Discount Rental Car Insurance

What is SLI (Supplementary Liability Insurance)?

The following information is US customers only, for information relating to other regions please refer to the country specific FAQs

 

Supplementary Liability Insurance insures you for injuries to other drivers and their vehicles. In some countries this "third party" insurance is compulsorily provided by the vehicle owner, i.e. the rental companies. However most states in the US do not require the vehicle owner to have mandatory third party liability, meaning the driver is potentially liable for injuries to other people and their property

If you are driving in one of those states you will be offered SLI (also called Accident Liability Insurance/ALI or LIS) by the rental company, which will normally provide between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000 coverage. As a general rule, if SLI if offered by the rental company, we advise you to take it.

 

Example Claim

RentalCover.com customer Keith Richards is holidaying in California to get some much needed time in the sun. When Keith turns up to collect his car from the rental desk, the staff explain to him that rental companies aren't required to insure third party damage in their state, and that they instead offer an optional product called SLI to insure customers.

Given his tendency to get a bit wild while on holidays, Keith decides it would be in his best interests to be insured for any and all potential situations, and opts in for the SLI. This decision pays off just minutes later when Keith accidentally backs his new rental car into the rental desk owner's BMW.

After a lengthy process Keith is able to claim back the full cost of the damages to the BMW through his SLI, and he gets to continue on his merry way.

 

How much coverage is normally provided?

In the USA each state has different rules regarding whether or not third party coverage must be provided, and often the minimum level of coverage required by law will be quite low. Despite this most SLI providers will generally insure you in the range of $1-2 million, though in some cases coverage may extend up to $10 million.

 
  Minimum legal coverage  
State Individual Multiple Persons Property Supplier SLI Coverage
California $15,000 $30,000 $5,000 $1-2 million
Florida $10,000 $20,000 $10,000 $1-2 million
Nevada $15,000 $30,000 $10,000 $1-2 million
New York $25,000 $50,000 $10,000 $1-2 million
Other $10-50 thous. $30-100 thous. $5-25 thous. $1-2 million
 

Am I insured if I am not at fault?

Generally no. In most cases you will only be able to claim third party damage or injuries if you were the driver at fault. The only exception to this would be if you were deemed by a court to be responsible for a third party accident even if it is not caused by you directly, though this will vary depending on your policy terms.

 

An Example of When You Are Not At Fault

RentalCover.com customer Eric Clapton is visiting friends in California, and is hiring a car to get around. While Eric is turning a corner, a taxi driver in a hurry to get a fair pulls an illegal u-turn and drives into the side of Eric's vehicle. Even though the other driver's vehicle is written off, Eric's SLI does not need to insure the taxi driver's car as Eric is not a fault.

 

How Does the Claims Process Work?

To make a SLI claim you will need to contact the rental company's insurance provider and deal directly with them. You will be asked by the insurers to fill out a statement of claim, and to provide some form of documentation relating to your insurance and the claim being made (usually a certificate of insurance, receipts of payment, copies of invoices and police reports as well as other details from the third party showing evidence of damages or or injuries sustained).

Contact Us

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

About RentalCover.com

  1. Our policies are 50% cheaper than the rental companies, guaranteed!
  2. Enjoy your travel without worrying about rental companies overcharging you for damages!
  3. Our policies are built for the unique requirements of vehicle renting in every country.
  4. Accident-related fees are expensive - we fully cover them.
  5. Our underwriters are some of the best known insurance brands globally.
  6. Multi-vehicle accidents can be complicated. We handle all of the insurance back and forth and reimburse you straight away so you can relax (see our Claims Guide).
Our Rental Guides explain how everything works.
Our Rental Guides explain what is included with the car booking and what to say when you are offered additional insurance at the rental desk.

Our Rental Guides explain how everything works.
Our global insurance panel includes “A” rated household names such as those below.
 
Our underwriters.
US Fire Axa Assistance Collinson Group Intact Insurance Chubb

 

Our Rental Guides explain how everything works.
Yes. Additional drivers on the rental agreement are automatically covered free. We do not need their names.

Our Rental Guides explain how everything works.
Not recommended! There are many examples of disgruntled renters who have been charged by rental companies for damages that did not happen, or where the repair cost is inflated, or where the related fees exceed the minor damage. These are all covered in full by RentalCover.com.

Our Rental Guides explain how everything works.
Damage costs and associated fees will be payable to the rental company. Once a claim is submitted, we reimburse the damage costs and related fees charged by the rental company. Our target for claims is 3 days once all documents are submitted.

Our Rental Guides explain how everything works.
You can add coverage for off-road 4x4s, campervans, motorhomes & small buses in the quote form.

Our Rental Guides explain how everything works.
Offroad 4x4s that are to be driven on unsealed roads are covered if you select the 4x4 option in the quote form. You still need to adhere to the rules of the rental agreement. For all other vehicles, if your rental agreement permits you to drive on unsealed roads you are covered by RentalCover.com.

Our Rental Guides explain how everything works.
Insurance policies are always calculated in full calendar days to ensure you are covered for the full trip even if you pick up early or drop off late!

