, trucks, and expensive cars. Coverage may also be excluded in some popular tropical destinations — like Jamaica.
Consider the rental car company’s insurance if:
- You’re traveling outside the U.S.
- You’re renting an RV, large van, truck, or specialty car.
- Your primary coverage doesn’t include diminished value or other special conditions listed above.
Be aware you may need to show proof of insurance at the car rental counter. If you don’t have it, the car rental agency may require that you purchase the insurance they offer before renting you the vehicle. Rules are different when traveling for business or using a business credit card. Once again, check with your insurance agent to understand your benefits.