How Does Rental Car Insurance Work? Coverage Options Explained

Dented fender of a car after a minor accident

Rental car insurance helps to protect you from being held financially responsible for repairs and medical bills if you’re involved in an accident or otherwise damage the vehicle during your rental period.

Coverage is generally optional, and if you already have personal car insurance or a credit card with insurance benefits, those may cover your rental car.

If you don’t already have coverage, it will be up to the rental company whether or not you must purchase rental insurance.

Below, we detail the types of rental car insurance car rental companies commonly offer.

We also list what insurance and protection plans each major U.S. rental agency offers, as well as the price range you can expect to pay for each one.

Types of Rental Car Insurance

There are various types of insurance and protection plans that can cover rental cars, including supplemental liability insurance, collision damage waivers, personal accident or personal effects coverage, roadside assistance plans, credit card insurance, and personal auto insurance.

Each type of protection covers different expenses and incidents. We explain the differences in each type of plan below.

Supplemental Liability Insurance

If you cause an accident, liability insurance (sometimes called a Liability Insurance Supplement, Liability Protection, or Supplemental Liability Protection) covers expenses related to the other party’s automotive repairs, physical damages, and medical bills resulting from the wreck.[1][2]

Since it doesn’t cover any of your own damages or expenses,[1][2] supplemental liability insurance works best for renters who have other coverage but want greater accident protection.

Collision/Loss Damage Waiver

A collision damage waiver (CDW), also known as a loss damage waiver (LDW), covers most damages to your rental vehicle, no matter the cause, as long as you don’t violate your rental agreement.[3][4]

It also protects you from being held responsible for replacement costs if the vehicle is stolen or vandalized during your rental period.[3][4]

However, there is still generally a deductible and/or coverage limit, so you may want to combine a CDW with other coverage.[4][5]

Personal Accident Coverage

Personal accident insurance covers medical and health-related expenses of the renter, additional drivers, and other passengers in the event of an accident.

Benefits are supplementary to other health or rental insurance policies.[6][7][8]

Personal Effects Insurance

Personal effects protection covers the belongings of the renter, additional drivers, and other passengers against damage or loss.

Coverage extends up to a certain amount determined by each rental company — usually up to about $3,000.[9][10][11]

If you already have homeowners or renters insurance, it should cover your personal belongings even while traveling, meaning you don’t need to purchase personal effects coverage.[12]

Roadside Assistance Protection

Roadside assistance plans guarantee that you’ll receive help for things like breakdowns, flat tires, running out of gas, or locking the keys in the rental.[13][14][15]

Note that you may still be responsible for some repair costs; there may be coverage limits or exclusions to the roadside assistance plan, such as tire replacements.[16][17]

Credit Card Insurance

Some credit cards offer insurance coverage for rental cars if you pay for the rental with that particular card.[18][19]

Depending on the card, you may have access to collision, theft, and/or towing coverage.[18][19]

To find out more about your issuer’s policy, check out our dedicated research on credit cards that offer car rental coverage.

Personal Auto Insurance

Your personal auto insurance is a policy through a company like Geico or State Farm that applies to any everyday vehicles you lease or own.

Personal auto insurance usually offers rental coverage with deductibles and limits similar to your everyday vehicle coverage.

Depending on what your personal insurance covers, you might want to supplement it by purchasing protection plans like CDWs and roadside assistance.

Note that you can rent a car without personal auto insurance (as previously reported). If you’re uninsured, the protection plans detailed above can provide the protection you would otherwise get from a personal policy.

Available Protection Plans by Rental Company

Below, we detail the types of rental insurance each major rental company offers, including a general price range for each option.

We gathered this information by comparing rates online and contacting customer service representatives at rental counters in Arizona, Missouri, and Washington.

Alamo Rent a Car

  • Requires you to purchase rental insurance? No[20]
  • Available plans and prices:
    • Collision Damage Waiver (About $22 to $35 per day)
    • Supplemental Liability Protection (About $13 per day)
    • Personal Effects Coverage (About $6 to $8 per day)
    • Roadside Assistance PLUS (About $6 to $7 per day)[20][21][22]
  • Book a rental

Avis Rent a Car

  • Requires you to purchase rental insurance? No[23][24]
  • Available plans and prices: Vary by location, but generally include:
    • Loss Damage Waiver (No deductible; about $25 to $50 per day)[25]
    • Personal Accident Insurance (About $4 to $7 per day)
    • Additional Liability Insurance (About $12 to $19 per day)
    • Personal Effects Insurance (About $1.25 to $3 per day)
    • Roadside Assistance (About $7 per day)[26][27][28]
  • Book a rental

Budget logo

Budget Rent a Car

  • Requires you to purchase rental insurance? No[29][30]
  • Available plans and prices:
    • Loss Damage Waiver (About $25 to $48 per day)
    • Personal Accident and Effects (About $6 to $10 per day)
    • Supplemental Liability Insurance (About $12 to $19 per day)
    • Roadside Issues Coverage (About $8 per day)[30][31][32]
  • Book a rental

