Whether you are renting a car from a traditional car rental company or using a peer-to-peer car-sharing service, you’ll be offered options for various kinds of rental car insurance when you schedule your trip. Different types of car rental services offer varying types of insurance, and requirements vary from state to state. Your own personal insurance may even cover your rental car. Read on to learn how rental car coverage works, and find out if The General auto insurance covers your rental.

Do You Need Insurance to Rent a Car?

To determine if you need insurance to rent a car, consider your options. For one, if you already have auto insurance coverage for your personal vehicle, you might automatically be covered for your rental. Check with your insurer to find out if your policy covers rentals. But if you don’t own a car, you likely don’t have your own car insurance, so you’ll probably want to buy the insurance the rental service offers. If you get into an accident, you’ll be held responsible for damages to the car or property. Insurances, in that case, will be a significantly lower cost than the amount to pay for damages incurred or other types of fees.

Rental car insurance - woman shops for car rental using phone

Different Types of Rental Car Coverage

In general, when you rent from a traditional car rental company, you’ll see similar types of rental car coverage no matter where you rent. The common types of rental car insurance include:

  • Collision Damage Waiver AKA Loss Damage Waiver. This is often optional and is meant to relieve renters of responsibility if the car is damaged or stolen. The collision waiver is particularly helpful if your personal car is worth less than the car you are renting, even if you have personal auto coverage. The waiver isn’t actually a form of insurance, but it is usually included among the insurance offers from the rental company. It may cost from $10 to $15 per day, depending on the rental agreement.
  • Liability Insurance. This type of rental car insurance is the minimum amount of coverage required by the state. Depending on the state and the extent of the coverage, it could provide coverage if you are sued as a result of damaging property or injuring another person while driving the car. It may cost from $10 to $12 per day.
  • Personal Accident Insurance. This type of insurance covers both the driver and the passengers for any kind of medical costs incurred during a crash. It may or may not be necessary based on your own health insurance or your personal auto insurance, if applicable. It may cost about $2 per day.
  • Personal Effects Insurance. This type of insurance will reimburse you if any of your belongings get stolen from or damaged in the car. Sometimes homeowner’s or renter’s insurance will cover the loss of personal belongings from the rental car. It may cost from $3 to $4 per day.

Peer-to-peer rental services and car-sharing membership programs may also offer different types of insurance. Some services bake some coverage into the cost of the rental, so you can waive additional coverage. Make sure you read the fine print on all your agreements so that you aren’t expected to pay out of pocket unnecessarily.

Does Personal Auto Insurance Cover Rental Cars?

Before relying on your existing policy, be sure to check the type of coverage your auto insurance plan offers—it might include rental car coverage as outlined above, so you won’t have to buy extra insurance. Ensure your coverage includes collision or comprehensive insurance in addition to liability. If your policy only covers liability, you might still want to buy the insurance from the rental company, as it may not be enough. It is also important to find out whether your existing car insurance covers administrative fees, towing charges, or other fees.

Can I Use a Credit Card for the Cost of Rental Coverage ?

Sometimes credit cards offer supplemental car insurance as an added benefit. Contact your bank to find out what kind of coverage the card offers—you usually have to reserve the car with the card as well as contact the bank ahead of time to inform them that you intend to use the card for insurance if needed.

Does The General Car Insurance Cover Rentals?

Some personal car insurance covers rental cars with the same coverage as your personal vehicle. However, policies with The General do vary. Chat with one of our Customer Service representatives at 1-800-280-1466 to find out if your policy covers rental cars for your upcoming vacation or other needs.

If you are looking to get coverage on your personal vehicle as well as included rental car insurance, be sure to get a free car insurance quote from The General. You’ll be on the road with affordable car insurance in no time.