You should always ensure that you have adequate insurance coverage for any car you are driving, including rentals. There are several sources of rental insurance offering various coverage at different prices. Here are four sources of rental insurance and the kind of coverage they may offer:
Automatic from the Rental Company
In many cases, you get automatic insurance cover (from the rental company) upon renting a car. However, such insurance is usually limited to liability coverage. Moreover, this automatic liability coverage may be less than what you need. Rental companies tend to go with the minimum amount that state insurance regulation demands. This is why they may urge you to buy additional coverage (from them).
Purchase from the Rental Company
You can purchase additional coverage from the rental company, for example, to increase your liability limit or acquire types of coverage such as loss damage, personal accident, and personal injury. Note, however, that the rental company's rates may not be very competitive. This is probably because their main business is renting cars, so they don't bother competing with mainstream insurance companies.
Automatic from Your Credit Card Company
The car rental company is not your only source of insurance. If you pay by credit card, then you may not even require any additional coverage. Many credit card companies offer insurance for those who rent cars and pay by credit cards. You may not know about this because it isn't usually advertised; it is something you are likely to find tucked away in your credit contract booklet.
Take the time to scrutinize the offer since it may not cover everything you need. For example, some only offer damage coverage while others offer a mixture of different coverage. There may also be terms and conditions attached to the offer. For example, the card company may require you to rent the car in your own name. That would not be helpful if you are paying for your spouse's rental car.
Automatic from Your Car Insurance Company
In some cases, you may not need to do anything at all if you own a vehicle and have a valid car insurance coverage. This benefit usually extends to other close relatives who are members of your household. However, it's typically available only with policies that include collision or comprehensive coverage. Also, it usually ends at the border (however most cover Canada too), so you may need to purchase different coverage if you are renting in another country. Contact an auto insurance company, like Hamsher Insurance, to see what coverage they offer for rental vehicles.
Make sure you don't drive without insurance, knowingly or not. Don't assume that you are covered; always confirm either with your agent or insurer.