Rental Car Insurance: Needs and Watch Outs

Your car is in the shop due to an accident. Does your insurance policy include car-rental coverage?

Young woman in her car driving looking stressed. iStock

What is car-rental coverage?

This optional component of your auto insurance policy will reimburse you (up to a specific amount per day) for the cost of a rental car when a crash, fire, theft or other insurable event puts your car out of commission.

Why do you need it?

Collisions leave people without a car for about 11 days, on average—making it impractical to borrow a vehicle or get rides from someone else. A rental car can be a better option, and car-rental coverage will pay for all or some of the cost.

How much do you need?

This depends on the type of car you typically need. You might have a big family and need a minivan, or maybe you need a car with 4-wheel drive. In either case, make sure you choose enough car-rental coverage to reimburse you fully for the rental.


If you rent a car, reduce your chances of distracted driving by learning how to operate the controls before you put it in gear at the rental agency. You should know how to turn on the lights, turn signal and wipers; set the parking brake; and work the radio and navigation system. A few minutes learning to operate the rental will make you a safer driver when you take to the road.

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