Does car insurance cover rental cars?

Your car insurance does cover rental cars, but buying temporary coverage from the rental car company can be advantageous in certain situations. Filing a rental car accident claim can raise your rates, so consider purchasing rental car insurance to avoid higher premiums. If your car breaks down, you'll need rental reimbursement coverage for your car insurance to cover a rental car.

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D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Jul 24, 2021

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The Highlights

  • Your car insurance policy will typically cover you if you get in an accident in a rental car.
  • Rental car companies often offer insurance as well, which can be advantageous in some situations.
  • If your car breaks down, you’ll need rental reimbursement coverage to get your car insurance provider to pay for a rental car.

If you’re on vacation in a new city, you’re probably going to rent a car at some point to get around. You may be wondering, “does car insurance cover rental cars?” and what to do if you get in an accident in a rental. 

Renting a car is already expensive as it is, and when rental car companies offer you insurance options, the bill can be too much. You want to make sure your car insurance policy covers you while you’re driving a rental without having to spend more.

Keep reading below to learn if you can use your auto insurance for a rental car, if car insurance covers rental car repairs, and if your car insurance will cover a rental. But before you do, enter your ZIP code into our free comparison tool above to find affordable car insurance near you.

Can I use my car insurance for a rental car?

Fortunately, with most of the best insurance companies, your car insurance policy extends to almost any rental car you drive.

However, most liability-only policies won’t cover damages that you cause to your rental car if you get an accident. You’ll need collision coverage and comprehensive coverage to make sure you’re fully protected when driving a rental car.

In some cases, it may be beneficial to take the insurance covered offered by the rental company. For example, if you don’t want to file a claim with your auto insurance company and risk a potential rate hike, you can file a claim against the rental car company instead.

You may want to consider the rental car company insurance if you have a high deductible on your car insurance policy. You could end up paying a lot less with rental car insurance. Since rental car insurance is temporary, this is something to consider.

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Does car insurance cover rental cars for repairs?

You know that you can drive a rental car with your car insurance policy, but does your personal car insurance cover rental cars for repairs as well?

Yes, as long as you have collision and comprehensive coverage your car insurance policy should cover damages and repairs to your rental if you get into an accident.

However, if the rental car is a more expensive model than your insured vehicle, you could pay a lot out of pocket. In this situation, it might be best to go with the rental company’s temporary auto insurance policy. You might have to pay a little extra upfront, but you won’t risk raising your rates, paying a higher deductible, or paying more out of pocket if you damage the car.

If your car insurance policy has low coverage limits, you could raise them with rental car insurance. As always, it depends on the scenario. If you’re not happy with your current coverage limits, compare car insurance quotes from other companies to find a better deal.

If my car breaks down will insurance cover a rental?

That depends on your policy and the type of accident. For example, if you are not at fault for the accident, the at-fault party’s insurance company will typically pay for a rental car if your car is not drivable. However, this can take some time so you may not be able to get your rental immediately.

As for your car insurance policy, you’ll need to have rental reimbursement coverage for your policy to pay for a rental car. Rental reimbursement is not included in a standard insurance policy and must be purchased as an add-on when you buy car insurance.

You’ll also have to have collision or comprehensive coverage to qualify for rental reimbursement coverage. Even then, you’ll likely have a set coverage limit for your rental. Car insurance companies typically set rental reimbursement limits of $30 a day up to a $1,000 total, but your coverage will vary based on your provider.

If your current provider doesn’t provide rental reimbursement, compare car insurance rates from other companies to find one that does. Start here with our free comparison tool below. Enter your ZIP code to get quotes for affordable car insurance that covers rental cars from multiple companies near you.

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