Personal auto insurance covers a variety of dangers you may face while operating your insured vehicle. Some of these coverages may extend to rental vehicles while, in other cases, you may need additional insurance.
What Does Rental Car Insurance Cover?
You will only be covered while driving a rental car with the coverage you already have on your personal auto insurance policy. For example, say you only have the minimum liability auto insurance requirements as dictated by your state.
In Virginia, this requirement includes:
- $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 in bodily injury liability per two or more people
- $20,000 in property damage liability
This means that your insurance will only cover you for liability up to these limits, whether you are driving a personal vehicle or a rental vehicle. Liability only covers damages and injuries you may cause someone else, meaning that damages to your personal vehicle (or the rental vehicle) will not be covered.
However, if you have a full coverage auto insurance policy, you should receive that full coverage on a rental car, as well. Full coverage auto insurance simply refers to the highest amount of coverage you can have on a single vehicle. These policies often include:
- Comprehensive Coverage: Comprehensive coverage provides compensation for damages to the vehicle caused by fire, wind, hail, lightning, smoke, theft, vandalism and other incidents not involving collision.
- Collision Coverage: Collision coverage provides compensation for damages to the vehicle caused by a collision with a vehicle or object.
- Liability: Liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damage you may cause someone else while operating the insured vehicle.
- Medical Payments Coverage: Medical payments coverage provides compensation for medical bills you and your passengers may face after an accident, no matter who caused the accident.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist: This insurance covers damages incurred in an accident involving another driver who is not carrying insurance.
- Roadside Assistance: Roadside assistance helps with trip interruptions such as running out of gas or needing to be towed.
As long as you have these coverages, you should generally be covered for an accident whether you are operating your personal vehicle or another vehicle with permission.
Can You Rent a Car Without Insurance?
Believe it or not, it is possible to rent a vehicle without carrying insurance. Rental vehicles are automatically covered with state mandated basic liability insurance so that the rental company is covered in case you cause an accident. However, additional insurance is often offered.
Say you only have basic liability and cause an accident, damaging the rental vehicle, another vehicle and injuring everyone involved. While the damages and injuries sustained by the other vehicle, driver and passengers, you and your rental vehicle (as well as any passengers) may not be covered.
This is why rental companies often offer additional coverage for those renting their vehicles. However, keep in mind that this insurance will only apply to the rental vehicle in question. It will not cover you beyond the vehicle and will stop once you are no longer renting that vehicle.
It is crucial to ask your insurance agent about additional car insurance coverages so that you can make sure that you are covered no matter when or where you drive.
Does Car Insurance Cover the Cost of a Rental Vehicle?
In some cases, your insurance provider may extend trip interruption coverage to help with the cost of a rental vehicle after your vehicle is rendered unusable after an accident. This helps you cover the cost of renting a car if you can’t drive your own car while it is in repairs, which can be crucial if you are struggling after an accident. In general, they can help cover the rental vehicle as long as your personal vehicle is being repaired or until you find a new vehicle. Although auto insurance may cover the damages involved, you could still be on the hook for your deductible and any expenses not covered by your insurance policy.
Ask your insurance agent about whether or not your policy covers the cost of a rental vehicle. You may want to add this coverage to your policy so that all of your bases are covered after an accident. If your insurance provider doesn’t offer additional rental car insurance, consider comparing quotes with different insurers to find the best policy for you and your vehicle.
Also Read: Does My Car Insurance Cover Rental Cars?
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