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Discount Rental Car Insurance

What are the insurance options in the USA? How does the US differ from most other countries?

This is a summary of the main products offered by the rental companies for travel in the USA. In the US it is not mandatory for car owners (i.e. the rental companies) to insure hired cars nor is it mandatory for them to insure the drivers against third party personal & property damage (this is called "Liability Insurance" or "Supplementary Liability Insurance"), nor personal injury to the driver (called "Personal Accident Insurance"). Those responsibilities fall to the renter. This is not the case in the EU, Australia, NZ and most other countries so it is important that you understand the options and purpose of each insurance product that you will be offered by the rental companies! The other main difference to other countries is that the rental companies do not offer "Super CDW", "Super LDW" or equivalent "premium" insurance products. When sold in Europe and most of the World, these products are designed to reduce your excess towards zero from an amount that is usually between €/£/$1,000-4,000. In the US all rentals are sold with either the renter being liable for the full amount of the vehicle, or there is zero deductible excess: there's nothing in between! Our "Extra Cover for USA" fills the considerable "out of pocket" costs that still remain even when there is no deductible excess.

CDW/LDW

From March 2016 onwards, RentalCover.com will be selling CDW for US residents from AON. When you purchase CDW from the rental companies it is usually called "LDW" if it includes theft protection, so our policy is equivalent to LDW. The only difference between a CDW offered independently by us versus the policy offered at the rental desk is that your insurance company (AON) will handle the payments to the rental company for any damages, whereas there is no reimbursement/recovery process if you purchase the rental company's CDW/LDW.

It is important to know if your booking contains CDW or LDW! If it doesn't have it already and you are a US resident, you can buy it from RentalCover.com. If you are not a US resident, we always advise that you make sure your car booking includes CDW/LDW from the rental company. 

There are differences in how the websites of rental companies present CDW/LDW to international drivers vis-à-vis their agents (an "agent" might be an airline, hotel or a price comparison site):

1. For international drivers, the vast majority of websites will automatically include CDW or LDW. If for some other reason CDW or LDW is not automatically included, it will be available at the rental desk. Please read carefully when booking and check your car confirmation!

2. If you book from within the US or are a US resident, CDW/LDW will not be included by default. You can buy a policy from RentalCover.com and save approximately 50% or add it at the rental desk. Sometimes you can add it on the website at the time of booking. Most US domestic travellers can rely on their credit cards or personal motor insurance, however the excess on those policies often outweighs the cost of rental vehicle repairs.

SLI (Supplementary Liability Insurance)

Rental companies also offer insurance for third party property and third party personal that is usually called SLI ("Supplementary Liability Insurance") or LIS or simply, "Liability". SLI provides coverage for claims relating to third parties, namely third party property and third party injury. These policies have coverage limits so you should be conscious of how much is reasonably needed in the event of a major accident and/or negligence. Given the potential liability we always stress to drive carefully in the US and always purchase SLI from the rental company.

At the time of writing, RentalCover.com does not sell SLI.

Please also refer to our "What is SLI?" FAQ

Theft Protection

Theft Cover is also called Theft Protection and it may or may not provide coverage to arson and vandalism, depending on the policy. There will always be limitations surrounding negligence. We encourage you to read the relevant terms to check if your policy includes theft. Note also that RentalCover.com's "CDW" and "Extra Cover for USA" policies include theft, arson and vandalism. 

PAI (Personal Accident Insurance)

PAI provides coverage to you and your passengers for personal injuries up to a certain limit. PAI is included automatically when an international driver books a car on either the rental company's website or via the website of an agent/airline/price comparison service. Please check the coverage limits on your policy if you have or intend to have personal accident insurance to determine if the cover is adequate. Check out our "What is PAI (Personal Accident Insurance)?" for examples and further detail.

