Picture it. You've just landed at the airport and are eager to start your vacation. You fly through the line for rental cars and they're just about to hand you the keys. But they need to know one thing: are you going to pay for their additional insurance coverage?
That's when you start to wonder - does auto insurance cover my rental car?
The answer is, in most cases, yes! If you already have liability coverage, comprehensive coverage, and collision coverage, then those should automatically apply to your rental car. But they'll only apply your maximum limits, meaning your insurance won't cover damage beyond what's in your existing policy.
So what does that mean for you? If you're renting a vehicle that's in a similar price range of the vehicle you drive at home, you're probably fine to just rely on your existing Houston auto insurance coverage. If, however, you're going all out and getting a suped up sports car in lieu of that 10-year-old sedan you drive around Houston, you might want to hedge your bets by paying the extra money for the rental car company's insurance, which may include travel insurance.
As a general rule of thumb, if the car you're renting is significantly more expensive (both to buy and to insure) than what you normally drive at home, you might be better off paying the additional coverage from the rental car to cover your bases. If you have any doubts, make a call to your Houston auto insurance company to find out what exactly your policy covers.
What does liability coverage protect me from?
Liability coverage protects you from having to pay money out of pocket for damage to another vehicle and for medical expenses for anyone in the other vehicle who was involved in an accident with you.
The liability you have on your vehicle from your Houston auto insurance company covers property damage and medical care to the person involved in a collision with you if the collision is your fault. The amount of liability coverage you currently have may very well depend on your state. In Texas, for instance, the minimum amount of liability coverage is $30,000 per injured person and $25,000 for property damage.
Having liability coverage can be especially important when you're renting a car in an unfamiliar city. Driving on unfamiliar roads can lead to more mistakes and, unfortunately, more accidents. But with liability coverage from your existing Houston auto insurance company, you can avoid having to pay out of pocket for damage to another vehicle.
What does comprehensive coverage protect me from?
Comprehensive coverage protects you from paying out of pocket for non-collision related damage to your vehicle, including vandalism, weather damage (like hail), and theft. Having this coverage on a vacation can be especially important, particularly if you're visiting an area where theft is likely to occur or if you're going somewhere that has especially unpredictable weather.
Note that comprehensive coverage is elective, meaning there isn't a state requirement for car owners to add this to their insurance policies. If you know you're going to be renting a car soon, call your car insurance company to make sure you have comprehensive coverage. If you don't, go ahead and add it. It's a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with it, whether you're driving your own car or a rental.
What does collision coverage protect me from?
Collision coverage protects you from paying out of pocket the full amount of repairs and/or replacement of your vehicle when you get into an accident. In general, collision coverage protects you when you collide with another vehicle or an object, like a tree or a parked car. Collision coverage is required when you're leasing or financing a vehicle, but it can be optional if your car is paid off. If you aren't sure whether or not you have collision coverage, call your Houston auto insurance company to verify. This is one type of coverage you definitely want to have active when you're driving a rental car to avoid having to make huge payments in the event you get into an accident with a vehicle or object.
What if I get hit by an uninsured motorist?
You're doing your part by researching the best Houston auto insurance plans and making sure you're covered when you're driving a rental car, but what happens when you get hit by somebody who doesn't have insurance?
The answer depends is: it depends on your state. If you're in a no-fault state, then the insurance company of each driver will pick up the tab on expenses. This means your insurance will cover your costs, even if you weren't at fault, and the other driver's insurance should cover theirs. The other driver will have to pay out of pocket since they don't have insurance.
If you aren't in a no-fault state, though, then you do have the option to sue the other driver. Consider, though, that if the driver isn't paying for insurance, there's a good chance they don't have a lot of assets, and therefore won't be able to pay you a lot.
The best option to protect yourself from paying damages due to an uninsured driver is to add uninsured motorist insurance to your auto coverage. Talk to your friendly Houston auto insurance company to find out how to add this to your policy to protect you when you're driving your own car or a rental car.
Make sure to read our auto insurance guide to find out more about how to make the most out of your Houston auto insurance. Contact us today to find out how we can get you cheap auto insurance in Houston that will cover you at home and when you're traveling.