Rental Car

Renting a Car After an Accident: Insurance Info

Getting into a car accident is a stressful experience. And, if your car is damaged and has to go to the body shop, it can mean days — even weeks — without your vehicle.

So, if you don’t want to rely on family, friends or public transportation while your car is in the shop, you might choose to rent a car. Here are some important things to think about:

Rental Reimbursement Coverage

There are a few ways insurance comes into play when you’re renting a car after an accident. The first thing you need to think about is whether you have rental reimbursement coverage as part of the auto insurance policy you have on your own vehicle. Rental reimbursement coverage is typically an optional coverage that helps pay for the cost of a car rental while your own vehicle is being repaired after a covered loss. If you want rental reimbursement coverage to help pay for your rental after an accident, you must purchase it in advance — before an accident occurs.

If you have rental reimbursement coverage, there is typically no deductible for renting a car after a covered accident, but there are usually limits to the rental car cost per day and also the number of days your insurer will help pay for the rental.

Not sure whether you need rental reimbursement coverage? This video from Enterprise Rent-A-Car shows you one of the reasons why it might be a good idea to purchase it:

Insurance at the Rental Counter

Once you determine whether your car insurance policy will help pay for your rental car while your own vehicle is being repaired for covered accident damage, it’s time for some more questions: What if you get into a crash in the rental car — are you protected? Should you buy the extra insurance offered at the rental car counter?

To answer these questions, check your car insurance policy. In many cases, the liability, comprehensive, collision and other coverages might extend to your rental car. If you’re unsure, you can always double-check with your insurance agent.

Additionally, rental car companies typically offer car insurance at the counter. Some credit cards also offer secondary rental car insurance that helps you pay for costs not covered by your car insurance policy, such as deductibles and coverage gaps. Click here to learn more about the options for protecting yourself in case of an accident in a rental car.

Recommended by the Editors: