Can You Rent A Car Without Insurance? Go-To Guide

do I need insurance to rent a car

do I need insurance to rent a carDo I need insurance to rent a car? Technically, no, but you should definitely consider having at least the bare minimum coverage.

If you’re also one of the many people who find auto insurance confusing and you’re thinking about renting a car, you’ve come to the right spot! Driving a vehicle that is not yours without any protection is risky in so many ways. That’s why I wanted to let you know how you can get protected and get you more familiar with the different types of rental car insurance.

Below, you’ll find whether you need to purchase insurance from the rental company, how to rent a car without personal insurance, and whether you can get rental coverage with your personal auto insurance.

Rent A Car With Personal Auto Insurance

If you already have a personal auto insurance policy, you’re probably covered when renting a car. Most car insurance policies cover rentals as well, so you don’t have to rush and purchase one from the rental company.

How extensively you’re covered depends on the type of policy you have for your own car. Also, credit card insurance might be able to provide secondary coverage. Keep that in mind before you splurge on rental insurance.

So, if you’ve been googling ‘do I need insurance to drive a rental car’ and trying to figure out whether your personal car insurance is enough, the answer is probably yes. Read the policy or talk to your provider to find out all the details before deciding whether you want to purchase add-ons.

Rent A Car Without Personal Insurance

Can I rent a car without my own insurance’ is one of the most common questions people without personal auto insurance ask. Yes, it is an option! You can still rent a car; however, it’s best for you to be covered in one way or another.

Rental cars are automatically insured, but they are usually only insured to the minimum required by the state. So, if you decide to drive a rental without any insurance, it’s almost like you don’t have any protection at all.

Before you decide which car insurance to get, check your credit card insurance. If it doesn’t offer enough coverage for a rental car, you should consider purchasing a rental car company policy.

Also, if you don’t own a car but want to rent, you should look into non-owner car insurance and turn to car insurance companies for advice.

Non-Owner Car Insurance

This insurance is meant for people who don’t own a car but rent and drive frequently. In most cases, it includes liability coverage for property damage and bodily injuries.

You can also add rental car liability coverage, personal injury protection, and uninsured and underinsured motorist liability coverage.

Types Of Rental Car Insurance

These are the four most common types of car insurance that rental companies offer:

Collision Damage Waiver

Collision damage waiver (CDW), or also known as loss damage waiver, is a waiver that protects you in case of an accident or if the rental car gets damaged. CDW only covers the damage caused to the rental car and does not cover the costs of damage for any other cars involved and other people’s properties.

Certain exclusions include speeding, drunk driving, a car that is off the road, improper parking, and sometimes even broken windows, windshield, mirrors. Make sure to get familiar with all the exclusions before you decide to purchase.

Personal Accident Insurance

The name of this insurance type pretty much says it all. Personal accident insurance (PAI) will cover your medical costs in case you get injured while in the rental car. It will take care of the medical expenses for the passengers that are together with you in the car.

Personal accented insurance also includes emergency care, death benefits, and ambulance costs up to a specific limit for both the driver and the passengers.

If you already have health insurance, you’re probably covered, and you don’t have to purchase PAI additionally.

Supplemental Liability Insurance

The third type of rental car insurance is supplemental liability insurance (SLI) or protection. It’s an extension of the liability coverage you have. SLI will take care of the damages you might cause to other people’s property and the medical costs for their injuries while you’re driving a rental car.

Before you decide to purchase SLI, you should check your personal car insurance policy because it probably already includes liability insurance. Another way to go is to buy umbrella liability insurance as a part of your homeowners or auto insurance. It costs less but still adds wider protection for both your car and rentals.

Personal Effects Coverage

While the supplemental liability insurance covers the costs for other people’s properties, the personal effects coverage (PEC) takes care of your property. If any of your items get stolen from the car or are damaged, thanks to PEC, you will be safe.

If you already have a homeowners or renters policy, the chances are you’re already covered. Make sure you check your other policies before you decide to purchase a PEC at the rental car counter.

When To Buy Additional Rental Car Insurance

There are several situations when buying rental car insurance is a smart idea. You don’t have to add every single policy that the company offers; however, you need to think about primary coverage.

  • You don’t have car insurance: As I mentioned before, everyone who doesn’t have personal car insurance should find another alternative because you want to be safe and covered.
  • You’re traveling abroad: If you’re planning on taking your rental abroad, you should think about purchasing rental car insurance. In most cases, the personal auto insurance policy does not cover taking a rental car outside of the U.S. There is a chance that your credit card does have certain coverage, but it still won’t be extensive enough for international destinations.
  • You’re going on a business trip: Business trips are typically not covered by your personal auto insurance. If you’re driving a rental for a business venture, you might want to invest in rental car insurance.
  • You want to feel safe: Some people prefer to cover every possible angle when renting a car, and that’s completely fine. If you want to feel safe at all times knowing that you have the best insurance, you should definitely purchase an additional rental car policy.
  • You have high deductibles: If the deductibles on your personal car insurance are high, you will probably have to pay very little or nothing at all to get rental car insurance coverage.
  • You’re renting on the long-term: You need to check your personal and credit card insurance policies because there might be certain exclusions that apply to long-term rentals.
  • You want to avoid claims on your personal insurance: A lot of people avoid filing claims on their personal auto insurance because their premium rates can increase.


Do I Need To Show Proof Of Insurance When Renting A Car?

No, you won’t need to show proof of insurance when you’re getting a rental in most cases. One of the exceptions is when you’re covering the cost of the car using your debit card. In that case, you might need to show proof that you have your own insurance policy.

Even if you don’t have to show proof of insurance, it’s smart to bring your insurance card with you. If you’ve been wondering what do you need to rent a car, the three essentials are a valid driver’s license, a deposit, and a renter who is older than 25.

Can I Buy Insurance After Renting A Car?

Yes, most car rental companies offer the option for you to purchase insurance after your rental has started. If you didn’t want to get any insurance at first, but now you’ve changed your mind, you still have time to add coverage. The insurance coverage starts right after you purchase it.


Can you rent a car without insurance? It’s an option, but it’s not a smart choice. Since most rental cars are automatically insured but only to the minimum according to state laws, you will be left with almost no coverage.

Thankfully, if you already have personal car insurance, it probably also applies to rentals. If you don’t have personal insurance and don’t own a car, there are ways to rent and be protected, such as getting non-owner car insurance. You can always turn to the rental company as well and purchase one of their policies.

  • You can rent a car if you don’t have insurance; however, it’s not recommended
  • Your personal auto insurance probably covers rental cars as well
  • You can purchase non-owner car insurance if you don’t have personal
  • The four most common types of rental car insurance are collision damage waiver, personal accident insurance, supplemental liability insurance, and personal effects coverage.

Do you rent a car and take out non-owner car rental insurance? Tell us more about it in the comments section below.