How Much Insurance Do I Need for a Rental Car?

If you've ever taken a trip or put your car in the shop for repairs, chances are you have rented a car. Anytime you rent a vehicle, you become liable for the damages to that car, as well as any damage or injuries you cause other people while driving it. Driving a rental car uninsured may put you at risk for big bills and major financial loss. In many cases, your own car insurance policy will extend to a rental car. If not, you can usually secure additional coverage by signing a loss/collision damage waiver (LDW or CDW) or paying for supplemental liability protection at the counter. With all that said, exactly how much insurance do you need to operate a rental car?

Liability Coverage

Liability damages are by far the biggest financial threat, as a single motor vehicle-related lawsuit can incur judgments for tens of thousands of dollars. At the bare minimum, you'll need enough liability insurance to meet the legal requirements in the state you will operate the vehicle. However, you may want to consider purchasing additional coverage, as you may still be responsible for any damages not covered by insurance.

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage relieves you of financial obligations related to the rental car itself if the car is damaged or totaled in an accident. Without collision protection, any scrapes, scratches or dings that weren't on the vehicle at the time of rental may be your financial responsibility. Not to mention, car rental companies can charge you additional fees for the 'loss of use' of the vehicle while it is being repaired.

Other Protection

Insurance may also be available to cover your personal losses while operating a rental vehicle. This includes accident protection that pays for medical expenses stemming from an auto accident. You can also elect coverage that helps pay for the loss or theft of personal belongings inside the rental vehicles.


You may not know it, but chances are your personal auto insurance policy provides coverage and financial protection while you are operating a rental vehicle. That means that you can forego the expensive daily insurance charges incurred through the car rental company for coverage that you already have.

If you do not have auto insurance or you aren't sure that your coverage protects you when driving a rental vehicle, contact your local insurance agency or call 1-800-INFINITY.

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