Roadside Assistance

RentalCover.com's "Extra Cover for USA" policy includes free Roadside Assistance and it provides coverate to related costs such as callout fees, towing, fuel topup, tyres, windscreen repair, etc., plus the considerable out of pocket costs that you might incur (such as impound storage fees, key loss/replacement, headlight/battery repair/replacement, fire and theft, "relocation fees" to get the vehicle back to its intended destination, card fees that are applied along the way, administration/processing fees for accidents, and "loss of use" fees that are charged while the vehicle is off the road being fixed).


Contact Us

Please check if these questions are relevant or scroll down to contact us:

About Our Price Guarantees

How are coverage days calculated?
I found a better price on a policy, will you match it?

About RentalCover.com

What are the benefits?
Who is RentalCover.com & Who provides the coverage?
What is the Rating of Our Underwriters?

Alternatives to RentalCover.com

How to make an informed choice when you get to the rental desk - your insurance options explained.
Can I rely on Travel Insurance?
Should I just risk it and not get insurance?

Annual Plans

How Do I "Log" Rentals For My Annual Plan?

Claims

How do claims work for "Extra Cover" (for USA & Canada)?
How do claims work for "Zero Excess Rental Cover", "No Excess Rental Cover" & "Rental Vehicle Cover"?
When can I expect claims to be settled?
How do I make a claim?
Am I insured if I have more than one accident?
How do I report a claim for "Collision Damage Coverage" (for US Residents)?

Country: Asian Countries

What should I do at the rental desk in Asian Countries

Country: Australia/NZ

How does Excess Reduction & Third Party Insurance work in Australia and New Zealand
What should I do at the rental desk in Australia/NZ?

Country: Canada

How does rental excess & CDW work in Canada? What are my options?
What should I do at the rental desk in Canada?

Country: EU/UK

How does rental excess/CDW work in Europe? What are my waiver options?
What should I do at the rental desk in EU/UK?

Country: Latin American Countries

What should I do at the rental desk in Latin American Countries

Country: Namibia/Africa

How does rental excess & CDW work in Africa? What are my options?

Country: United States

What are the insurance options in the USA? How does the US differ from most other countries?
How Does The Free Roadside Assistance Work for USA Policies?
What is Extra Cover for the USA? What do I say at the rental desk?
What should I do at the rental desk in the US?
What should I do at the rental desk if I am traveling abroad with Collision Damage Coverage (for US Residents)?

Country: Worldwide

What should I do at the rental desk: Introduction

Damage Waivers (CDW, LDW, Super CDW, Super LDW)

What is "excess", "CDW", "LDW", "excess reduction", etc? And what is RentalCover.com?
How much do I pay if there's an accident?
How do "LDW" and "Super CDW" and "Super LDW" differ from simple "CDW"?

Managing/Cancelling/Modifying Policies

How do I cancel a policy, change dates or add coverage? What if I changed my rental vehicle?
Help, I can't login!
When are the policies issued?
How do I submit my airline rewards program number?
How much coverage do I need?
Are there age or residency restrictions?
Are additional drivers insured?
How do I change the name of the policy holder?
Who is insured? What is insured?
I bought a policy but changed my car. Do I need a new policy?
How do cancellations and refunds work?
What is a refundable deposit/bond? When does it get refunded?
How do I add coverage to my policy?
I have several rentals over a period of time. Do I need a policy for each rental? What if I have several countries to visit?
What are my policy's inclusions?

Personal Accident Insurance

What is PAI (Personal Accident Insurance)?

Supplemental Liability Insurance

What is SLI (Supplementary Liability Insurance)?

Theft Protection

What is Theft Protection?

Third Party Cover

Is "Third Party" included?
Why do rental companies charge a large excess when the repair cost is small? What happens if I'm "not at fault"? Will I get my money back? When?

Types of Vehicles & Types of Rental (Peer To Peer etc)

Are 4x4s Insured? What about unsealed roads?
What types of "rentals" are insured? Car shares? Loan cars from mechanics?

Discount Rental Car Insurance

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