Even if you own a car, you likely rent one from time to time. Whether your own vehicle is in the shop or you’re renting in a far-off vacation destination, the rental agency will ask if you want to take out insurance.

If you already have your own insurance, it’s easy to find yourself wondering, does auto insurance cover rental cars?

The short answer is that it depends. When you took out your insurance, you likely said “yes” or “no” to a half-dozen different kinds of coverage. You also selected policy limits and deductibles.

Whether or not your current insurance will fully or partially cover the cost of a potential accident in your rental car depends on those selections.

In this short guide, we’ll go over different kinds of auto insurance rental car coverage so that you can make sure you’re protected on your next venture with a rental car!

Understanding Insurance Coverage

What kind of coverage do you have on your own car?

Most states require the following kinds of coverage:

  • Bodily injury – If you’re found at fault in an accident, this kind of coverage can help pay the cost of bodily injury to the other vehicle’s driver and passengers.

  • Property damage – Likewise, you’ll also need coverage to help cover the costs of repair to the other driver’s vehicle if you’re at fault.

Depending on where you live, you may also be required to take out additional coverage, or you may have selected the following options from your insurance provider: \

  • Uninsured motorist coverage – If an uninsured driver hits you and is found at fault, they won’t have a policy to help cover your property damage or bodily injury. This coverage helps guarantee you’ll be able to recover and make repairs.

  • Personal injury protection – If you’re found at fault at an accident, you’ll need your own policy to help cover the cost of your injuries.

  • Collision coverage – At fault drivers need coverage for damage to their vehicles as well. If you’re found at fault in an accident and your car sustained collision damage, you’ll need to cover the cost of any repairs to your rental vehicle.

How Your Policy Applies to Your Rental

In general, coverage from your primary policy extends to your rental. Check with your insurer to make sure this is the case. If not, you may be able to add on rental insurance for a small increase to your premium.

However, that means that your rental insurance is only as good as your regular policy. Insufficient coverage could result in numerous issues. \ \ Meager coverage on your car could result in major issues with your rental. Before you sign the rental documents, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did you skip collision insurance? Perhaps you’re driving a beater, or maybe you were simply looking to save a few bucks on insurance. If you don’t have collision insurance on your regular vehicle, it won’t extend to your rental car. Since rental cars tend to be nicer, newer models, this gap in coverage could become very expensive in the event of an accident.

  • Do you have uninsured motorist coverage? Perhaps you live in a state with a low proportion of uninsured drivers and it doesn’t feel necessary. If an uninsured motorist hits your rental and is found at-fault, you’ll be out of luck—unless you have proper auto insurance.

Coverage From Your Credit Card

If your personal auto insurance doesn’t cover everything you need, you may have another recourse without taking out rental insurance.

Many credit card companies offer some form of car insurance when you pay for a rental with their participating card.

For example, some Visa cards come with collision damage.

Check with your specific credit card company to see what coverages they offer and how it can augment your auto insurance policy.

Fill the Gaps in Coverage

When you rent a vehicle, you’ll likely be offered the following kinds of rental car insurance coverage:

  • Collision insurance

  • Personal injury protection

  • Property damage liability insurance

  • Bodily injury liability insurance

In addition, you may be offered personal effects coverage to protect property that you leave in the rental car.

You can always take out the specific kind of coverage that your primary policy and credit card don’t already cover.

You could even opt to take out a brand-new rental car policy to minimize the chance that you’ll have to file a claim with your primary insurer. After all, a rental car claim could raise your car insurance premium. (Check out our guide on when not to file an auto insurance claim to learn more.)

With options available from your primary insurer, your credit card, and your rental agency, it’s easy to get your rental vehicle covered. Just make sure you understand the specifics of each policy before you hit the road.

OAI: Your Insurance Needs, All in One Place

Finding the right rental car insurance coverage can be incredibly time-consuming—but it doesn’t have to be.

Online Auto Insurance makes it easy to compare dozens of quotes in one place. Simply enter a few details about your car, your place of residence, and your desired policy limits. We’ll generate quotes from local and national providers.

Find the ones that look best and customize your policy to your specific needs. Don’t forget to make sure it includes car rental insurance! That way, you can drive with full confidence in your personal auto insurance coverage.


Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking. Things to Know About Car Insurance and Rental Cars Before Starting Your Road Trip. https://disb.dc.gov/page/things-know-about-car-insurance-and-rental-cars-starting-your-road-trip

Visa. Credit Card Benefits. https://usa.visa.com/support/consumer/card-benefits.html