Last Updated on May 1, 2024 by Chris

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Do you need extra car rental collision insurance? If you’re never sure whether you should buy insurance at the car rental counter, here’s how to figure out what the smart move is.

When You Don’t Need Extra Car Rental Collision Insurance

If you’re like most Americans, you can skip the collision damage waiver offered at the rental counter, as it likely duplicates coverage you already have. This guideline applies if you own a car, since it’s highly likely that your car insurance extends to rental cars. To be sure, call your insurance company and ask:

  • Do I have collision and comprehensive coverage on my policy?
  • Does my collision and comprehensive coverage extend to rental cars?
  • Are there any limits on the type of cars I can rent?
  • Does my policy cover Loss Of Use and Diminution of Value?
  • What risks do I run if I file a claim for damage to a rental car?

Ask AutoSlash for a Quote on a Cheap Car Rental

You’re paying with a credit card that provides primary rental car collision damage coverage. Be sure your card offers primary coverage for rental car damage, which lets you avoid possibly filing a claim on your personal car insurance. To be sure, call your credit card provider and ask:

  • Does my policy cover rental car damage?
  • How can I activate that coverage?
  • Does anything void that coverage?
  • If you are using a business credit card, is the coverage primary for both business and personal rentals?
  • Are there any limits or exceptions for certain types of cars?
  • What is the maximum number of days for coverage?

When You Might Need Supplemental Insurance

On the other hand, you may need to purchase over-the-counter car rental insurance if you:

  1. Reside outside of the US or Canada.
  2. Don’t own a car.
  3. Do not carry comprehensive and collision coverage on your car insurance policy, or it doesn’t extend to rental cars.
  4. Prefer not to rely on your car insurance or you don’t want to pay your deductible. Even if you’re fully covered by your own auto insurance, filing a claim might cause your insurance premiums to go up or, in an extreme case, your insurer might choose to not renew your policy.
  5. Plan to use a business credit card for a leisure rental. Business cards often cease to offer primary coverage for non-business rentals.
  6. Split the cost of the rental between two credit cards. This typically voids coverage.
  7. Are paying with a debit card. Debit cards usually don’t include coverage.
  8. Use points or free-day certificates to pay for the rental.
  9. Renting a high-end vehicle (BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac, Jaguar, etc.) or a larger SUV, van or truck (GMC Yukon, Chevy Silverado, Ford Transit 12-passenger van, etc.) that may not be covered by your credit card or current car insurance policy.
  10. Renting a car for more than a few weeks. Some credit cards only cover rentals of up to 15 days, while others extend coverage to 30 days. Be sure to verify this with your card issuer.

Let AutoSlash Track Your Car Rental for Price Drops

If you need to buy coverage, your first option is to buy collision damage coverage at the rental counter. You’ll get covered, but it’s not cheap. In most states that don’t regulate price, you’re looking at $20 or more per day added to your bill.

Happily, there’s a better option that’s easier on your wallet. AutoSlash has partnered with Sure, a leading specialty insurance provider, to offer rental car insurance for less than half of what you’ll pay at the counter.