Our Rental Guides explain how everything works.
Yes. You are covered up to the policy limit for each individual incident.

Our Rental Guides explain how everything works.
We are just about to launch agency.rentalcover.com, a platform dedicated to helping travel agents make bookings for multiple clients and keep them organized under a single login. We also included a very generous commission structure for our travel agent partners. Find out more

Claims Info

Visit the claims page for everything you need know about how to make a claim including our document requirements and how long it takes.

Rental Guide: Destination Asian Countries

Here is a checklist of what to expect at the rental desk in Japan, Korea and other countries in Asia, and what to say:
  • If your booking does not already include it, you will be offered Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW, which is CDW plus theft protection) at the rental desk. Your booking confirmation will tell you if CDW or LDW is included, and our overview of CDW might be useful. US Residents with our Collision Damage Coverage do not need to purchase CDW. We recommend that residents of other countries purchase CDW from the rental company, but do not purchase SCDW (see below). If you need help identifying if CDW is included in your car booking or not, please complete the form below. CDW has an excess ("deductible" is the US term) of between €500 and €5,000; it can be lowered towards €0 by purchasing SCDW.
  • You will be offered a waiver that is variously titled Super CDW (SCDW), Excess Waiver, Damage Liability Waiver, or something similar. It reduces the excess on your vehicle from $500-$5000 (depending on the rental company) towards $0. US Residents with Collision Damage Coverage do not need SCDW as your plan is zero deductible - you would pay for damages and then be reimbursed by AON. For non-US Residents, our "Zero Excess Rental Cover" provides great coverage at competitive prices. 
  • You may be offered Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), which provides coverage for personal injuries that befall you or your passengers as a result of an accident. PAI is insured in most travel insurance and can also be purchased online (though not, at the time of writing, on RentalCover.com).

Rental Guide: Destination Australia/NZ

Excess Reduction/Excess Waivers in Australia and New Zealand

Rental vehicles in Australia and New Zealand do not have Collision Damage Waivers (CDW). CDW is a policy sold by rental companies elsewhere in the world that reduces the excess that is payable in the event of an accident from the full value of the vehicle towards a lower limit (under AU$5,000, usually). CDW (and Loss Damage Waivers (LDW), which is just CDW plus Theft Protection) is included by default with a rental car (or can otherwise be included at the rental desk) in every country except Australia and NZ. If a renter does not have CDW or LDW in Europe, North America and South America their liability in the event of an accident would be the full value of the car. In Australia/NZ however, there is no CDW/LDW; the default liability (called "standard excess" or "standard liability") is usually somewhere below AU$5,000, although some large motorhomes have an excess of AU$7500.

The excess waivers for this lower amount are similar to Europe.


Third Party Damages

If you are driving a rental vehicle in Australia or New Zealand and you are involved in an accident with another vehicle the following process takes place:

1. If you cause the accident (i.e. you are "at fault") and damage another car

You will have to pay the repair costs for your vehicle (which would be insured by your RentalCover.com policy). A small number of motorhome rental companies may also charge you for damages to other vehicles. These "third party damages" are excess charges (i.e. deducted from your credit card) and are insured by your RentalCover.com policy. 

2. If you cause an accident and injure the other driver 

If the other driver is injured, the owner of your vehicle (i.e. the rental company) is liable, however the liability is mitigated by compulsory schemes for third party injuries in Australia and New Zealand. This is similar to Europe: the rental company cannot own or rent a car without having third party liability insurance, and as a result, renters do not have any liability (unless you have broken the law). 

In Australia, "third party cover" is provided by a private insurance company, whereas in New Zealand a government insurer called ACC looks after all injuries caused by motor accidents (it is a "no fault" scheme, which means there is no settlement process nor ongoing legal/claim issues for the drivers). 

3. If you did not cause an accident and you are injured 

The liability for your injuries rests with the other driver, who would have the same compulsory insurance that your rental company has for their cars. Your medical costs will be insured by their insurance.

Summary

In summary, if an accident occurs:

  • Injuries to drivers of the other car are insured by third party liability insurance. Third party liability cover is compulsorily held by vehicle owners. Drivers of rental vehicles have no liability for the other driver (unless you were breaking the law, e.g. driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs, etc.)
  • Damages to other cars that are charged out of your excess (and usually called "Third Party Damages" on the bill) by the rental company are always insured by RentalCover.com.
  • Regardless of who is "at fault", you will be required to pay for damages in any single or multi-vehicle accident. RentalCover.com reimburses you those costs straight away and if we determine that the rental company would otherwise reimburse you later on, once their insurer successfully claims from the other driver's insurer, we will collect the funds on your behalf. More information will be provided during the Claims process. 
  • Our policies provide coverage to excess payments that you make to the rental company, so of course we provide coverage to third party damages! Whatever is on the final invoice, we pay!
Here is a checklist of what to expect at the rental desk in Australia/NZ and what to say:
  • Most rental companies offer a waiver that is variously titled "Excess Reduction", "Excess Waiver", "Damage Waiver", or something similar. RentalCover.com's "Zero Excess Rental Cover" is a cheap alternative to this waiver and covers all types of accidents and damages.
  • You will not be offered Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) at the rental desk because - unlike Europe, Asia and the US - the excess for rental vehicles in Australia and NZ is never the full value of the car, it is only somewhere between $500 and $7500, depending on the rental company and vehicle. You will not hear any mention of CDW or LDW
  • You will not be offered Personal Accident Insurance (insures you and your passengers if there is an accident) or Liability Insurance (provides coverage to third party injuries). The former is available to most travellers via their travel insurance policy, and the latter is not required in Australia because car rentals include "third party" liability.
Find out more about what to do at the rental desk in the USA, Canada or the UK/Europe.

