Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florid...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Nov 15, 2020

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It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident auto insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one auto insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider. Our partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Are you planning on renting a vehicle for your next vacation or night out in the city?

As you complete the necessary paperwork prior to payment, the rental car agency is going to tell you that you need rental coverage from them to protect yourself against any kind of damage.

But do you really?

The rental agency is right on one thing: it is definitely important to be covered against any kind of damage that might happen to the rental car.

After all, without proper coverage, you’ll be on the hook for whatever damage might have happened, and probably a little more.

You can also be certain that you’ll pay top dollar for repair costs should anything happen.

However, that doesn’t mean you necessarily need the protection being offered by the rental car agency.

In fact, you should first check with your current insurer to see if your standard policy extends to rental cards before you sign the dotted line and agree to the rental agency’s excessive fees.

Even US News has reported to check with your current carrier or even your credit card for a better deal and slash costs!

When will your car insurance cover a rental vehicle?

When in doubt…

If you aren’t sure if your policy covers your rental vehicle, you should call as soon as possible to find out.

Most standard policies will extend to cover any damage that may occur to the rental vehicle should you get into some kind of accident.

With some providers, you may need to pay an extra fee on your premium, so it’s best to be familiar with your policy before making any decisions.

Over at Bankrate.com it is recommended to know your policy and double check before you hit the road or go on vacation.

If you’re already filling out the paperwork and don’t have time to call your company right then, it may be worth your while to see if the rental car company will allow you to add protection later, or even remove it while only charging you a pro-rated fee.

By doing that, you can at least get the peace of mind you deserve by ensuring that your covered without overpaying.

How does it work?

You may be wondering how your policy could cover a car that isn’t yours.

That’s a logical question, and while the answer may vary from state to state, the answer is easier to understand than you might think, and even here it is explained more in detail.

As long as you are driving the rental car for personal reasons, then your current carrier will cover the car.

Because you’re driving the car temporarily, the vehicle would essentially fall under your policy like your normal day-to-day car would.

Rental Reimbursement is Not Coverage for Your Rental at an Agency

One thing to consider. Rental reimbursement is not coverage for your car rental at an agency.

Rental reimbursement kicks in when you have to rent a vehicle for damages to your own personal car.

All of the top companies offer this type of coverage as an add-on for a few extra bucks a month.

GEICO and Progressive offer rental reimbursement as a policy add-on and many drivers carry this type of coverage.

What if I can’t use my car insurance for a rental vehicle?

If your policy does not cover rental vehicles, then you still have these options available to you:

  • Change insurers
  • Upgrade your current plan
  • Check with your credit card company
  • Pick from the available rental agency options

If your current provider does not extend your coverage to rental vehicles, then it may be time to change companies.

There are a number of car insurance providers that will extend your standard coverage without charging you an extra fee.

Not only will you get that added coverage, but you may actually save on your current rate.

In order to change your current provider, simply fill in your zip code in the advanced quote comparison tool at the top of the page.

You’ll be asked a few quick questions, and then we’ll provide you with the best rates in your area.

If you’re not crazy about changing your provider to one that covers rental vehicles as part of their standard package, then you do have the option of upgrading to a plan that you can use to cover rental cars.

Your insurer may have different rental car options, so it is best to inquire with them to see which option is best for you.

Do you have other options? Credit Cards?

If you can’t use your current coverage for a rental car, and you don’t want to upgrade, you do still have other options. Should you pay with a credit card, you may have additional coverage that you didn’t realize you had.

Many times, credit card companies will provide some kind of limited coverage if you use their card to pay the rental fee.

The coverage likely will not be as good as coverage from your car insurance provider, but it should suffice.

To find out if your credit card company offers coverage, you probably will want to contact them and get the details regarding their special program.

If you are stuck without a credit card or coverage, the only other option you have is to choose the best plan for you that is offered by the rental car agency.

These plans typically vary in cost and coverage. If you do not have coverage from anywhere else, you’ll probably want to choose the loss damage waiver to ensure that you have the maximum protection.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.