Many of us have been there: You’re trying to rent a vehicle and the associate asks you whether you want to purchase car insurance for your trip.
Normally, if you own a vehicle and carry insurance on it, it doesn’t make sense to spend the extra money (up to $40 a day) to be covered by the rental car company’s insurance, since you’re already covered by your own.
But what if you don’t have a vehicle? Can you rent a car without car insurance?
Can I rent a vehicle without car insurance?
The answer to that question is “yes.” You can rent a car without having car insurance. In fact, that’s one of the reasons why rental car companies offer insurance in the first place.
The thing is, rental cars are automatically insured — but only at the bare minimum requirements. That’s why the rental car companies offer supplemental insurance.
If you don’t already have car insurance, you could be opening yourself up to great risk if you don’t buy the right kind of supplemental insurance. Let’s go through the options.
Rental car companies usually present four options of coverage: Collision Damage Waiver, which waives damages in the event of a wreck or if the vehicle is stolen; Supplemental Liability Protection, which protects others in accidents you may cause; Personal Accident Insurance, which covers you and your passengers; and Personal Effects Coverage, which reimburses you for personal items stolen out of the rental car.
Because liability-only insurance isn’t enough to safely cover your rental if it incurs damage, you’ll likely need some kind of combination for peace of mind. But there are some other key things to know before you sign the dotted line.
3 things to know before buying rental car insurance
What does the rental car company’s insurance cover? Most of these companies will likely only cover the state minimum required liability insurance — but you need to ask. Requirements may differ slightly in some states.
Many credit cards offer car rental insurance: Several Chase cards, like the United MileagePlus Explorer, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve (business rentals only), and Chase Ink Plus (business rentals only), offer insurance coverage. The thing is, you have to use the card for the rental. To know what’s exactly covered and what the exclusions are, call your credit card company before you rent.
You may already be covered: If you live with your family, their regular auto insurance policy may already cover you. Also, if you have health insurance through your job (or again, your family) you likely already have insurance that covers at least you in an accident in which you’re injured. In some cases, travel insurance may cover rental cars as well.