Are You Covered When You Rent a Car?

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A rental car is a great way to get around if you’re flying off to a far away location or even if you just don’t want to put a lot of miles on your own car on a long road trip. It’s also a great way to find yourself in deep financial trouble if you didn’t make sure you were covered and the unexpected happens. Here are a few things you need to think about before you rent that car.


The law requires all drivers to carry liability insurance. More importantly, if you cause an accident that results in property damage or someone being injured, you will be liable for all of the related costs. If you aren’t adequately insured, you may be forced to sell your home or even have to declare bankruptcy to pay these costs.

If you have your own car, your liability coverage may carry over to a rental car but be sure to check with your insurance company if you’ll be renting a different type of car or driving in another country. Most rental car insurance companies will also offer their own insurance that you can pay for. If you go that route, make sure the coverage is high enough to protect your assets in the event you are sued following an accident.

Accident Damage

Accident damage to your own rental car falls into a separate category of insurance than liability. It’s not legally required, but can you afford to buy the rental car if something happens to it? While you could in theory sue the other driver if someone else causes an accident, it may take some time to recover if you are able to at all. The best option is to see if your own insurance policy or credit card covers accident damage, and to take the rental car company’s coverage if not.


Many people think if something goes wrong with a rental car, the rental car company will come to their rescue. This simply isn’t true. If a rental car company offers roadside assistance, it usually requires that you agree to pay a daily fee for it before you leave on your trip. If you don’t take the coverage and something happens, you’ll be responsible for any emergency repairs or towing needed to get the car back to the rental car company.

Want to make sure you won’t be stranded? Be sure you always have the phone numbers for the rental car company and local towing companies before you go.

Image by belu_0205 from Pixabay

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