Rental Guide: Destination Canada

CDW (Collision Damage Waiver)/LDW (Loss Damage Waiver)

In Canada most rental companies will offer Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) (also called LDW/Loss Damage Waiver if it includes theft) to reduce the deductible "excess" you must pay in the event of an accident. Many rental companies exclude certain types of damage such as windscreens and tyres, while the CDW/LDW sometimes reduce your deductible to between CAD$500 & $2000. CDW and LDW reduce the deductible to CAD$0 for a handful of rental companies. Use the above comparison tool to see who does what.

As always, check your booking confirmation and discuss with your rental company if you are unsure how much you are insured for, or ask us to help you out as we are happy to help. You may also want to read our FAQ about renting in the USA as there are some differences, mainly because US rental companies always remove the "deductible" so there's nothing to pay in the event of a collision, except some "out of pocket" costs. Those incidental/"out of pocket" costs are instead insured by our "Extra Cover" policies for USA and Canada


Supplementary Liability Insurance (SLI) - Third Party

Each Canadian province has different rules regarding whether or not third party liability (usually called "Supplementary Liability Insurance (SLI)" by car rental companies) must be provided, and often the minimum level of coverage required by law is quite low. This means the driver of the car is potentially responsible for injuries to third parties (i.e. other drivers, their passengers, the other driver's car).
 

Minimum Liability Limits
Minimum liability limits per province are below alongside the supplementary amounts sold by the rental companies.
Province Min. third party liability required Supplier's Supplementary Liability Insurance
Alberta CA$200,000 CA$1-2 million
British Columbia CA$200,000 CA$1-2 million
Manitoba CA$200,000 CA$1-2 million
New Brunswick CA$200,000 CA$1-2 million
Newfoundland CA$200,000 CA$1-2 million
Nova Scotia CA$500,000 CA$1-2 million
Ontario CA$200,000 CA$1-2 million
Prince Edward Island CA$200,000 CA$1-2 million
Quebec CA$50,000 CA$1-2 million
Saskatchewan CA$200,000 CA$1-2 million


If it is not already included in your car booking, you will be offered SLI at the rental desk, also called Accident Liability Insurance (ALI) or Liability Insurance Supplement (LIS) by your rental company. The SLI sold by rental companies is usually between CAD$1,000,000 and $2,000,000. As a general rule, we advise you to take the SLI if it is offered. 


Personal Accident Insurance (Personal Injuries)

Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) insures you and your passengers for accidental medical costs, emergency care and accidental death during your rental trip. In Canada, drivers in all provinces, except Newfoundland and Labrador, are legally required to have PAI, however the limits are very small (i.e. a few thousand dollars). "Extra PAI" coverage is consequently sold by rental companies, providing up to CAD$1 million. This should be adequate coverage if you or a passenger are injured.


Super CDW / Super LDW

Most rental companies offer a waiver that is variously titled Super CDW, Excess Waiver, Damage Liability Waiver, or something similar. RentalCover.com's "Zero Excess Rental Cover" is a cheap alternative to this waiver and covers all types of accidents and damages.

Here is a checklist of what to expect at the rental desk in Canada and what to say:
  • With "Extra Cover for Canada", you will not need to purchase any Roadside Assistance Coverage at the rental desk. This policy will also cover you for any "out of pocket" cost resulting from an accident.Read on for more "Extra Cover for Canada" info.
  • If your booking does not already include it, you will be offered Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW, which is CDW plus Theft Protection) at the rental desk. Your booking confirmation will tell you if CDW or LDW is included, and our overview of CDW/LDW in Canada might also be useful. If you are from Canada we recommend bringing your personal car's insurance certificate as it insures you for any car anywhere that you travel. If you don't have your own policy or wish to avoid small claims, you can buy CDW on RentalCover.com (from March 2016 onwards). If you need help identifying if CDW is included in your car booking, please complete the form below. 
  • You will be offered a waiver that is variously titled Super CDW, Excess Waiver, Damage Liability Waiver, or something similar. RentalCover.com's "Zero Excess Rental Cover" is a cheap alternative to this waiver and covers all types of accidents and damages. Read on for an overview of how insurance works in Canada.
  • If it isn't included in your booking, you will be offered Liability Insurance (also called Supplementary Liability Insurance (SLI) and LIS). There is more information in our SLI for Canada/the US FAQ. We recommend purchasing SLI if it wasn't included in your booking. 
  • If it isn't included in your booking, you will be offered Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), which provides coverage for personal injuries that befall you or your passengers as a result of an accident. 
Find out more about what to do at the rental desk in the USA, Australia/NZ or the UK/Europe.

