Rental Car Insurance – Should You Buy the Waiver?


One of the more frequent question we get at our office is “should I buy the insurance at the rental car counter?”

If you are looking for the quick answer – that would be “yes”. But allow me to dive into this for a moment so you will know “why” and the “why” can be confusing.

If you want to be insured 100% with basically zero gaps in coverage, you should buy what is offered at the rental counter. It all depends on your personal level of risk and people are all across the board when it comes to this topic.

Years ago, I would have told customers to ignore the coverage but my attitude has changed with education on this matter. Understanding it fully is very complicated but here goes.

Most auto policies follow you for a temporary automobile for coverage as long as it is less than 30 continuous days and you have at least one vehicle on your policy with full coverage. This of course comes with one major exception loss of use coverage and coverage for diminished value.

What is loss of use? Loss of use means that the rental car company can come back to you for the loss of income they experience from not renting their car while it is being repaired after you had an accident in it. The diminished value of a car is what occurs when the rental company attempts to sell the car later and loses money because it has been involved in an accident.If you are willing to take the risk of not having these two scenarios being paid by your insurance carrier, then that is your choice. You are in turn accepting risk.

To help safeguard you additionally, check with your credit card company. Some cards provide extra coverage which could supplement yours. If you travel a great deal for business and you rent cars in your company name, check to make sure just how your employer’s commercial insurance policy will respond.

If you do not own a car, there are policies called “non owner” policies that you can buy from an agent – otherwise you definitely need to buy the waiver – the collision damage one as well as the liability coverage.

If you are traveling globally, always buy the insurance. It is far too risky with some recent changes in laws overseas not to do. In fact, many foreign rental car companies force you to buy their coverage.

In summary, your personal auto policy together with the rental car coverage work together to give you the best overall protection. This is probably not what you wanted to hear, but at least you will have some piece of mind knowing the truth about your coverage.

This subject is a tricky one. If you want to dig deeper, give my office a call and we will be glad to have a discussion further. We want our customers to be fully informed and confident in their insurance program.

Our agency has a combined 320 years in the insurance industry with an average of 30 years per associate – that’s a world of experience. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a customer of an agency where you are treated as “one of one” instead of “one of several thousand”, contact us at We’re different and that’s our goal.





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