Car Rental Insurance Guide in the United States

US rental car insurance covers both private and rental cars, all car rental companies provide insurance that covers various things, however in the United States what is covered, and the cost of insurance varies between companies and states.

If you are renting within the United States, you may be privileged to have insurance cover most situations, without any excess to pay. This means if you have an accident, or faced with theft, you don’t have to worry about spending.

What Will Be Insurance-Covered?

There is no stipulated list of what is covered as it varies between locations and hiring companies. For instance, some hiring companies don’t cover tires and windscreens; others may not provide Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI) in case of third party casualty.

It’s natural to be scared of paying for any damages incurred while you are renting a car. If you don’t want to spend extra or get involved in a legal battle, it is essential that you first understand how US rental car insurance works before you drive a rental vehicle. This article contains a useful guide that will help renters avoid trouble.

Are You a US Resident?

If you have a personal vehicle and it is covered by an insurance policy, the policy will also cover your rented car. Existing travel insurance policy and credit card providers also cover rented cars in most cases. So before you hire a car, find out if any of the above already covers the rented car to avoid the extra cost.

Are You a Non-Resident?

If you are visiting the United States, it is vital for you to review the terms and conditions of your insurance policy. If you have travel insurance from your home county, it is not a guarantee because policies may vary within countries. Your travel insurance most times covers only the excess amount of a rental car, leaving out the car insurance itself. In such a situation, you will have to purchase an insurance policy to cover the car.

Top Six Things You Need To Know When Hiring a Car in The United States

  1. If you are a visitor, you’ll certainly be faced with two insurance options at a car dealership desk, Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), in some dealership, they will give you a third option Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI).
  2. CDW will cover you if there is a collision or the car gets damaged, while LDW covers you If the rental vehicle gets stolen. Finally, SLI covers damages done to the third party, (person, car, or property involved in the accident).
  3. If you reside within the US, your vehicle insurance will cover the rental car. Nevertheless, it is important you check details of the US rental car insurance. Some car rental companies may insist that you buy their policy. If you are faced with such a situation, don’t be persuaded to ensure you use your insurance coverage because most hiring companies want to make money from selling insurance.
  4. Sometimes, you may have both CDW and LDW covering the rental vehicle and still be liable for the excess. Excess sometimes can be hundreds of dollars, so it’s important you take note. You can eliminate the risk and reduce your car hire excess to zero if you purchase a stand alone US rental car insurance.
  5. SLI is compulsory for every renter in the United States, although it has not been strictly adhered to, each time you hire a vehicle without SLI, you are at risk losing money to claims from the third party. Many cars hire companies to provide SLI to protect their customers. Nevertheless, most travel insurance policies now include SLI. Before you rent a vehicle, check if your travel insurance has SLI included. If not, you can buy an additional policy from the car hiring company.
  6. This is the most important point, make sure you check the car you are about to hire before you drive it. Make sure each damage is recorded with supervision from the hiring company staff.

It can be very frustrating to stand in a car rental desk negotiating insurance. Most car hiring companies make conscious efforts to fraud you, you have to have apt knowledge of how car rental insurance works if you want to escape without wasting time, or buying the insurance you didn’t need. US rental car insurance is different from other countries, you might be used to it if you are a resident, but visitors may find some slight difference with the insurance policies in their countries. Don’t just assume, take note of these differences, so you’ll not end up losing money on insurance.

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Thanks for reading.

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