Rental Guide: Destination EU/UK

This is a summary of the main products offered by the rental companies for travel across Europe. Coverage and extras can vary widely across different countries in Europe, so it is important that you understand the options and purpose of each insurance product that you will be offered by the rental companies!

CDW/LDW
For non-US Residents
When you rent a car in Europe, a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) policy (also called "Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)" if it includes "Theft Protection") is usually included in the rate. To see if your booking includes CDW or LDW, please refer to your booking confirmation. Note that some rental companies in some countries do not include CDW/LDW so you will need to buy it either at the desk or independently. 

In Europe, CDW and LDW reduces your excess from the full value of the car to somewhere between €/$/£1,000-4,000. See below for more information.

For US Residents
When US Residents rent a car in Europe the booking typically does not include CDW or LDW. From March 2016 onwards, this can be purchased from RentalCover.com for at least 50% less than the same CDW policy sold by the rental companies. To purchase a policy just enter your Country of Residence on the RentalCover.com homepage and select "CDW/LDW".

Super CDW/Super LDW
For all Countries of Residence

"Super CDW/LDW" policies are sold at the car rental rental desk and are designed to reduce the "excess" that you have to pay in the event of an accident or damage from €/$/£1,000-4,000 towards €/£/$0. This extra waiver has several names including "Damage Waiver", "Premium Waiver", "Premium Protection", "Full Cover" and others, however the purpose is the same.

US residents who have CDW need not worry about SCDW, given their CDWs are zero deductible policies.

RentalCover.com's "Zero Excess Rental Cover" is a cheap alternative to Super CDW/Super LDW and covers all types of accidents and damages.

Here is a checklist of what to expect at the rental desk in Europe and the UK and what to say:
  1. If your booking does not already include it, you will be offered Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW, which is CDW plus theft protection) at the rental desk. Your booking confirmation will tell you if CDW or LDW is included, and our overview of CDW/LDW in Europe might also be useful. CDW has an excess ("deductible" is the US term) of between €500 and €5,000; it can be lowered towards €0 by purchasing SCDW.
  2. SCDW ("Super CDW" or otherwise known as "Excess Waiver", "Damage Liability Waiver", or something similar) reduces the excess on your vehicle from $500-$5000 (depending on the rental company) towards $0.
US Residents with our Collision Damage Coverage do not need CDW nor SCDW. Your plan is zero deductible so you would pay for damages and then be reimbursed by AON. Some rental companies may not rent out their vehicles if you do not purchase their own Collision Damage Waivers. If this is the case, please note that your Collision Damage Coverage will still replace the SCDW.

For non-US Residents our "Zero Excess Rental Cover" provides great coverage at competitive prices. At the time of writing we do not have a CDW equivalent for non-US Residents. Here is a detailed summary of the insurance options in Europe.

Other types of insurance:
 
  • You will not be offered Liability Insurance (also called Supplementary Liability Insurance (SLI) and Civil Liability Insurance) as these are regulated by the EU. There is more information on Third Party Insurance in the EU in our FAQ.
  • You may be offered Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), which provides coverage for personal injuries that befall you or your passengers as a result of an accident. PAI is insured in most travel insurance and can also be purchased online (though not, at the time of writing, on RentalCover.com).

 

Rental Guide: Destination Latin American Countries

US Residents traveling to Latin American countries and Mexico are encouraged to purchase our Collision Damage Coverage plan. All of our plans comply with the CNSF regulations in the Mexican Territory (rental companies may ask you about this). This zero deductible plan is primary coverage so you do not need to file a claim against your auto insurance. Instead, for travel outside the US you would pay the repair costs and AON quickly reimburses you (if you travel within the US, AON handles the full claim themselves).

Here's the two main products sold by rental companies in Latin America:

1. CDW: Collision Damage Waivers (also called Loss Damage Waivers if they include Theft Protection) have a deductible/excess. Depending on the country and rental company the deductible can be between US$500 and US$5,000. Daily cost is up to US$30.
2. SCDW: Super Collision Damage Waivers (which have multiple other names that are designed to confuse renters) reduce the deductible/excess towards $0. The more you pay, the closer to $0 it gets and there's less exclusions. Daily cost is up to US$20.

For US Residents, the Collision Damage Coverage that we sell is equivalent to both of the above so you should purchase neither of them voluntarily from the rental company. US Residents might come across some unscrupulous rental companies who force you to purchase their Collision Damage Waiver (#1 above) in which case you should still refuse their SCDW. Our Collision Damage Coverage will still save you US$10-$20 per day vs SCDW. Unfortunately though, and only in the case scenario where you are forced (ie. rental company not providing you with the car rental), you would have to buy their CDW.

