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When Do I Need Rental Car Insurance?

There are more options for renting a car than ever before. Consumers renting from traditional car rental companies can generally choose from many types of coverages. Often, no additional car insurance coverage is necessary because your rental car is already covered by either your credit card or current auto insurance coverage.

Read your policies carefully or call your auto insurance agent to ask for details of coverage. Many auto policies may cover rentals with the same type and amount of coverage on your personal vehicle. But before you turn down the rental car company's offer, make sure you know what you're getting.

Collison Damage Waiver

When you are determining whether to purchase a damage waiver, there are two key considerations: (1) whether you are already covered by existing insurance and, if not, (2) whether the benefit of having a damage waiver is worth the cost. The CDW is sold by the rental car company and only applies to rented vehicles. This limits the rental car company from attempting to collect (from you) for any damage to the rented vehicle. We recommend that you call our office to verify that you have the correct coverage.

Rental Car Insurance

  • Always check your current auto insurance policy before you rent a car, to see what coverage you may already have that extends to a rental car.
  • If you carry comprehensive and liability coverage on your personal car, coverage will extend to your rental car.
  • If you're not currently insured with an auto policy, you'll need to at least buy coverage from the rental company before you hit the road.
  • Auto liability limit requirement may vary from state to state; if you buy minimum limits of coverage you may not have enough coverage in the state in which you rent your vehicle.
  • If you are only insured under a commercial auto policy, you will want to purchase the extra coverage.
  • If you are driving abroad (apart from Canada), your current car insurance won't cover you.

Whether you are looking for cost-effective insurance for basic needs like homeowners and automobile insurance, or something more specialized, such as insurance for RVs, motorcycles or boats, your Leap / Carpenter / Kemps agent can help you protect your assets without breaking your budget.

At Leap / Carpenter / Kemps, Merced County’s largest locally-owned agency, we have an experienced staff of professionals who understand that each family has unique insurance needs and that the one-size-fits-all approach just doesn’t work.


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