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Useful information when purchasing a car rental insurance

This information is for customers renting a car in the United States. For information about car rental rental insurance in other countries, see the following links: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United Kingdom.

Please be sure you fully understand the US Car Rental Insurance requirements. VroomVroomVroom wants to make sure you're covered and have created this simple guide to assist you.

Car rental insurance is sometimes covered by:

  • Personal car insurance for your home vehicle
  • Credit card providers in the US
  • Personal travel insurance providers (see below paragraph*)

You'll need to find out if you already have car rental insurance from one of the above sources. If you discover that you don't have one yet or or you're not sure, you can purchase insurance at the rental counter.

*  Reminder: If you purchase travel insurance before traveling to the US please take your time to read the fine print. Travel insurance usually refers to the excess of a rental car and not the car insurance itself. This means you may need to purchase insurance in order to have an excess level. Otherwise your rental will not have any excess limit which would deem your travel insurance worthless.

Types of Car Rental Insurances (These may differ from supplier to supplier)

CDW (collision damage waiver) and LDW (loss damage waiver).

This relieves you of financial responsibility for a rental vehicle damaged by an accident, vandalism or theft. It usually costs between $9 and $20 per day. Note: Although the sale of CDW was formerly prohibited in New York state, recent legislative changes now allow it.

SLI (supplemental liability insurance).

This provides excess liability coverage up to $1 million. It usually costs between $7 and $9 per day.

PAI (personal accident insurance).

This covers you and all passengers in your vehicle for any medical expenses. It's not necessary for most renters already covered by personal health policies or travel policies. It usually costs between $3 and $5 per day.

PEC (personal effects coverage).

This provides coverage for theft of or damage to personal items inside the rental car. Again, it replicates coverage already provided to many renters through their own insurance policies. It usually costs between $2 and $5 per day.

Car rental companies often make these options even more confusing by combining two or more into insurance packages. You could evaluate each product separately.

Steps to take regarding car rental insurance

  1. First determine if you have a need for the service
  2. Verify if you are not already covered by your credit card or personal travel insurance
  3. Finally, comparison-shop the costs of each car rental company. Note that in some travel hot-spots, the cost of taxes, fees, surcharges and optional insurance can easily exceed the daily base rate of the car rental itself.

Car Rental insurance information is a popular inquiry.

Here is an example...

Hi Richard, I read your "Car Rental Insurance Guide" for the US and what to get the insurance sorted. Will be hiring an SUV for about 10 days in a few weeks out of Spokane, Washington. Do you know of any personal travel insurance policies that include the cover?What do you use? I noticed that there are a few companies that offer dedicated rental car excess polices - are they who you would suggest? Just thought I might be able to get your thoughts on this, as I am sure you know the best way of doing it! 



My response...

Hi Andrew, hope you are well!

Many travel insurance policies include the cover. Most probably do, with different levels of cover. Keep in mind, NONE of them include car rental insurance. They only include insurance on the excess of the car rental insurance.

In Australia, car rental companies include insurance.

In USA, most car rental companies don't include insurance.

So, the point is, in USA you will probably be required to purchase car rental insurance at the car rental company, no matter what kind of pre paid cover you have.

Are pre-paid car rental excess cover helpful? Yes, they save you from having to pay for the "premium" priced cover at the car rental desk. It means you can get away with buying the bare minimum. The premium priced cover usually means the excess is simply reduced. You won't need this if you have already have pre-paid insurance that will cover a high excess cost.

I hope this has helped! It's much easier to understand in Australia, Sorry.

If you have any other questions, please let me know.


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