For non-US Residents, our Zero Excess Rental Cover is equivalent to the second waiver type above. At the time of writing, RentalCover.com does not sell a CDW-equivalent policy for non-US Residents picking up in Latin America. Our Zero Excess Rental Cover is at least 50% cheaper. We recommend that you check your rental confirmation to see if you have CDW included. Most booking agency websites and rental companies include it with the booking, but if it is not included and you are not a US Resident with our Collision Damage Coverage, you should purchase CDW but not SCDW.

You might also be sold Roadside Assistance Coverage and Theft Protection. Theft is not required if you are able to use your Collision Damage Coverage for US Residents.

Rental Guide: Destination Namibia/Africa

The insurance requirements for travel in Africa differ for each country and rental company. The following is a brief overview however we also recommend that you check the terms of your rental agreement and discuss how insurance works in your particular country of travel. Your rental confirmation will indicate if your booking includes CDW. US Residents who have our Collision Damage Coverage plan do not need CDW/LDW nor SCDW/SLDW from the rental companies.

CDW (Collision Damage Waiver)/LDW (Loss Damage Waiver)

In Africa most rental companies will offer Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) (also called LDW/Loss Damage Waiver if it includes theft) to reduce the "excess" you must pay in the event of an accident. CDW and LDW reduce the excess from the full value of the car towards US$2000 (ZAR31000). RentalCover.com's Collision Damage Coverage is a cheap alternative to the CDW and SCDW.

Our Collision Damage Coverage for US Residents performs the same role as CDW, for at least half the cost. If there is damage to the rental vehicle you would pay and them file a claim with AON who would reimburse the costs. For non-US Residents, we recommend that you take out CDW from the rental company.

Super CDW / Super LDW to Reduce the Excess Payable

As with European, Australian and NZ rentals, CDW & LDW in Africa have a high excess that is reducible with SCDW/SLDW. The excess amount is usually in the range of US$1500-$2000 (ZAR27000), which can be waived by purchasing SCDW or SLDW. RentalCover.com's "Zero Excess Rental Cover" is a cheap alternative to Super CDW/Super LDW and covers all types of accidents and damages.

Liability Insurance/Supplementary Liability Insurance (SLI) for Injuries to Third Parties

Most car rental bookings for visitors to Africa include SLI (also called Accident Liability Insurance/ALI or LIS). Feel free to email us if you're unsure about what your policy includes. At the time of writing we do not sell Liability Insurance.

Most countries in Africa require drivers to have their own third party liability insurance. This provides coverage to drivers if they are involved in an accident with another vehicle or pedestrian. Importantly, third party insurance is legislated within distinct African regions that include several countries each. A "liability" card (i.d. third party insurance certificate/policy) will insure you for a specific region (i.e. the policy works across borders). The regions are:

  • COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa): Commonly called the Yellow Card, it provides coverage to Burundi, Djibouti, Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, however it does not insure you in the country of purchase (i.e. you need to purchase it before you arrive). South Africa is not part of COMESA.
  • CEMAC (Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa): Commonly called the Pink Card, it provides coverage to Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
  • ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States): Commonly called the Brown Card, it provides coverage to Benin, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. Cape Verde is the only ECOWAS country who doesn't take part in this scheme.
  • AL (Arab League): Commonly called the Orange Card, it provides coverage to Northern Africa as well as the Middle East - Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Morocco and Tunisia are part of the European Green Card scheme. Comoros and Palestine do not take part in these card agreements.

Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) for Injuries to Yourself or Your Passengers

PAI (Personal Accident Insurance) insures you and your passengers for accidental medical costs, emergency care and accidental death during your rental trip. Some companies will sell extra PAI coverage as an optional add-on, and this will provide much better coverage if you or a passenger is injured.

Rental Guide: Destination United States

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).

As outlined in the USA FAQ, the insurance options for the USA are different to most of the UK/EU and Australia/NZ and Asia. Because US rentals sold to international travelers generally include zero deductible (i.e. no excess payable in the event of an accident), you will be offered optional roadside assistance at the rental desk.

Our roadside assistance provides coverage to every type of cost that you would incur including towing, impound fees, key replacement, battery and windscreens/tyres/light repair or replacement and of course, the call out fee and any other repairs. You can also claim any unused portion of your travel caused by an early termination of your rental. We also provide coverage to extra costs that are applied by rental companies as a result of your incident, mainly credit card fees, "administration"/processing fees and "loss of use" fees (the rental companies recover any income lost while the vehicle is off the road being fixed).

Important: Roadside Assistance

RentalCover.com's roadside assistance partner is Urgently, the #1 rated roadside assistance network in North America. Urgently Hotline Number is in our app (available in Apple and Android) and in your confirmation emails. Please follow the instructions carefully - if you don't use Urgently then you risk overpaying. We pay Urgently bills ourselves whereas the rental company's roadside operator will charge you then you would make a claim and get reimbursed for those costs and any other "out of pocket" costs.

What To Do If You Have An Emergency Breakdown

Urgently Freecall Hotline: The phone number is in your email confirmation and via our app (Apple and Android). We pay Urgently costs on your behalf whereas we reimburse roadside costs that you would pay to the rental company.

