Should I buy rental car insurance?

Should I purchase Rental Car Insurance?

Renting a Car

Many people need to rent a car from time to time, whether to get around on vacation or while a vehicle is in the shop for repairs. At your next car rental, consider the following:

Only Buy Optional Coverage Products You Need

The cost of optional coverage products sold by car rental companies can significantly increase the cost of a car rental, sometimes by $30 or more per day.

The four main types of optional coverage products offered by car rental companies are: (1) collision damage waivers, which reduce or eliminate your liability for damage to the rental car; (2) supplemental liability protection, which provides coverage in the event of an accident; (3) personal accident insurance, which provides coverage for emergency medical expenses and death benefits; and (4) personal effects coverage, which provides coverage for theft of personal effects. All of these products are optional.Supplemental liability protection and personal accident insurance sometimes provide secondary coverage, which means that the secondary insurance will not pay unless there are costs beyond those covered by the primary insurance.

Under Minnesota law, all auto insurance policies must cover against damage to a rental vehicle and loss of use of the vehicle, and extend the policy’s basic economic loss benefits, residual liability insurance, and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to the use of the rental vehicle. This means that if you own a car and have car insurance, your rental car will be covered too.

State law prohibits car rental companies renting vehicles in Minnesota from selling collision damage waivers or other insurance products unless the renter acknowledges in writing that he or she has read and understood a disclosure stating that a personal auto insurance policy must cover the rental of the vehicle and that purchasing these types of additional coverage is unnecessary.


Your rental car may also be covered by your credit card company.

While there may be reasons to buy optional coverage products—such as if you are renting in a foreign country or want coverage for liability that exceeds the amount provided by your personal auto insurance policy—the decision to do so should be one you knowingly, not unwittingly, make. (Your personal auto insurance policy may not cover cars rented in another country.) You should check with your insurance company to determine the scope of your coverage before you rent a car. Also, if you pay by credit card, check if your credit card company provides coverage.