Liability Laws for Rental Cars

by Mark Fitzpatrick

Renting a car in the United States is subject to state liability laws. Most states require renters to have Insurance and accident coverage. Rental car companies offer many insurance options for consumers. Consumers need to consider whether it is worth it to purchase extra liability insurance for their rental car experience or to keep their own car insurance. Drivers must consider all available options.

Liability Coverage

Besides collision insurance, rental car companies provide liability coverage. Liability is important in case the driver of the rental car is in an accident. Liability coverage includes property damage or injuries from the driver. Drivers should check their personal auto insurance to see if it covers liability for rental cars. If a driver has liability insurance, the rental car insurance might be an unnecessary cost. If the driver's insurance does not have liability for rental cars, it is advised to purchase the rental car company's liability.

Supplemental Liability Protection

This form of liability protection is offered by most rental companies. Rental companies charge the consumer a fee per day, which gives the driver the state's liability coverage. This liability insurance ranges in coverage, but some state plans cover almost $1 million in damages. Even if the supplemental liability protection is not $1 million, it is probably worth having. An example by Insure.com illustrates that a driver's personal liability insurance may not cover all damages when considering a rental car. A driver's personal insurance may cover $40,000, but the damages inflicted could be $65,000. The fee for this supplemental liability protection has an average cost of $10.95 a day.

Credit Card Options

Another option is for consumers to rent a car using their credit card. Some credit cards offer liability coverage for rental cars. The only issue with this option is that credit cards vary in their coverage. Consumers should research their credit card's policies before utilizing the card's liability insurance rather than a rental car company's insurance.

About the Author

Mark Fitzpatrick began writing professionally in 2006. He has written in literary journals such as Read Herrings and provides written online guides for towns ranging from Seymour, Connecticut to Haines, Alaska. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Massachusetts.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Red cars image by Catabu from Fotolia.com