Does Your Travel Insurance Cover Rental Car Damage?

You’ve got your flight booked, your hotel room reserved, and a list of adventures you want to embark on all ready to go. Now, how are you planning to get around once you’re there? 

Jump Ahead

In some places, public transit is an option. In most cities, you can get taxis or a car service. Perhaps you can even walk and bike around if you’re headed somewhere relatively small. In most destinations, however, you’re going to need a rental car.

For travelers over the age of 25, renting a car is a relatively easy process. When arriving at the rental car desk, there’s suddenly the pressure to add collision insurance to the package. When you have a professional warning you about how much it could cost you to get into a collision without their coverage, it can be tempting to give in and get it. But if you’ve already purchased travel insurance with rental car collision coverage, it’s likely an extra and unnecessary expense.

Which begs the question…is damage to your rental car covered under your travel insurance?

Most comprehensive travel insurance policies offer an optional add-on car rental insurance rider for an additional fee. It’s usually called Rental Car Damage coverage or Rental Car Collision coverage in the fine print. 

This is typically cheaper than what you’ll pay for coverage offered at the rental car desk. Most of the time, your car insurance limit will be a lot higher through the travel insurance add-on than when you go with the rental company’s insurance.

blue outline of arrow pointing right What’s Covered by Travel Insurance for Rental Cars?

In terms of what’s covered by your travel insurance when it comes to rental cars, policies with rental car insurance generally cover anything outside of your control that causes damage to the rental vehicle. Most policies will offer $25,000 – $50,000 of rental collision damage.

If your rental vehicle becomes damaged due to the following, travel insurance could come into effect:

  • Collision
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Windstorm
  • Fire
  • Hail
  • Flood

If your locked rental car is broken into while you’re traveling, the travel insurance add-on will cover any damage or vandalism to the vehicle. Travel insurance coverage most likely will also include personal effects coverage to reimburse you for the items that were stolen. To ensure this type of coverage, always make sure the car is locked when you leave the vehicle.

woman signing documents while she sits inside her rental car

If you get into an accident in your rental car, your policy with pay for the necessary repairs needed to restore any damage the vehicle experienced. Of course, each policy has a limit to how much it will cover. This can be found in the schedule of benefits

Pro Tip: Another big bonus that comes with getting collision insurance through your travel insurance provider is that if you do damage your rental car, it won’t impact your vehicle insurance rates at home. As many travelers have learned the hard way, getting into an accident can drastically increase your monthly insurance fees, so this is the best way to avoid that.

blue outline of arrow pointing right What’s NOT Covered by Travel Insurance for Rental Cars?

The most important thing to note is that this insurance does not cover damages to the other vehicle or any non-policyholder medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident. 

Finally, the rental collision insurance add-on won’t cover all types of vehicles. Also, some rental companies simply won’t accept outside insurance. If you’re planning to rent a motorcycle or RV, for example, you’ll likely need a particular insurance policy through the rental company. But when it comes to your basic rental car, your best bet is to look into which companies will take outside coverage. If they do, then select the add-on rental insurance option when you choose your travel insurance plan on Yonder. It’ll save you a whole lot of time, money, and worry.

To compare travel insurance policies with this specific type of benefit, simply run an instant quote and select the filter displayed below.

blue outline of arrow pointing right Do I Need Rental Car Insurance?

You’re not alone in needing some extra help deciding whether or not to accept or decline rental car insurance. We’re here to make the decision-making process a little bit easier. Here are some things to consider before getting rental car travel insurance.

Check Your Existing Auto Insurance

Usually, your existing auto insurance covers damage to your insured car, as well as to a short-term car rental. However, this auto insurance coverage is typically limited to accidents in the U.S. and maybe Canada. This means it won’t cover any car rentals in South America, Europe, or anywhere else. If you plan on going out of the country, make sure to check your coverage before leaving for your trip. 

If your auto insurance doesn’t protect you from rental car damage, then some comprehensive travel insurance plans allow you to add on rental insurance. Generally, picking this coverage protects you from any damage or loss to the rented vehicle up to the stated limit on the plan. 

Check Your Credit Card

Before heading out on your trip, assess what coverage is offered through your credit card company. Many credit cards offer rental car insurance, including American Express, MasterCard, and Visa. However, the rental car needs to be booked on the credit card to take advantage of the rental car insurance coverage. 

a rental car parked next to a river with beautiful mountains behind it

If your credit card does not offer any coverage, then rental car insurance is available through most travel insurance plans. Most rental car riders offer $25,000 to $50,000 in rental collision damage. 

Consider All Types of Coverage You Need

While rental car insurance protects the rental car itself, it does not cover:

  • Any damage to another car
  • Medical care for anyone who was hurt in an accident involving the rental car
  • damage or loss to any personal property inside the vehicle at the time of the accident.

Luckily, your comprehensive travel insurance policy likely offers reimbursements for any emergency medical care needed for anyone who is listed on the travel insurance plan. Check out our popular FAQ articles that answer your other travel insurance questions.

blue outline of arrow pointing right How to Purchase Rental Car Travel Insurance

It’s important to verify with your car rental agency to see if they accept third-party insurance. If they do, then the easiest way to get rental car damage coverage for your next trip is through Yonder. You’ll just need to run a quote online and select the filter “Rental Car Collision” on the quote results page. This way, you’ll only see policies that include this optional upgrade. 

Note that the policies displayed will also include medical, evacuation, and travel loss/delay coverage. If you insure any of your nonrefundable trip costs then trip cancellation and trip interruption would be included too.

Once you have a policy with rental car coverage included, you might need to show proof of insurance when picking up your rental car. We recommend printing out the schedule of benefits and the section of your travel insurance certificate that shows the terms of the rental car damage coverage. This should be what the rental agency needs to see to give you the keys to your rental car.

Our team of friendly humans would be happy to help you find a policy with rental collision insurance so you can plan your trip with peace of mind. Give us a call or shoot us an email to walk through which travel insurance plan has the rental car benefits you need.

Kate's authoritative voice in travel writing is backed by years of extensive travel experience, allowing her to infuse her writing with the tips and tricks she has gathered over time. This wealth of experience enhances her ability to write authoritatively on travel-related topics.

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