airport signs for car rentals
How Does Rental Car Insurance Work

There are usually three ways you can get coverage for your rental car:

  1. Over the counter - only sometimes needed
  2. Your existing auto insurance policy
  3. Your credit card - works if you use the RIGHT credit card for payment.
  Crashes & Car Theft Damage To Others (Liability) Injuries To You Your Stuff Gets Stolen
Over the Counter A Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) -- CDW and LDW say you are not responsible for any damage to the vehicle or vehicle theft They will offer $1mm in supplemental liability coverage. Liability should be purchased if you do not have auto insurance. Not offered You can buy coverage for personal property for up to a set dollar amount. 
Your Personal Insurance

Auto Insurance

If you have collision and comprehensive coverage already, you have this coverage on your auto insurance (although you will still have to pay your deductible)

Auto Insurance

Your auto policy has liability coverage, but make sure you have more than the state minimum liability limits. 

Health Insurance

Emergency medical bills covered by your health insurance

Home Insurance 

Usually covers your personal property while in transit (although still have to pay your deductible)

Credit Card Some credit cards provide secondary coverage on rental vehicles. Make sure you know what card offers coverage and use that card to book the car.  Credit Cards do not offer liability insurance. Credit Cards do not cover medical bills. Credit Cards do not cover theft of personal property.

I hope that helps you narrow down your options when you take out your next rental. Confidence at the counter can help make the start of that new vacation feel liberating.

At your service,
Young Alfred