Emergencies On The Road: What to do depends on the type of damage/accident/breakdown!

  • Accident/Damage: Call rental company and ask if you can use your preferred towing company (Urgently) rather than theirs. If approved you need to know the delivery point, then call Urgently. 
  • Battery: Call Urgently.
  • Fuel: Call Urgently.
  • Headlights, other lights: Call Urgently.
  • Key loss or keys locked in car: Call Urgently.
  • Mechanical issue: Call rental company and ask if you can use your preferred towing company. If approved you need to know the dropoff point. Then call Urgently.
  • Tyres: Call Urgently.
  • Windscreens: Call rental company and ask if you can use your preferred towing company. If approved you need to know the dropoff point. Then call Urgently.


When you call Urgently:

  1. You will need your RentalCover.com reference number that ends with "INS".
  2. Urgently will send a tow truck.
  3. You will meet the tow truck and if towing is required, go to the delivery point with them.
  4. We pay the Urgently costs on your behalf.


Visit www.rentalcover.com/claim if you end up paying a bill to the rental company for roadside or other costs. We highly recommend downloading our app from the Appstore and Android so that you have the above info handy!

Extra Cover for the USA is a comprehensive policy offered by RentalCover.com for non-US residents. It provides coverage for all type of damages as well as multitude of "out of pocket" costs that you will incur in the event of an accident or breakdown.

It is also useful to understand how our roadside assistance works. If you follow the instructions in our confirmation emails you might see that some callouts are performed by our preferred roadside assistance network Urgently. Urgently have won numerous awards and are considered "Uber for Roadside Assistance". There's no phone calls needed, just click the link and a vehicle comes to see you and best of all, we pay Urgently's bill on your behalf. For some types of callout, including mechanical breakdowns and collisions, you will be redirected to the rental company's roadside assistance service. You would then pay your rental company and submit a claim for those costs to be reimbursed by RentalCover.com. It usually takes us less than a day to receive, process and pay Extra Cover for USA claims.

You can find more information on further types of coverage available in the US by reading our overview of the insurance options in the USA. You might also like to read this article.

 

Here is a checklist of what to expect at the rental desk in the United States and what to say:
  • If your booking does not already include it, you will be offered Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW, which is CDW plus theft protection) at the rental desk. Your booking confirmation will tell you if CDW or LDW is included, and our overview of CDW might be useful. Our Collision Damage Coverage is primary coverage with zero deductible - it is equivalent to the rental company's CDW.

    We recommend that non-US residents purchase CDW from the rental company. CDW in the US does not have a deductible.

    For further reading, see our overview of CDW/LDW in the US
     
  • You will not be offered a waiver to reduce your deductible ("deductible" is called "excess" outside of the US) because the rental company's CDW is zero deductible.  
  • With "Extra Cover for USA", you will not need to purchase any Roadside Assistance Coverage at the rental desk. This policy will also cover you for any "out of pocket" cost resulting from an accident.
  • If it isn't included in your booking, you will be offered Liability Insurance (also called Supplementary Liability Insurance (SLI) and LIS). There is more information in our SLI for the US FAQ. We recommend purchasing SLI if it wasn't included in your booking.
  • If it isn't included in your booking, you will be offered Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), which insures personal injuries that befall you or your passengers as a result of an accident. PAI is insured in most travel insurances and can also be purchased online (though not, at the time of writing, on RentalCover.com). 
Find out more about what to do at the rental desk in Australia/NZ, Canada or the UK/Europe.

Our Collision Damage Coverage plan is for US Residents and has a $0 deductible. As it's primary coverage you do not have to make a claim against your auto insurance. Additional drivers who are on the rental agreement with you are covered free of charge and it's a zero deductible plan. 

As outlined in our general overview of car rental insurance in the USA, the insurance options are different to the rest of the World. The US is a zero deductible market, so there's no repair costs to pay if you have Collision Damage Coverage. The only costs to pay are collision-related fees that are charged by the rental companies such as "loss of use", relocation and administration fees (all are included in our Extra Cover product).

All other countries have a deductible (called "excess" outside of the US). There are consequently two policies to be aware of:

1. CDW: Outside of the US, Collision Damage Waivers (also called Loss Damage Waivers if they include Theft Protection) provide coverage up to the full value of the car, but they also have a deductible/excess. Depending on the country and rental company the deductible can be between US$500 and US$5,000.
2. SCDW: Outside of the US, Super Collision Damage Waivers (which have multiple other names that are designed to confuse renters) reduce the deductible/excess towards $0. They do not exist in the US because the US is a zero deductible market. With SCDW, the more you pay, the deductible/excess gets closer to $0, and there's less exclusions such as windscreens & tires.

Please see our FAQ entitled "What to do at the rental desk in Latin American countries" and there's more details in our rental guides for USEurope, Australia/NZ, Canada and Africa

AON handles claims on your behalf once you file a claim or inform them of the incident (check your Policy Wording or confirmation emails for details). For travel outside of the US, you would may be required to pay the rental company and then AON will reimburse you. If you are unable to pay, AON will step in to pay on your behalf. Read on for more information about claims for "Collision Damage Coverage".
 

Rental Guide: Destination Worldwide

What to do at the rental desk depends on the country of pickup and your Country of Residence.

Australia, New Zealand
Canada
EU/UK
US residents
US visitors
Latin America and Mexico
Asia 

The specific needs for US Residents who have our Collision Damage Coverage are addressed in each of the above.
 

Rental Guide: Insurance products

The amount payable in the event of an accident is usually called your "excess" or "liability". Rental companies all offer multiple options to reduce your excess. In some countries such as the USA, Canada and Mexico, suppliers do not include any insurance in their basic price, so your excess is actually the full value of the car. In some countries such as Australia and NZ the rental companies are not permitted to pass on this level of risk to customers. In other countries such as UK and most of the EU it is uncommon to see cars without some level of reduced excess.

The product that reduces excess from the full value to a lower amount (usually €/£/$1000-2000) is usually called "CDW" ("Collision Damage Waiver"). Policies that reduce your liability from that level towards €/£/$0 are most commonly called Super CDW (also called "Excess Reduction" in Australia/NZ, Damage Liability Fee and many other names that serve the same purpose). CDW that includes theft coverage is called LDW ("Loss Damage Waiver") while Super CDW that includes theft is called Super LDW.

At present, RentalCover.com offers cheap alternatives to Super CDW/Super LDW and covers all types of damages caused by an accident.

In some countries (including UK, EU, Australia, NZ & most of Asia) it is compulsory for the car owner (i.e. the rental car company) to obtain third party insurance. In the US the responsibility falls on the car driver. There are also some differences between third party property (damages to another vehicle) and third party personal (injuries to another driver or their passengers) from region to region. Lastly, there is often confusion in Australia and New Zealand because rental companies decut third party damage costs from the excess that is payable in the event of a multi-vehicle accident. 


Europe

In Europe third party insurance (usually called "civil liability") is compulsorily held by the car owner and it provides coverage to damages to other vehicles and injury to other drivers. Without it, a rental company cannot place a vehicle on the road. It is consequently not sold by the rental companies, nor is it offered independently by RentalCover.com.  

Read this FAQ for more information on the European insurance options.


United States, Canada, Mexico & South America

In the US and parts of South America, third party responsibility lies with the driver of a rental vehicle. In those countries you will be offered Supplementary Liability Insurance (called SLI or LIS) at the car rental desk and sometimes you will be offered SLI online from the rental company's website. SLI provides coverage to car drivers who cause injuries to drivers or passengers of another vehicle (called "third party injury" or "third party personal"), and other vehicles that are damaged by the accident ("third party property"). Some US states mandate that all cars including rental car companies include SLI however the state minimums are usually quite low for third party injuries so you may consider purchasing an SLI policy. At present RentalCover.com does not sell SLI policies.

Read this FAQ for more information on the US insurance options.


Australia and New Zealand

In Australia and New Zealand it is compulsory for vehicle owners (i.e. the rental company) to have insurance for third party injuries so a rental vehicle cannot be registered or rented without it. In NZ third party personal injuries are settled through a government program called ACC which does not ascribe "fault" to either driver.

Regarding third party property (damage to other vehicles), some motorhome rental companies charge their customers for "third party" damages but they are just discretionary excess charges, i.e. it is a way for them to increase your damage costs. RentalCover.com policies do not discriminate between one type of excess charge and another, all are insured. So yes, third party damage costs are insured. But we suggest you read our detailed explanation of "third party" charges by motorhome rental companies in Australia and New Zealand.

 

The amount payable to the rental company in the event of an accident is called your “excess" or "liability” or (in the US) "deductible". Rental companies offer Collision Damage Waivers (CDW) which reduce your excess from the full value of the vehicle in the event of an accident. CDW reduces your excess to €/£/$0 (this is typical in the USA and Canada) or to approx. to €/£/$1,000-€/£/$3,000 (this is the case in Europe, Australia/New Zealand and all markets except North America). To get that remaining excess down to €/£/$0 the rental companies sell "Super CDW", "Super LDW" (includes CDW & theft). There are lots of different names (e.g. in Australia & NZ it is called "excess reduction") but they serve the same purpose.

RentalCover.com offers cheap alternatives to "Super CDW" and "Super LDW" and covers all types of damages caused by an accident.

The following information is US customers only, for information relating to other regions please refer to the country specific FAQs

 

Supplementary Liability Insurance insures you for injuries to other drivers and their vehicles. In some countries this "third party" insurance is compulsorily provided by the vehicle owner, i.e. the rental companies. However most states in the US do not require the vehicle owner to have mandatory third party liability, meaning the driver is potentially liable for injuries to other people and their property

If you are driving in one of those states you will be offered SLI (also called Accident Liability Insurance/ALI or LIS) by the rental company, which will normally provide between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000 coverage. As a general rule, if SLI if offered by the rental company, we advise you to take it.

