Insurance of the rental car in the USA

Insurance of the rental car in the USA

Insurance of the rental car in the USA

Damage to the rental car, regardless of whether by own or third party debt, are not covered by the rental price. It is therefore advisable to take out additional insurance already at the time of booking or on-site when taking over the car.

liability risks

You are the lessee responsible for any damage or loss of the vehicle, whether or not it is at fault. Liability only applies to damage caused by forces of nature or fire (if Not caused by accident = collision) not (accidental fire or acts of nature beyond your control). The amount of liability includes the market value of the vehicle (it is lost or damaged). The risk from the liability level can thus quickly exceed the value of the actual US trip.


This liability is avoided if you rent the vehicle for a fee, the so-called CDW (collision damage waiver = Comprehensive insurance with reduced liability, sometimes also with exemption from liability) or SCDW (Super CDW = full insurance with or without low deductible) or LDW (loss damage waiver = Comprehensive insurance with liability exemption, even with theft) selects. For offers from European travel providers, it is usually included in the rental price, so included (included). In the matter it concerns the exclusion of the own contribution for accident damages. This is not insurance, but a contract with the landlord! When renting in New York, however, there is always a deductible of $ 100. The completion of CDW / LDW is always recommended.


An improved insurance protection offers the so-called LIS (Liability Insurance Supplement = Increasing the liability coverage) or EP (Extended Protection) or ALI (Additional Liability Insurance = higher liability coverage) or SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance). It can still be rebooked upon assumption of the rental car on site (but possibly not in Texas) and costs about US $ 11 per rental day (including tax = tax). The insurance increases coverage of statutory liability insurance to $ 1,000,000 for personal injury and property damage per claim. In our opinion, this insurance makes sense, even if comprehensive insurance cover is already provided by a European insurer (such as the offer of individual tour operators). Here are also insured claims of the lessee against a guilty accident opponent, if this is not or underinsured or not known, because he commits driver escape (up to 100,000 US $). In these cases, the tourist otherwise liable even to the landlord, because an insurance coverage is missing.

Personal Accident Insurance

Injury accident insurance is hardly needed in Germany. If the accident opponent is guilty, pays his insurance, it is your own fault, the own motor vehicle liability is liable to pay. Damages are usually only reimbursed if you are injured or the accident was caused by a road user (cyclist, pedestrian) who is insolvent and has no private liability. Taking into account these restrictions, depending on the group of participants an occupational accident insurance (PAI = Personal Accident Insurance) make sense when traveling in the US.

Luggage insurance

For luggage insurance (PEP = Personal Effects Protection or PEC = Personal Effects Coverage), the statements on occupational accident insurance apply accordingly. It only makes sense in exceptional cases. The PAE (Personal Accident and Affects Coverage) is a passenger and luggage insurance, however, the personal items such as glasses and cameras are not insured.

The ESP (Personal Sickness Protection covers emergency medical care.

Credit card-based insurance

Car insurance services, which credit cards to their owners, usually only apply if the rental car was paid with the appropriate card. The liability and comprehensive insurance coverage for rental cars abroad is usually an additional insurance. The statutory basic insurance policies prescribed in the respective country must exist alongside them. In the US, it should also be noted that different minimum cover is required depending on the state. Who would like to rely on his credit card-bound insurance as insurance coverage, should therefore their insurance coverage closely with a minimum and reasonable motor insurance coverage, so as not to end unexpectedly in an insurance gap that can be very expensive especially in the US with its high sums of damage.


The conclusion of a traffic protection insurance, which also refers to the US, makes sense, because one moves in a country with foreign traffic rules and a foreign legal system. Such insurance companies offer insurers as well as automobile clubs and credit card companies.

Loss of insurance coverage

All insurance and disclaimers will not apply if precautionary measures are violated.

After the leases have to leave the car:

  • all keys are deducted (remove keys),
  • all doors and windows and the trunk are tightly closed (lock all doors, close all car windows and the trunk)

or you want to be responsible for any loss! So: even on hot days the rental car with (partially) open windows park!

Not infrequently, there is damage to the rental vehicle abroad. Regardless of who caused the accident, there are some important points to keep in mind. First, in case of accident, the police must be turned on. Both the documentation of the damage and the correct claims settlement are essential for the landlord. In case of communication difficulties, an interpreter can be contacted by telephone to clarify the situation. The immediate contact with the car rental provider is also highly advisable. If no total loss has occurred on the vehicle and a claim for compensation must be asserted, the journey can be continued.

Prohibited uses of the rental car

  • Leave the vehicle to an unauthorized driver
  • deliberate destruction or damage or theft
  • Driving outside the US or Canada
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • any criminal use
  • overloading
  • paid transport of persons or things
  • Driving without safety belt
  • Driving outside paved roads (off paved roads).

In case of violations of these provisions of the rental agreement, the liability of the authorized driver as described in detail under liability risks and loss of insurance coverage shall apply unless LDW, PAI, PEC or LIS occurs.

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Christina Cherry
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