Dollar Car Rental logo

Dollar Car Rental

  • Requires you to purchase rental insurance? No[33][34]
  • Available plans and prices:
    • Loss Damage Waiver (About $34 to $42 per day)
    • Liability Insurance Supplement (About $1 to $25 per day)
    • Personal Protection Plan (Includes Personal Accident Insurance and Personal Effects Insurance; about $7.50 per day)[33][35][36]
  • Book a rental

Enterprise logo

Enterprise Rent-A-Car

  • Requires you to purchase rental insurance? No[37]
  • Available plans and prices:
    • Loss Damage Waiver (About $27 to $75 per day)
    • Supplemental Liability Protection (About $8 to $17 per day)
    • Personal Effects Coverage (About $6 to $16 per day)
    • Roadside Assistance Protection (About $4 to $5 per day)[13][38][39]
  • Book a rental

Fox Rent A Car Logo

Fox Rent A Car

  • Requires you to purchase rental insurance? No[40][41]
  • Available plans and prices:
    • Loss Damage Waiver (About $11 to $33 per day)[42][41]
    • Rental Liability Insurance (About $14 to $15 per day)
    • Supplemental Liability Insurance (About $14 to $15 per day)
    • Personal Accident/Personal Effects Insurance (About $3 to $5 per day)
    • Roadside Service Assistance Program (About $5 per day)[40][16][43]
  • Book a rental

Hertz logo

Hertz

  • Requires you to purchase rental insurance? No[44][45]
  • Available plans and prices:
    • Loss Damage Waiver (About $27 to $70 per day)
    • Liability Insurance Supplement (About $12 to $19 per day)
    • Personal Protection Package (Includes Personal Accident Insurance and Personal Effects Coverage; about $7.50 per day)
    • Partial Damage Waiver (Only available at select locations)
    • Limited Loss Damage Waiver (Only available at select locations; contact the location you intend to rent from for availability and pricing)[46][47][48][45]
  • Book a rental

National Car Rental logo

National Car Rental

  • Requires you to purchase rental insurance? No[49][1][10]
  • Available plans and prices:
    • Loss Damage Waiver (About $25 to $39 per day)
    • Supplementary Liability Protection (About $13 per day)
    • Personal Effects Insurance (About $7 to $8 per day)
    • Roadside Assistance PLUS (About $7 to $8 per day)[50][51][52]
  • Book a rental

Sixt logo

SIXT

  • Requires you to purchase rental insurance? No[53][54]
  • Available plans and prices:
    • Personal Accident Coverage (About $8 per day)
    • Supplemental Liability Insurance (About $16.89 per day)
    • Loss Damage Waiver (About $12 to $68 per day)
    • Roadside Assistance (About $8.50 to $9.50 per day)[53][55][56]
    • Business Travel Protection (Included with some corporate accounts)[57]
  • Book a rental

Thrifty Car Rental logo

Thrifty Car Rental

  • Requires you to purchase rental insurance?No[58][59]
  • Available plans and prices:
    • Loss Damage Waiver (About $34 to $42 per day)
    • Liability Insurance Supplement (About $12 to $19 per day)
    • Personal Accident Insurance and Personal Effects Coverage (About $7.50 per day)[58][60][61]
  • Book a rental

Turo logo

Turo

  • Requires you to purchase rental insurance? Usually no; some guests may be unable to decline protection due to their vehicle type, trip details, or other factors.[62]
  • Available plans and prices:
    • Minimum Plan: Costs 15% of the total rental price if less than $250 and 25% if more than $250, with a minimum of $10 per day; includes minimum third-party liability insurance and a Loss Damage Waiver with a $3,000 deductible
    • Standard Plan: Costs 40% of the total rental price, with a $12 per day minimum; includes minimum third-party liability insurance and a Loss Damage Waiver with a $500 deductible
    • Premier Plan: Costs 65% to 100% of the total rental price, with a $14 per day minimum; includes third-party liability insurance and a Loss Damage Waiver with a $0 deductible; not available to drivers below 21 years old[62][63]
  • Book a rental

