Will my Oklahoma personal car insurance cover a rental car while I’m driving it on vacation? This is one of the most common questions we get at our office. There are very few “yes” or “no” answers to insurance questions, but this one comes pretty close.
Here is the disclaimer: You should always check with your insurance agent or carrier for any specific coverage questions. After all, this is a blog, not an insurance contract.
There are usually three reasons a person will be driving a rental vehicle.
- You have flown to another city on business or vacation, and need a rental vehicle to get around town.
- You have been in an auto accident and need a rental vehicle to carry on with your normal driving routine.
- You are moving and need a moving truck to haul your stuff from here to there. – This circumstance is unique. So, I’ll address it at the end.
If you have a car insurance policy, there is usually language in the policy contract that will extend the coverage you carry on your car to a temporary, or replacement vehicle.
A temporary vehicle is usually a rental car. A replacement car is usually the new car you just traded your old car for over the weekend, and your insurance company just doesn’t know about yet.
Okay, if your car insurance will extend coverage to the rental car, then you’re golden, right? Not so fast. The details are really important.
If you have car insurance with liability coverage only, then your insurance policy will cover damage you cause to other cars while driving your car, but there is no coverage for damage you cause to your car, or the rental car in this case.
If you have car insurance with liability only, take this advice: BUY THE CAR RENTAL COMPANY’S INSURANCE!
However, if you have a “full coverage,” policy, you will have coverage for the damage you cause to other cars and coverage for damage to your vehicle (the rental car in this case). Damage to your vehicle (or rental car) will be subject to you paying the coverage deductible (another important detail).
BY THE WAY, before you get in the rental car and drive away, make sure you have completely inspected the vehicle for any pre-existing damage (inside and out). Check everything. Take pictures of any scuffs, scratches, discolored fabric, etc. and make sure the renting agent notes it on the rental paperwork. You will be held responsible for the condition of the car upon your return, and this little tip can help prevent World War III when you return it.
As an insurance professional, I do not like the term “full coverage.”
For the purposes of this article, “full coverage” means a car insurance policy with liability coverage and physical damage coverage for the insured vehicle. (Towing, uninsured motorist, and medical coverage are all optional, so not every “full coverage” policy will include them.)
Please see my blog “Does full coverage auto insurance mean you’ve got everything covered?” *Spoiler alert* It doesn’t.
Beware of gaps in coverage.
The one potential gap in your car insurance coverage may be the lost rental income the auto rental company can charge you for the time their rental car is out of commission and therefore, can’t be rented. You could be responsible for all of that cost. Some of the major insurance companies have partnerships with rental car companies where this may not be an issue.
Making assumptions about insurance coverage will eventually end up causing heartache. A general rule usually applies to many of the “what if” scenarios, but there are always exceptions and exclusions.
My recommendation is to contact your insurance agent or company and find out if there is a preferred vendor for rental cars and use them if possible. Not only are there discounts, but there can be a better claims experience if something does happen while you are in their rental car.
**Important** When you return your rental car, it will be inspected for damage and you will be held responsible for paying for the repair of it. It could be something minor which you would not file a claim on if it were your car, BUT REMEMBER THIS IS NOT YOUR CAR. So, if you don’t want to take any chances…buy the rental car insurance.
Don’t risk it if you are out of the country. “When in Rome… buy the rental car insurance!”
What about that moving truck?
Generally, your own car insurance policy will NOT extend to a U-Haul, Ryder, Penske, or other types of trucks or trailers you rent to move your belongings.
Your personal auto insurance policy gives coverage to passenger vehicles, but not to commercial vehicles or rented trucks. The weight and height of these types of rental trucks are usually excluded from coverage as a passenger vehicle (e.g. no coverage for a truck weighing 9,000 lbs. or more).
U-Haul specifically notes on its site that auto insurance through your own car insurance policy, or even any supplement insurance your credit card may normally give you for rental cars, does not normally extend to its rental equipment.
So, get the insurance for the rental truck, don’t assume your car insurance will cover it.
I know insurance can seem confusing and sometimes contradictory. That’s why it’s important to have an insurance advisor who can help you navigate the risks in your life. I and my staff would love to visit with you about any insurance questions you have.
Call us at 405-340-0606, or complete the short form below and we’ll reach out to you and start the conversation.