Jessica Sautter has a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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Natasha McLachlan is a writer who currently lives in Southern California. She is an alumna of California College of the Arts, where she obtained her B.A. in Writing and Literature. Her current work revolves around auto insurance guides and informational articles. She truly enjoys helping others learn more about everyday, practical matters through her work.

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Reviewed by Natasha McLachlan
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UPDATED: May 18, 2021

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A rental car is no different from any other vehicles on the road in America; all are required to have auto insurance. You can opt to use your car insurance or supplement it to insure the rental. However, you should take the time to research and understand the different covers available, how each works and if your insurance is necessary before approaching the rental company.

Types Of Supplemental Coverage By Car Rental Companies

You must be wondering what kind of insurance do you need to rent a car? Renting a vehicle and ensuring that it has an auto coverage can be complicated for some driver. Fortunately, most rental companies offer different supplements covers which fall into the following categories:

Basic Liability: It enhances the liability of the coverage provided by the policy, and this can even be more than a million dollars. While most states have the liability as a requirement, the set minimums may fail to be enough to meet the damage costs of an accident.

Collision Damage Waiver: It is also known as Loss Damage Waiver. The cover protects you in case the car is stolen or damaged and if you have no legal infractions.

Personal Effects Coverage: It applies to the theft of items that may be in the vehicle. The coverage is relatively inexpensive and may not be necessary if you have renters’ or homeowners’ insurance.

Personal Accident Insurance: It is medical coverage that applies to treatment, hospital stays, and ambulances. It may not be necessary if you have an active health insurance policy.

Get different quotes from different providers and compare them to know how much insuring the rental car will cost.

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How Does Insurance Work On A Rental Car?

Need Insurance to Rent a CarTaking the auto cover works the same for rental cars as it does on a one you own. The principles remain unchanged in the event you are in an accident, or the vehicle is vandalized, stolen or damaged. The cost of any issue that is not under the cover is paid out of pocket.

Can I rent a car without personal insurance?

All in all, it is possible to rent a car without personal insurance, as long as you have other types of auto insurance. For instance, a non-owner cover can suffice for the rental and provides adequate coverage at low rates. So, if the top car rental companies such as Enterprise, Hertz, Budget, Avis are reluctant to allow you to give you a vehicle based on insurance issues, you can use your non-owners’ policy.

Alternatively, you can opt to purchase additional coverage from the rental company if your policy is inadequate.

Do You Need Insurance To Rent A Car?

Yes, you do. You cannot rent a car without insurance; many rental companies will not give out their vehicles to clients unless that require proof of adequate and active auto coverage. Subsequently, the required minimum amount of coverage, as per the state’s regulations, may not suffice if does not include collision and comprehensive cover.

Why Is This Important?

Your auto insurance coverage may not be enough if the rental car is damaged in an accident that you are at fault of, or if it is stolen or vandalized. As such, it is in your best interest to buy insurance for the rental that provides adequate coverage. More often than not, the policy is sold as part of the rates paid for renting the car or truck.

Driving a vehicle without insurance is prohibited and against the law; be it your car or a rental. Therefore, you should research to know about the different insurance policies you can consider before you go to the rental counter.

A Car Rental Checklist To Follow

When you are looking to rent a car, you should understand a variety of things in order to find the right one and to have the best experience possible. Below, we will be going over a car rental checklist that you will want to follow.

#1 Tip: Prior To Renting.

Checklist for Rental CarFigure Out What Type Of Vehicle You Need: One of the most important things that you will be doing when you are looking to rent a car is to figure out what type of vehicle you need. This will primarily be determined by the size and space needed for your trip. By figuring this out beforehand, you will know exactly what type of vehicle to look for when you are looking to rent a car.

#2 Tip: Coupons & Promo Codes Help

If you are looking to save money on your car rental, you will want to be sure to check for coupons and promo codes prior to renting one. There are a lot of different discounts and promo codes that you could find simply browsing the Internet that will offer you hundreds of dollars of potential savings. You can even use shopping comparison websites to ensure that you are getting the absolute best price for the car rental service.

#3 Tip: Saving Money.

Another great way to save money on your car rental would be to utilize credit card rewards points for your rental service. A lot of credit cards offer reward redemptions that you might be able to use to cut down on the total cost of the rental service. If you have enough points, you might even be able to rent a car without spending any money out of pocket with a sufficient point redemption.

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Common Mistake To Avoid:

  • Paying For Unnecessary Supplemental Insurance.

When you are renting a car, one of the most important things that you will want to understand prior to driving off of the lot would be the coverage that you have. A lot of rental agencies will provide extra insurance that you can purchase as an add-on expense.

However, for most, these extra services are not going to be required. A lot of people will be using a credit card for their rental car needs. Prior to renting a car, always check your credit card benefits and coverage details in order to ensure that you are not paying extra for a service already provided by your credit card provider.

In order to actually receive the benefits from your credit card provider, you must flat-out refuse coverage from the rental car agency. All of the major credit card providers offer rental insurance but the benefits and coverage will vary from card to card. That is why it is so important to figure out what type of coverage you get prior to renting a car.

  • Not Refilling The Gas After Your Trip.

After your trip prior to turning your car back into the rental service, you should fill the gas tank up. You are required to turn the car in with a full gas tank as required in the terms of the rental agreement that you signed. If you bring in the rental car with anything less than a full tank of gas, they will charge you for a full tank which means you will be paying significantly more than it would have cost to simply fill it up yourself.

There is a lot that you are going to want to consider when you are looking to rent a car. Follow the car rental checklist above with the tips and mistakes to avoid and you should be able to rent a car without much issue and save money while you’re at it.