Skip to main content

Car Rental Insurance: What’s covered when you’re on vacation?

By August 16, 2021No Comments

Summer is almost over and, for some of us, that means one last summer vacation. Which means you might be looking for a car rental.  If you’re renting a car, make sure you do your homework ahead of time and confirm that you have adequate auto insurance in place.

One question we hear often is…

“Does car insurance follow the car or the driver?”

The answer isn’t so cut and dry and many people find themselves asking this when preparing to rent a car and drive in a new place.

The first thing we recommend before traveling is to review your existing auto insurance policy before you leave, so you don’t feel pressured at the rental car counter to add on extra unnecessary fees. You may also want to call the rental car company ahead of time to find out what options they provide and the associated cost. The last thing you want to discover on your vacation are hidden costs.  Many people may not know that their auto insurance typically provides the same kind of coverage offered by the car rental company. If you already have collision coverage or comprehensive coverage, you’ve probably covered most of your bases.

Before you travel, find out if your policy extends to rental cars and covers:

  • Car rental company fees, such as admin fees, towing, and loss-of-use while the vehicle is being repaired
  • Diminished value claims
  • Full value of the rental car in case the car is totaled
  • Being in the custody of a valet parking service
  • It may actually be beneficial to use the car rental company’s insurance if you’re traveling outside the U.S., renting an RV or large truck, or if you discover that your primary coverage doesn’t include some of the items above


Be sure to also check with your credit card company as well.  Some credit cards offer car rental insurance that can extend secondary insurance to items not covered by your primary insurance. Rules are different when traveling for business or using a business credit card and terms vary by company so make sure you review that as well before you go.

Typically, you need to be ready to show proof of insurance at the car rental counter, so make sure you print any necessary documents beforehand. If you can’t show proof, the car rental company may require that you purchase their insurance.

If you’re not sure about your auto coverage, reach out to us today for a quote or we’re happy to review your existing policies to give you peace of mind so all you have to worry about is what to pack.