If I Rent a Vehicle...Am I Covered?

You’re standing at the counter of the rental car company and the associate asks if you would like to purchase their protection program for only $20 per day. You see your vacation budget shrinking before your eyes. Then it hits you, I already pay for auto insurance. Am I covered to rent a vehicle?

 If the vehicle you are renting is a private passenger auto, truck or van, then the answer is likely “yes.”

Here are some things to consider before you sign the “decline” line for the protection program.

  1. Do you currently have comprehensive and collision coverage (also known as full coverage) on your auto policy? Damage to the rental car will only be covered if you have those options on your policy. Your deductibles will apply to the rental car as if it were your own car.

2. Potential gaps in coverage exist.

    • Diminished value is the decreased value of a vehicle due to a previous accident. If the rental car company determines that the damaged vehicle is worth less after the accident, that amount could be charged against you.
    • Loss of use is the daily charge for the rental vehicle while it is out of commission for the rental company. You must factor in time for parts to be ordered and time for repairs as well.


Check with your insurance carrier to be sure you are covered for diminished value and loss of use. If not, be prepared to possibly be charged for those additional expenses.

3. Would a claim in the rental car be charged against your policy in the future? If you elect to utilize your own insurance, the claim is chargeable against your policy. If you elect the rental company’s protection program the claim does not go against your policy.

If you are renting a large truck, such as a moving truck, contact your agent first. Some carriers don’t consider large trucks “private passenger autos” and it is NOT covered. Since renting these types of vehicles is typically short term, we recommend purchasing the insurance offered through the rental company.

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