Car rental: which insurance (s) to choose?

Have you just booked a rental car for your next holiday and are wondering if the insurance is included in the total amount of the booking? The answer is yes! The majority of rental companies have third-party insurance, theft insurance and hull insurance included in the package. Be careful though, the guarantees offered by the latter are often limited (high deductible, certain damages not covered, etc.). This is why, depending on the duration of your rental and the route chosen, it may be wise to choose an additional insurance policy that covers you more and gives you more guarantees. We help you see more clearly in our article!

Why is it important to be insured when renting a car?

First of all, you need to know that at an inspection you are required to present a certificate proving that the vehicle is well insured. This basic insurance is equivalent to the civil liability guarantee, also called “third party insurance”, and covers all the damage you may cause to others. In Europe, all tenants must be insured against third parties, but abroad, the applicable legislation may be different. So make sure you are well informed.
As for the guarantees regarding your own injury in the event of an accident, their coverage depends on your liability in the accident and the clauses of your contract.

If you are not responsible for the accident, the other party’s insurance covers all damages and also provides compensation to the landlord, regardless of whether you have taken out supplementary insurance or not. On the other hand, in the event of an accident for which you are responsible, a deductible remains your responsibility. Sometimes it is possible to reduce the amount or to be exempted from it if you have chosen a supplementary insurance.

Finally, with regard to the theft of the vehicle, most rental insurance policies include this warranty in the rental contract. However, be sure to check that it is included, as otherwise you would be required to refund the rental company the value of the new vehicle you have rented.

What type of guarantees does the car insurance offer that are included in the car rental contracts?

In Europe, a rental company is required to take out basic insurance including third party cover, guarantee in case of theft or damage as well as an assistance service under certain conditions.

Third party or civil liability coverage

The liability guarantee, internationally known under the abbreviation LIA “liability insurance car”, covers all costs associated with the damage you may cause to another road user. Although this warranty is mandatory in Europe, this is not the case in some countries, such as the United States or Canada.
To avoid unpleasant surprises, read your lease carefully beforehand. It may be that there is no guarantee of civil liability or that its liability ceiling is very low. In this case, the rental companies will definitely offer you a supplementary insurance generally called SLI “supplementary liability insurance”. The latter provides an extended guarantee for an amount of up to 2 million euros.

Be insured against damage and theft of vehicles

In Europe, this guarantee is included in the basic insurance formula. But beware, this is often not the case in the US, Canada or Australia.

European car rental companies’ basic car insurance policies generally offer a CDW collision damage waiver. It applies in case of accidents and collisions, even without additional insurance. The flight is also included in the basic formula. However, there is generally a deductible to be paid and it is rare that the belongings that were in the cabin of the car are covered by this warranty.

Rental car assistance

Accident assistance is included in the basic formula and therefore in the price of your rental, but very often only in the event of an accident. In the event that you use the wrong fuel or lose your keys, the rescue service remains your responsibility.

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Additional protection, reduction of deductible … What are the benefits of the extra insurance that your rental company offers?

This type of insurance is optional. However, depending on the guarantees included in the basic formula of your lease and your needs, it may be interesting to choose an additional insurance policy.

One of the benefits relates to the redemption of the franchise. It can be completely or only partially. This thus allows you to reduce the size of your deductible, especially in the event of an accident or theft of a vehicle. These options are often referred to as “super coverage” or “complete protection”. However, they do not cover minor damage such as broken glass or tire damage. Often this type of guarantee is only offered by Premium Supplementary Insurance.

Finally, another component of supplementary insurance is personal accident protection (PAI). It covers both the driver and his passengers in case of death, disability and can also cover medical expenses in connection with injuries from an accident that occurs during the rental period. Remember to check that you do not already have these guarantees with your other insurances or mutual health insurance agreements.

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Alternative solutions for supplementary insurance

If you find that the basic formula included in your lease does not provide you with adequate guarantees. Be aware that there are interesting alternatives to the extra insurance that your rental company offers.

Choose an independent car insurance!

Often 100% online, independent car insurance for rental cars can be very interesting. It is actually you who chooses it and therefore chooses the one that gives you the guarantees you need. In addition, it is mostly possible to report your claim online, and all you have to do to get a refund is send the following documents to your insurance company:

  • rent lease,
  • the report of the accident or damage from the landlord,
  • the invoice for the repair and proof of payment.

Advanced bank card car insurance

Premium credit cards like American Express, Visa Premier or Mastercard Gold generally offer an insurance package for rental cars. In order to take advantage of it, the essential condition is to use your credit card to pay for your car rental. However, be careful to inform yourself about the terms of this type of insurance, because there are many exceptions and the procedures are usually quite long.

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