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Using a Credit Car to Insure a Rental Car

Here's what you need to know...
  • When you are renting a car, you are required by law to have auto insurance on it just as you would for any vehicle that you are driving.
  • If you have a credit card that pays for your rental car insurance, then you need to use that card when renting the car or the coverage won’t be in effect.
  • If you choose to purchase rental insurance from the rental car company, you can charge that to your card as well.

Don’t assume that you have coverage already via your primary car insurance coverage. You need to check your policy and make sure that you have coverage in place.

If not, then here are some of your options.

Compare car insurance quotes for rental coverage by entering your ZIP code above!

Do you need to purchase rental vehicle insurance?

Asian beautiful woman driving car portrait

Although rental car insurance is often required before consumers are allowed to rent a car, you don’t always need to purchase a separate policy. Your existing car insurance policy may be able to be extended or transferred over to your rental car.

This is not a fact that rental car companies like to tell customers because it is not profitable for them.

The Insurance Information Institute details what types of questions drivers should ask about car rental insurance when they go to rent a car.

You may need to purchase a rental car policy if you have a restricted driver’s license, or if you are under the age of 25. Anyone that is considered to be a higher insurance risk will need to purchase rental car insurance, even if a personal car insurance policy is in effect.

Ultimately, you will need to comply with whatever rules the particular car rental company you are working with has set forth.

Car rental insurance is an optional service that is offered by nearly every car rental company in the U.S.

Can you get rental car insurance quotes?

Since most car rentals only last for a short period of time, most consumers don’t have any idea of how much money they are really paying. You can shop for car rental insurance and compare rates just as you would if you were looking for a new policy for your car.

Drivers are able to get quotes online, call up rental car insurance agents, and even drop or add coverage at will, so long as there are no lapses in coverage.

All of this is possible provided that you let your car rental company know that you will be using your own rental car insurance insurer.

It is a good idea to start looking at car rental insurance quotes before you secure a rental.

You can provide the rental car insurance company with somewhat generic information on the vehicle that you want to insure, but you might not get as accurate of a quote.

Use Your Credit Card to Buy Insurance from the Rental Car Company


If you don’t have auto insurance already, or your current policy does not cover car rentals, then one option available to you is to purchase insurance from the rental company. This insurance can be expensive, however, and many people forgo this insurance because of cost.

Some seasoned travelers believe that people who purchase insurance from a car rental company are naive to believe that they need this additional coverage; however, here is another consideration:

If you purchase auto insurance from the rental car company and you have an accident, the rental car company pays.

Even if you have insurance that covers rental cars, if you purchase the rental car company’s plan, then your insurance company doesn’t even have to be notified.

How does this benefit you? If you aren’t making a claim with your insurance company then your rates aren’t going to increase.

Perhaps, if you get a ticket or points on your license, you might see a slight increase; but in general, it won’t affect your rates at all.

This could actually equal a significant amount of savings for you depending on the accident. For example, if you have cause an accident that totals two vehicles and sends one person to the hospital, you could see your premiums almost double.

In a year, that could equal $720 or more and rates typically don’t decrease significantly until 3 years after the accident occurred.

If you compare that to the cost of paying the rental company directly for rental car insurance, you will see that there is real value here.

It is important that you understand the coverage you are buying since some rental companies will not cover dings, windshield damage etc.

Some only provide collision coverage, which means that you need to find liability coverage from another source.

Use Your Credit Card “Extras” to Get Rental Car Coverage

Many credit card companies will provide you with rental car coverage under the condition that you use that card to pay for your rental car.

Just like with an insurance company, if you have an accident, you should call your credit card company the same day of the accident in order to make a claim. If you wait too long, you risk not getting covered for the accident and paying for the damage out of pocket.

In addition, take advantage of any discounts your credit card company offers.

If you have a rewards program that discounts rental cars, use it. There is no reason for you to pay full price for your rental car or for your insurance if you don’t have too.

Traveler’s Insurance for Rental Cars


An often overlooked option for rental car insurance is through insurance companies that provide traveler’s insurance. Now, before we move ahead, if you are renting a rental car for one or two days, this isn’t going to be a real benefit for you.

If, however, you are driving to California from Florida for two weeks, then a traveler’s insurance policy can be beneficial.

Traveler’s insurance is meant to be used in this fashion and is available for people who are traveling from one week to a full year.

This option can end up saving you a lot of money if you don’t have your own insurance policy (perhaps you don’t own a vehicle of your own) and your credit card doesn’t offer any type of coverage for rental insurance.

In addition to getting rental car insurance, you can purchase life and health insurance through a company that sells traveler’s insurance. If you are traveling out of the country and you want all of these options, you will see a savings if you purchase them all from the same company.

Before you purchase traveler’s insurance, make sure that you shop around and check the reputation for each company.

There are some excellent companies that sell traveler’s insurance, but there are also some that take advantage of travelers and don’t do so well when it comes to paying claims.

Non-Owner’s Insurance for Car Rentals

There is a lot of controversy about buying insurance through a rental car company. If you break down their costs annually, it comes to $10,950 a year for coverage.

If you rent often then this option is not affordable. In this case, you may want to consider a non-owners insurance policy in lieu of purchasing rental car insurance directly from the rental company.

A non-owners policy provides you with coverage for vehicles that you don’t own.

Typically, you can only purchase liability coverage, which means that only the vehicle that you hit will get the needed repairs; however, you can look around for insurance companies that offer collision insurance as well.

Evaluate Your Car Insurance for Rental Cars

If you already own a vehicle and your insurance company doesn’t cover rental cars, then you will want to consider switching insurance companies. This doesn’t have to be a complex process, just make sure you don’t cancel your current policy before you have a new policy in place.

What’s more, most insurance companies will call your old insurance company and start the cancellation process for you.

You will have to sign some documents, which can be done electronically, but you don’t have to personally talk to anyone at all if you don’t want to.

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Saving Money on Rental Car Insurance

You may end up finding that you are paying far more for your insurance than you should be during this process and making a switch might end up saving you money.

If you aren’t sure if you are getting the best rates or you want to know what your options are for rental insurance then it’s time for you to use our free quote tool.

By using the free quote tool, you are presenting yourself with the opportunity to save money.

Insurance rates actually change every month and while it isn’t recommended that you switch more than once a year (it’s even better if you stay with a company for 2 years or longer), you owe it to yourself to find out if you are paying more than you should.

Some insurance companies will automatically reduce your rates when the time comes for you to re-sign with them while other insurance companies simply charge more because they feel that it is worth it to have their excellent customer service or their high percentage of claims payout.

Simply put your ZIP code into the FREE car insurance quotes tool at the bottom of the page to compare rates today!

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