Do I Need Insurance to Rent a Car?

do i need insurance to rent a car

If you’re thinking about renting a car, you might ask yourself, “do I need car insurance to rent a car?” The answer is yes, you do need insurance when renting a car. There are different ways to go about it, however.

Your Own Auto Insurance Policy

You can first contact your own independent insurance agency (or us here at BOLT Insurance Agency) to see the amount of coverage you have on your own car. Often, your own personal auto insurance policy would cover a rental car if you’re using it for pleasure and not for business. Keep in mind, if you don’t have collision and comprehensive coverage already on your own car, you’re not covered if your rental is damaged in an accident or stolen.

You must have collision and liability coverage. You’re required by law to have liability insurance and this doesn’t exclude rental cars. If you get into a car crash without this coverage, you could be liable for any injuries and damages.

Rental Company Coverage

Typically, when you go to rent a vehicle, the rental company will try to sell you on their insurance coverage. They will sell you liability and collision coverage, but will also sell you on supplemental insurance to cover the costs of any damage to the car and medical expenses.

You don’t need their insurance if you already have your own since it can be expensive. However, if you don’t have this coverage, you can get it through the car rental company. Just be sure to check your own policy first so you’re not paying for something you already have.

Credit Card Insurance

Most times, you have coverage through your credit card. All four of the major credit card issuers provide some type of rental car insurance. These four major issuers include:

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • Discover
  • American Express

Contact your issuer to be sure you have the coverage since some, particularly MasterCard, issue credit cards that don’t provide this coverage.

To ensure you have coverage for your rental car with your credit card, you need to decline the rental company’s supplemental collision coverage and charge the entire rental on your card. If you sign up for this coverage through the rental company, your credit card company won’t cover you.

Things to keep in mind when insuring your rental car are that your deductibles and limits you have on your own auto insurance policy will still apply to your rental car if you’re driving for personal use. Your insurance coverage might not cover your rental car if you’re using it for business or commercial purposes.

For more advice on the question: “Do I Need Car Insurance to Rent a Car?”, contact our insurance experts here at bolt insurance Agency. Call 1-800-216-4171, email us at, or chat with us online.