 

Example Claim

RentalCover.com customer Keith Richards is holidaying in California to get some much needed time in the sun. When Keith turns up to collect his car from the rental desk, the staff explain to him that rental companies aren't required to insure third party damage in their state, and that they instead offer an optional product called SLI to insure customers.

Given his tendency to get a bit wild while on holidays, Keith decides it would be in his best interests to be insured for any and all potential situations, and opts in for the SLI. This decision pays off just minutes later when Keith accidentally backs his new rental car into the rental desk owner's BMW.

After a lengthy process Keith is able to claim back the full cost of the damages to the BMW through his SLI, and he gets to continue on his merry way.

 

How much coverage is normally provided?

In the USA each state has different rules regarding whether or not third party coverage must be provided, and often the minimum level of coverage required by law will be quite low. Despite this most SLI providers will generally insure you in the range of $1-2 million, though in some cases coverage may extend up to $10 million.

 
  Minimum legal coverage  
State Individual Multiple Persons Property Supplier SLI Coverage
California $15,000 $30,000 $5,000 $1-2 million
Florida $10,000 $20,000 $10,000 $1-2 million
Nevada $15,000 $30,000 $10,000 $1-2 million
New York $25,000 $50,000 $10,000 $1-2 million
Other $10-50 thous. $30-100 thous. $5-25 thous. $1-2 million
 

Am I insured if I am not at fault?

Generally no. In most cases you will only be able to claim third party damage or injuries if you were the driver at fault. The only exception to this would be if you were deemed by a court to be responsible for a third party accident even if it is not caused by you directly, though this will vary depending on your policy terms.

 

An Example of When You Are Not At Fault

RentalCover.com customer Eric Clapton is visiting friends in California, and is hiring a car to get around. While Eric is turning a corner, a taxi driver in a hurry to get a fair pulls an illegal u-turn and drives into the side of Eric's vehicle. Even though the other driver's vehicle is written off, Eric's SLI does not need to insure the taxi driver's car as Eric is not a fault.

 

How Does the Claims Process Work?

To make a SLI claim you will need to contact the rental company's insurance provider and deal directly with them. You will be asked by the insurers to fill out a statement of claim, and to provide some form of documentation relating to your insurance and the claim being made (usually a certificate of insurance, receipts of payment, copies of invoices and police reports as well as other details from the third party showing evidence of damages or or injuries sustained).

The following information is for US customers only, for information relating to other regions please refer to the country specific FAQs

 

Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) insures drivers of a rental car and their passengers for accidental medical costs, emergency care and accidental death during your rental trip, up to a certain limit. Please check the amount of coverage on your policy if you have or intend to purchase personal accident insurance with your rental company to determine if the coverage is adequate.

RentalCover.com policies don't cover Personal Accident Insurance (PAI). 

 

What is the standard level of coverage?

The following table provides an overview of the standard levels of coverage provided by insurers in the US:

Claim Standard Coverage
Accidental Driver Death $100,000 to $200,000
Accidental Passenger Death $10,000 to $30,000
Medical Coverage for Injuries $2,500 - $5,000
Ambulance Coverage $250 - $500
 

How does the claim process work?

If you or a passenger are injured as a result of driving your rental vehicle, you will need to contact your rental company's insurer directly to place a claim. This will normally involve filling out a claims form, and you will be required to provide the details of your insurance, a receipt of the premium you paid and invoices for your medical costs (hospital and ambulance). In the case of death, the next of kin can place the claim with the insurer and provide details of the accident.

All RentalCover.com policies provide coverage for theft, fire and vandalism. Most rental companies will offer you a product called "Theft Protection" either online or at the rental desk, which insures you up to a fixed amount for loss and damage in the case that your rental car is stolen. This will generally be offered as a standalone product in the US and parts of Europe, or as an inclusion in a "premium" coverage product in Australia, NZ and the rest of Europe.

Some rental companies also include Theft Protection with your CDW purchase, in which case the policy is known as a Loss Damage Waiver (LDW). You will need to check your policy wording or contact your policy supplier to find out exactly what is included in your coverage.


 
What happens if there's an accident?

You pay the rental company and we reimburse you the repair cost.

What if the excess charged by the rental company exceeds the repair cost?

If its a single vehicle accident the difference will be repaid within a week. Once that refund takes place we are ready to pay you the outstanding amount. This is why our target for claims payments is 3 business days.

If its a multiple vehicle accident it's a different story. Keep reading...

What's the process if there's more than one vehicle in the accident?

The rental company will deduct your full excess until the insurers close the case. If they deem that you were "not at fault" the rental company may process a refund. This FAQ details the "not at fault" process.  

So summarise what that all means!

The rental company will deduct the full excess amount if there's significant damage to the vehicle. Timing for your refund will differ based on:

1. If the accident involves your vehicle only, you will get a refund soon after the repairs are done.
2. If the accident involves two or more vehicles, the rental company will keep your full excess until the insurers close the case. Your rental company will refund you either:
a) The excess charges less repair costs, or
b) the full excess if your rental company refunds drivers who are not at fault.

For any other questions, please don't hesitate to call us!

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