Does my SR22 Insurance cover me when I rent a car?

We often get questions like this one: Does my SR22 Insurance cover me when I rent a car?

Generally, the answer is YES – if you need to rent a car for whatever reason, your SR22 insurance policy will still cover you, just as it does when you drive your own car.

SR22 really isn’t a special type of insurance. It’s just an administrative requirement to verify that you have the minimum required liability insurance in place to drive in your state.

The vast majority of people who have an SR22 requirement have a regular car insurance policy that at least has liability coverage included. Unless you’re financing the car (in which case, the car finance company will require you to carry collision and comprehensive insurance coverage.

So whatever insurance coverage you bought for your own car and yourself, that coverage will follow you if you rent a car.

The same limits and deductible you bought for yourself will apply to your rental, as well.

Now, this is assuming you are using the rental car for personal use, just transporting yourself. If you are using your rental for commercial purposes (i.e., driving Uber or delivering pizzas), you need tell your agent, who will price a commercial policy. That will cost more, but a personal car insurance policy won’t pay out if you damage your rental car while using it for commercial purposes.

Warning: Your liability insurance will not cover damage to your rental car. That is, it doesn’t cover your liability to the rental car company. It will only cover damage you cause to other peoples’ vehicles or property while you’re driving your own car or your rental, and injuries you cause to other people. If you rent a $40,000 car, and you total it, you’ll owe $40,000 to your rental car company. And your liability-only insurance policy won’t protect you at all. You would need to own collision coverage to be protected against the cost of repairing or replacing the rental car if you damage it.

Should you buy additional coverage from the car rental company?

If all you have is a liability-only policy – the minimum to be street legal in your state, the answer is usually YES. It’s probably a good idea to buy some additional liability insurance, and additional collision and comprehensive coverage.

Generally, you shouldn’t buy coverage that duplicates your existing car insurance policy.

But think through what would happen if you got in a car accident: Is the car you’re driving newer and more valuable than your current clunker?

If you totaled your rental tomorrow, can you afford to write a check to replace the car?

If not, you need some additional insurance!

Non-Owner Car Insurance and Rental Cars

Many people maintain car insurance even though they don’t own a car themselves. The solution for these people is non-owner car insurance.

It’s much cheaper than regular car insurance and covers you if you need to borrow or rent a car on a regular basis for whatever reason. If you have non-owner car insurance, it will cover you when you rent a car, just like any other policy.

Tip: If you’ve got a long rental coming up, give us a call and let us know your situation. It’s almost always better to buy insurance from an insurance broker rather than from a third party like a rental car company. They won’t provide you with the best possible pricing. And adding really valuable comprehensive and collision coverage isn’t as expensive as you think!

Thanks for reading, as always, and I’ll see you on the road!

Steve Ludwig, CEO

Select Insurance Group