Do You Need to Buy Additional Insurance When Renting a Car? 

ELI5: Negligence

Do You Need to Buy Additional Insurance When Renting a Car?  

If you’re renting a car, you’ll probably be offered some “extra insurance”—but do you really need it? Also, what about your insurance? Will that cover a rental car? Or only under certain conditions? If you’re wondering whether or not you should buy the insurance, don’t stop reading! 

Is It Really Insurance? 

They call it insurance, but it’s not technically insurance—at least not like the kind you’ve got. When you pay for auto insurance, you’re paying them to provide you coverage up to a certain limit. For example, if you have a $50,000 bodily injury policy, and you cause a car crash, your insurance will cover the other parties’ medical expenses up to $50,000. It should be noted that every car rental company is different but, in general, their optional insurance policy isn’t really insurance in the traditional sense. Instead, you’re usually paying the rental car company to agree not to come after you if the car is damaged under certain circumstances. 

Is It Really Necessary? 

While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to anything legal, there aren’t many good reasons to purchase this extra insurance. This is because your regular car insurance policy will usually cover you if you’re in an accident while renting a car. However, it’s important for people to know that this does not apply in permissive use situations. Permissive use refers to a situation where someone else gives you permission to drive their car. Insurance usually protects the car, not the driver. When you’re driving your friend’s car, their insurance is going to pay for any damages that the driver of the car causes. If you borrow your friend’s car, but it’s not insured, your insurance is not likely to cover you. So, while your insurance will likely provide coverage when you rent a car from a legitimate rental car company, it’s probably not going to cover you while you’re driving your friend’s car. 

The Credit Card Company 

When you pay for a rental car using a credit card, some credit cards protect their consumers with a rental car insurance policy. If you’re in an accident while driving a rental car, this may be something you want to look into. While it isn’t uncommon for credit card companies to do this, it’s not guaranteed that every credit card company will offer this benefit. Furthermore, there are limitations to the policy they’re offering.  So, don’t take it for granted that your credit card will provide you with additional insurance, and don’t think that it will always cover you every time. 

Uninsured Motorist’s Insurance 

If you’re in a car crash, and the person who caused the car crash doesn’t have insurance, you might be straight out of luck if you don’t have uninsured motorist’s insurance on your own policy. While you’re not likely to face liability for the property damage the rental vehicle sustained, you might not be able to recover compensation for the injuries the negligent party caused. This is because there needs to be a source of recovery—in most cases, this is the insurance company. The average person does not have thousands of dollars lying around that can be used to compensate the victims of their negligence. Most of the “insurance policies” that rental car companies sell do not include this type of coverage, or any type of coverage for your medical expenses. Even if you did buy the rental car company’s “insurance”, you’d likely be relying on your own policy to cover any injuries you sustain due to an uninsured motorist. 

Exceptions 

There are situations where you might want to look into getting the rental car’s insurance policy. If your policy is not going to cover you by itself, it may be a good idea to explore the rental car service’s options. For example, there are services that allow customers to rent luxury sports cars—most of have six-figure price tags. If your insurance policy isn’t going provide nearly enough coverage, it may be a good idea to see what kind of policies the rental car company is offering. Make sure you read the fine print and that you understand what you’re actually buying when you purchase their “insurance policy.” You’ll need to know what kind of protection you actually have in the event of an accident. 

Injured? We’re Here to Help 

If you have sustained injury in an accident, Moxie Law Group is here for you. Contact us today to get started on your claim with a free consultation. 

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