Zipcar logo

Zipcar

  • Requires you to purchase rental insurance? No[64]
  • Available plans and prices:
    • Standard Protection: No cost; includes supplementary liability coverage with a $1,000 deductible and Personal Injury Protection (where required)
    • Plus Protection: $6 to $12 per month; includes supplementary liability coverage with a $350 deductible, Personal Injury Protection (where required)
    • Premium Protection: About $1.50 to $2.25 per hour, $9.50 to $14 per day, or $12 to $20 per month; includes supplementary liability coverage with no deductible, plus Personal Injury Protection (where required)[65][64][66]
  • Book a rental
  1. https://www.nationalcar.com/en/support/car-rental-faqs/insurance-and-coverage-products/supplemental-liability-insurance.html[][][]
  2. https://www.hertz.com/rentacar/productservice/index.jsp?targetPage=liability_coverage.jsp[][]
  3. https://www.budget.com/en/help/usa-faqs/loss-damage-waiver[][]
  4. https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/collision_damage_waiver[][][]
  5. https://www.budget.com/en/products-services/protections/loss-damage-waiver[]
  6. https://www.sixt.com/help-center/articles/personal-accident-insurance/#/[]
  7. https://www.avis.com/en/products-and-services/protections/personal-accident[]
  8. https://www.alamo.com/en/customer-support/car-rental-faqs/personal-accident-insurance-international.html[]
  9. https://www.avis.com/en/products-and-services/protections/personal-effects-insurance[]
  10. https://www.nationalcar.com/en/support/car-rental-faqs/insurance-and-coverage-products/personal-accident-personal-effects-insurance.html[][]
  11. https://www.budget.com/en/products-services/protections/personal-accident[]
  12. https://www.progressive.com/answers/rental-car-insurance/?code=6358700004[]
  13. https://www.enterprise.com/en/help/faqs/car-rental-insurance-us.html[][]
  14. https://www.alamo.com/en/customer-support/car-rental-faqs/insurance-coverage-options/roadside-assistance.html[]
  15. https://www.nationwide.com/privateclient/coverage/articles/roadside-assistance-and-rental-coverage[]
  16. Fox Rent A Car location customer service representatives[][]
  17. https://www.sixt.com/terms-conditions/#/[]
  18. https://www.capitalone.com/learn-grow/money-management/credit-cards-rental-car-insurance/[][]
  19. https://www.chase.com/personal/credit-cards/slate/autorental-protection[][]
  20. https://www.alamo.com/en/customer-support/car-rental-faqs/insurance-coverage-options.html[][]
  21. https://www.alamo.com/en/car-rental.html[]
  22. Alamo Rent a Car location customer service representatives[]
  23. Avis customer service via live chat[]
  24. https://www.avis.com/en/help/usa-faqs/rent-without-insurance[]
  25. Avis customer service via live chat[]
  26. https://www.avis.com/en/products-and-services/protections[]
  27. Avis Rent a Car location customer service representatives[]
  28. Avis.com test bookings[]
  29. https://www.budget.com/pt/legal-documents/rental-terms[]
  30. https://www.budget.com/en/products-services/protections[][]
  31. Budget Rent a Car location customer service representatives[]
  32. Budget.com test bookings[]
  33. https://www.dollar.com/rental_car_insurance.aspx[][]
  34. https://www.dollar.com/~/media/dollar/files/corporateroadmap/0615015-dollar_peace%20of%20mind%20protection%20plan%20brochure%209-9-15.ashx[]
  35. Dollar Car Rental location customer service representatives[]
  36. Dollar.com test bookings[]
  37. https://www.enterprise.com/en/help/faqs/do-i-need-car-rental-insurance.html[]
  38. Enterprise location customer service representatives[]
  39. Enterprise.com test bookings[]
  40. https://www.foxrentacar.com/en/faqs.html[][]
  41. https://www.foxrentacar.com/en/locations/united-states/california/los-angeles-airport/rental-policies.html[][]
  42. https://www.foxrentacar.com/en/locations/united-states/arizona/phoenix-airport/rental-policies.html[]
  43. Fox.com test bookings[]
  44. Hertz store customer service representatives[]
  45. Hertz customer service (800) 654-4173[][]
  46. https://www.hertz.com/rentacar/productservice/index.jsp?targetPage=USHowProtectedAreYou.jsp[]
  47. Hertz location customer service representatives[]
  48. Hertz.com test bookings[]
  49. https://www.nationalcar.com/en/support/car-rental-faqs/insurance-and-coverage-products/loss-damage-waiver.html[]
  50. https://www.nationalcar.com/en/support/car-rental-faqs/insurance-and-coverage-products.html[]
  51. National Car Rental location customer service representatives[]
  52. NationalCar.com test bookings[]
  53. SIXT customer service (888) 749-8227[][]
  54. https://www.sixt.com/help-center/articles/protection-options/#/[]
  55. https://www.sixt.com/help-center/sections/protection/#/[]
  56. SIXT.com test bookings[]
  57. https://www.sixt.com/help-center/articles/business-travel-protection/#/[]
  58. https://www.thrifty.com/Car_Rental_Information/content/Rental_Car_Insurance.aspx[][]
  59. https://www.thrifty.com/CustomerCare/content/FAQ.aspx[]
  60. Thrifty Car Rental location customer service representatives[]
  61. Thrifty.com test bookings[]
  62. https://help.turo.com/en_us/summary-and-cost-of-protection-plans-or-us-guests-BJSgBNgVq[][]
  63. https://help.turo.com/protection-plans-including-insurance-or-us-guests-HkwgBNgN9[]
  64. Zipcar customer service (866) 494-7227[][]
  65. https://support.zipcar.com/hc/en-us/articles/4415708253203[]
  66. Zipcar customer service via Facebook chat[]

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