Will my auto insurance cover a rental car?
The short answer to this question is yes, your car insurance does cover you when you rent a car. However, like with most things in the insurance industry, it all depends on what coverage options you chose when purchasing your automobile insurance policy.
In my jurisdiction (British Columbia, Canada), your typical automobile insurance policy would not provide any coverage when you rent a car. However, if you have been driving for more than nine years without any at-fault claims, you are qualified to purchase something called the Roadstar package for an additional fee.
The main coverage in the Roadstar package is Rental Vehicle Coverage. This protects you when you are using a courtesy vehicle or any vehicle you are renting for fewer than 30 days, and coverage is available for both recreational use or business purposes. The 30 day limit is in place to make sure you are really insuring a short-term rental and not a leased vehicle.
As an aside, this Roadstar package also covers you for the following:
- Replacement cost for "own damage" on cars less than 3 years old
- Replacement of locks and keys if the keys were stolen
- Loss of Use Protection. Regardless of who is at fault, if your vehicle is no longer usable, the insurer will reimburse you up to $500 to rent a substitute vehicle
- Vehicle Travel Protection. The insurer will reimburse you for additional living expenses if your car was damaged or stolen while on a trip (if you're going on a trip, here are 6 Things You Should Know About Travel Insurance)
So, to summarize: yes it is possible for your car insurance policy to cover your rental vehicle but be sure to check whether your specific policy has that option and what the duration of coverage is (for related reading, check out Is Rental Car Insurance Worth It?).
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