Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Aug 9, 2021

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Key takeaways...

  • All rental car companies offer automobile renters the option of buying insurance protection from them
  • Stand-alone rental car insurance covers you in case your rented car is damaged or stolen
  • You may be declined rental car insurance if you’ve been convicted of DUI

Are you able to purchase stand-alone rental car insurance policies? In one word, the answer to that question is “yes.”

Any rental car company will offer automobile renters the option of buying insurance protection from them at the time of rental.

This form of car insurance protects the rental car driver in case of costly repairs from an unexpected car accident that happens while driving the rented vehicle.

To get the best quotes for stand-alone rental car insurance, enter your zip code into the FREE box above!

What do I need to understand stand-alone rental car insurance policies?

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According to a 2007 study of U.S. consumers and car rental insurance by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, 42 percent of the respondents said they were confused about getting insurance coverage while renting a car. It’s likely the most confusing part of the car rental experience.

Given such a high degree of confusion, it is hardly surprising the study also found that 34 percent of the respondents bought rental car insurance just to make sure they were covered in case of an accident.

While this is an understandable move, it might be unnecessary if you already have full coverage through your personal auto insurance company.

Simply put, stand-alone rental car insurance covers you in case your rented car is damaged or stolen.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, car rental companies also offer supplemental products such as Additional Liability Insurance (ALI), which usually costs $7-$14 per day, and covers the driver for up to $1 million in damages.

If you have low liability coverage on your personal auto insurance policy, the rental car insurance policy will become your primary liability coverage and your protection against damages.

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What are some of the most important details?

Keep reading for important details and tips on getting rental car insurance. Rental car insurance can be a boon if you are in an unfortunate car accident during your travels.

However, be careful and read the fine print. In many cases, your coverage is likely to be canceled if you caused the accident while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or if you were speeding or driving recklessly.

According to this article from Yahoo! Finance, drivers should be aware that even though they are called insurance policies, rental car insurance offered by a car rental agency is not a product of the insurance industry.

It is a copy of the auto insurance industry’s collision and comprehensive coverage.

In some cases, the driver might be required to pay a deductible!

Also, read the fine print very carefully before you sign on the dotted line of the rental car insurance agreement. The policies vary widely from company to company, and you should always read the policy for details that may not be verbally disclosed.

What are some more questions to ask before buying?

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A Chicago Tribune article on rental car insurance suggests that prospective travelers make two phone calls before making a decision on rental car insurance.

The first call should be directed to their personal car insurance company or insurance agent. It is imperative that they ask if their own insurance policy covers their rental car and if the coverage is any different for the rental vehicle.

Usually, the personal insurance with its deductibles and coverage should transfer to the rented car.

If you do not have adequate insurance or low coverage, you should ask if a rider could be added or if your insurance company could offer any form of gap coverage.

Also, remember to ask them about any stipulations about the length of the rental period. Some auto insurance companies might not cover your car rental beyond a certain designated number of days or weeks. This possible cutoff or limitation in coverage is particularly important to know if you travel often or could motivate you to change your return time to a day sooner.

The second question should be directed to your credit card issuer. Many credit card companies offer you rental car insurance coverage if you charge the rental amount to that particular credit card.

In some cases, the credit card company might not offer personal liability coverage for bodily injury or death.

If you are traveling on business, you should ask your company if your car rental will be covered by the company’s insurance policy since your personal auto insurance policy will not be applicable.

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Who should buy stand-alone car insurance for rentals?

Whether you are on vacation or traveling for business, driving in a new place makes you more vulnerable to accidents.

You can be even more at-risk for accidents if you are traveling to a new country, which has different road and traffic rules. A different country may very well have different insurance requirements, too, so you want to be well protected.

In most European countries, the rental costs are likely to cover insurance costs.

This is not applicable to American car rental agencies.

If you do not own a car and don’t have any non-owner car insurance, it is imperative that you buy rental car insurance from the rental agency or other trusted insurance source.

For a few dollars a day, not only will you have peace of mind, but in case of an accident, you will be covered for repair and medical bills.

If your personal car insurance policy has low liability limits, you should look into the option of buying additional insurance from the rental company or purchase it from other insurance sources.

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Why should you buy a policy for your rental car?

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If you are well covered by your personal auto insurance policy, homeowner’s policy, or credit card, it does not make financial sense to get rental car insurance. So if you have made the calls and know the coverage these sources provide for you, it makes sense for you to skip the additional rental car insurance.

Many car insurance companies will not cover any loss-of-use charges that the rental company will incur and pass on to you as the damaged car undergoes repair.

If you are driving out of the country, it might be necessary to purchase rental car insurance since your insurance company is likely to have limitations on coverage. Be sure to do the research by getting in touch with your insurance provider and credit card companies, but it can be likely that additional coverage will mean peace of mind.

With most homeowner’s insurance deductibles being relatively high, it makes sense to spend a small amount per day to cover the replacement costs of traveling necessities.

How can I buy rental car insurance?

Most people buy rental car insurance at the counter of the rental car agency. Waiting your turn standing in line behind sometimes irritated and impatient people can be a sweaty, nerve-wracking experience.

Many people are also using the Internet to buy stand-alone rental car insurance from online insurance vendors.

Consumers must examine all the terms and conditions thoroughly, research the company, and get answers to all questions that arise before signing the dotted line.

For a stress-free driving holiday or busy business travel, enter your zip code below into the FREE search box below to save on all types of quotes now!

References:

  1. https://www.naic.org/
  2. https://www.allstate.com/tools-and-resources/car-insurance/rental-car-insurance.aspx
  3. https://www.iii.org/media/updates/archive/press.736862/index.html
  4. https://www.ncadd.org/about-addiction/driving-while-impaired-alcohol-and-drugs
  5. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/purchase-rental-car-insurance-144808284.html
  6. http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/the-problem-solver/2010/07/is-car-rental-insurance-worth-it.html
  7. https://www.allstate.com/auto-insurance/delaware-auto-insurance-coverages.aspx
  8. https://www.360financialliteracy.org/Topics/Budgeting-Spending/Cars-Auto-Insurance/Understanding-Your-Personal-Automobile-Policy
  9. https://www.acceptanceinsurance.com/our-products/auto-insurance/non-owner-auto-insurance/
  10. https://www.progressive.com/homeowners/home-owners-insurance-policy-types/