Life is complicated, insurance doesn't have to be.
You’re probably renting a vehicle for one of two reasons, and they
couldn’t be more different. One, you are planning a trip and want to
rent a vehicle to travel. Or, the not-so-fun reason, you were in a
car accident and your vehicle is in the shop for repairs.
Both of these situations prompt the question: Does my car
insurance cover rental cars?
The answer: If you have car insurance, most
insurance companies will extend coverage to your rental vehicle.
But, the amount of coverage they will extend is what you need to
figure out. We recommend calling your local, independent insurance
agent or company to examine your policy.
But, we get it. You have questions because insurance can be confusing.
So, here are our answers to common questions about
rental cars and car insurance:
1. Does my car insurance cover a rental car to travel?
If you’re traveling and need a
car, your car insurance will most likely extend to the rented
vehicle. But, each insurance company does this differently. At
Auto-Owners, we extend the most extensive coverage you have on any
personal vehicle on your policy, within our coverage territory
(U.S., Canada, and Mexico). Although, if you’re traveling to Mexico,
you will want to read more about how their government may not
recognize your insurance in section three, below.
For example, let’s say you rent
a vehicle to go on a weekend trip. The coverage that extends to your
rental is the same as your vehicle with the most coverage on your
policy. So, if you have a vehicle on your car insurance with collision
coverage, then collision coverage will extend to your rented vehicle.
If you don’t have collision coverage on any vehicle on your policy,
then collision coverage will not extend to your rental vehicle.
Again, the best way to be sure is to call your local,
independent agent that services your policy. This is one of the many
reasons we like working with independent agents. They make asking
questions, like this, as easy as making a quick phone call.
Do I need extra insurance when renting a car to
If you have car insurance, most insurance
companies will extend coverage to your rental vehicle. But, when
you get to the car rental counter you will most likely be
presented with extra protection options. Sometimes these overlap
with your existing personal car insurance coverages. This means
you could potentially pay for the same thing twice. Yuck!
To get a better idea of how your existing auto insurance
policy compares with the car rental protection plans, check out
our table below. (Remember, these will differ depending
on your insurance and the car rental company.)
So, here’s the alarming part. Sometimes, despite all these
options, there may still be gaps in your insurance for a rental vehicle.
At Auto-Owners, we offer three endorsements to avoid
these gaps and hidden fees:
For Auto-Owners policies,
this endorsement is included if you have the Personal
Automobile Plus Package.
3. Will I have coverage if I travel out of the country?
Generally speaking, you can travel to Canada, the U.S. and
its territories/possessions and your car insurance will still extend
to your rental vehicle.
However, if you travel to Mexico, you will probably want to
buy Mexican car insurance. Even if your car insurance policy states
that it extends to Mexico, the Mexican government does not recognize
U.S. car insurance. So, your insurance company may be able to pay
for covered damages if you’re in an accident, but the Mexican
government may still not recognize your insurance. Meaning, if you
are pulled over by the police, you could be fined and penalized for
not having insurance.
If you are planning a trip to Europe, you will likely need to
purchase rental car insurance. To be sure, check your insurance
company’s coverage territories. At Auto-Owners, we do not extend
coverage to Europe.
For many U.S.-based insurance companies, if you travel
overseas, your car insurance will not apply to a rental vehicle.
This means you will probably want to purchase insurance from the car
4. What questions should I ask my agent or
insurance company to determine if I have rental coverage?
5. What if somebody else drives my rental
If you include somebody that's not on your
car insurance policy on the rental agreement, things get more
complex. This is because their insurance coverage for rentals may
be different. If you are involved in an accident, and they are the
driver, it will likely be their insurance coverage that
So, even if you do your homework, if
your friend is also on the agreement, and has insurance that
doesn’t cover all these situations, you may find yourself
6. What types of rental vehicles will my insurance cover?
Most insurance will extend coverage to certain types or sizes
of vehicles. So, again check with your independent agent or
insurance company to see how your coverage compares. For Auto-Owners
policies, we extend coverage to rental vehicles that weigh 26,000
pounds or less. This generally includes most cars, SUVs, trucks and
even some rental moving vehicles.
7. Does my car insurance cover a rental car to replace
my damaged vehicle while it’s being repaired?
Broadly speaking, most car insurance policies include some
sort of coverage for a rental while your vehicle is being repaired.
Our auto insurance policies specify that if you are renting a
vehicle as a replacement, the coverages for the vehicle it is
Meaning, if the vehicle that is having repairs only has
liability coverage; then only liability coverage will extend to your
rental. If you have collision and liability coverage on that
vehicle, then your rented vehicle will also have collision and
liability coverage. You get the idea.
Again, not all insurance companies handle rentals the same,
so it’s a good idea to ask how your car insurance extends to rentals.
*Products referenced may not be
approved/available in all states. Limitations and conditions may
apply. Premium will be based on benefits chosen and policy rates
available at time of application.
Disclaimer: This article is not expert advice. The
analysis of coverage is in general terms and is superseded
in all respects by the Insuring Agreements, Endorsements,
Exclusions, Terms and Conditions of the Policy. Some of the
coverage mentioned in this material may not be applicable in
all states or may have to be modified to conform to
applicable state law. Some coverages may have been
eliminated or modified since the publishing of this
material. Discounts may not be available in all states.
Limitations and conditions may apply. Premiums will be based on
benefits chosen. Please check with your local Independent
Auto-Owners Insurance Agent for details."
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