How to Know If You Really Need Rental Car Travel Insurance

man standing next to car in desert0

When planning an international travel adventure, you might consider renting a car to get around and see the sights or explore. It’s highly recommended you consider getting rental car travel insurance before you leave though. Your existing auto insurance policy might not offer coverage when traveling to other countries –yikes! 

Not to worry, there are comprehensive travel insurance plans that provide rental collision coverage for an additional premium. Opting for this upgrade gives you the coverage you need for any damage or loss your rental vehicle incurs while in your possession. 

Here are the steps we’ll cover in this article for you to determine if you actually need rental car travel insurance:

Let’s walk through these steps together.

Step 1: Talk to Your Auto Insurance Company

Let’s start by looking at your current car insurance policy. When in the States, your auto insurance typically covers damage to your insured car plus batter to your short-term rental car. All bets are off when you drive in another country though, so you might not have coverage for your rental car when traveling internationally. Make sure to check with your auto insurance company about your coverage availability before taking your next trip.

white land rover parked on snowy ground
Make sure to check with your auto insurance company about your coverage availability before taking your next trip.

Step 2: Confirm Your Credit Card Coverage

Another place to check for travel insurance with rental car coverage is your credit card. Some cards like American Express, MasterCard, and Visa offer rental car insurance while traveling. To get this coverage, however, you must usually book the rental on your credit card. Make sure to double-check the amount of coverage offered first!

Step 3: Weigh Your Coverage Options

Comprehensive Travel Insurance Coverage

During a car accident in a foreign country, the last thing you want to worry about is how you’re going to pay for the damage. If you buy a comprehensive travel insurance policy, you’ll have peace of mind knowing there’s coverage for medical care in this type of emergency. You can learn more about extensive travel insurance plans, but you should know they don’t just cover costs associated with cancelling your trip. One of the perks is having emergency medical coverage and a 24/7 Emergency Assistance line to help you find the nearest medical care. 

Rental Collision Damage Coverage Upgrade

Purchasing rental car insurance is a great option to protect against damage, but there are some important aspects it’s missing on its own. If there’s harm to another car or person if you get into an accident while abroad, your rental car insurance won’t cover that. However, when buying a travel insurance policy, you’ll have medical coverage if you get injured in a car mishap. Prioritize comparing policies to get the most coverage for the most affordable price.

If your credit card or current auto insurance company can’t offer any other rental car damage while traveling internationally, you can usually get $25,000 to $50,000 of rental car collision damage insurance when you upgrade your full coverage travel insurance plan. 

Step 4: Know What’s Covered and What’s Not

If you’re considering getting rental car damage insurance by upgrading your full coverage travel insurance policy, it’s important to know what type of coverage you’ll get. 

What the Upgrade Will Cover

Generally, if something happens out of your control like theft while operating a rental car and it gets damaged, your travel insurance policy will cover it. For instance, if you made sure your rental car was locked when you went to dinner and you came back to notice it was broken into while you were gone, your travel insurance add-on will cover the damage as well as anything that might have been stolen from the rental car. Just make sure to get a police report and documentation of what was stolen!

Another insider tip about getting this add-on plan is that if something does occur to your rental car, your auto insurance rates at home won’t be impacted. This is a huge deal if you’ve experienced an increase in auto insurance premiums after getting into an accident here in the States.

What the Upgrade Doesn’t Cover

Not every rental car company will accept outside insurance, so make sure to verify the rental company policies before moving forward in purchasing travel insurance with car damage coverage. In addition, not all vehicles are covered by the rental car collision add-on. If you’re looking to rent motorcycles or RV’s, those types of vehicles will need to be insured under the rental company. In terms of rental car travel insurance, it usually won’t cover the damage that happens to another vehicle or the other person’s medical expenses when in a collision.

three RV's parked next to ocean
Not every rental car company will accept outside insurance, so make sure to verify your rental company policies.

What’s Next?

If you determined you need to purchase a travel insurance plan with rental car coverage, there are plenty of choices to choose from. We always recommend comparing policies with this add-on policy to find the most affordable plan with the most extensive coverage. Although this rental collision upgrade is an extra expense, it’s usually cheaper (with higher insurance limits!) than buying rental car insurance directly through at the rental counter.