Generally, your personal auto insurance should extend to a rental car. A rental car most likely would be covered by Collision coverage or Liability coverage, depending on the company in which your policy is issued, because you're temporarily driving it and you don't own it. Basically, your policy will treat a rental like your primary vehicle while you're in possession of it.
If you're looking for more coverage, you may want to consider purchasing the additional insurance offered by a rental car company.
Do keep in mind that you may not be able to rent a car at all if you don't have auto insurance, as several major car rental companies may require you to have it.
Make sure you know what's covered if you purchase additional coverage from a rental company. Common coverages offered by rental car companies include a damage waiver, supplemental liability, personal effects coverage and personal accident insurance. In general, each provides different types of protection, as noted below. Please note that these descriptions are for informational purposes only, and coverages may vary between rental car companies.
- Damage Waiver – If your rental car is damaged or stolen, this coverage will apply. However, you may not be able to use it for accidents caused by speeding, driving on unpaved roads or driving while intoxicated. If you already have Comprehensive and Collision coverage, this coverage may duplicate coverage you already have on your own personal auto policy.
- Supplemental Liability – Provides additional liability protection, generally up to $1 million, if someone makes a claim against you while you're driving a rental car. For instance, Supplemental Liability would apply if you're at fault for an accident and the other party files a claim against you for injuries and vehicle damage that exceed your regular policy limits. Supplemental Liability coverage may also provide Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage, depending on the company selling it. If you already have adequate liability coverage on your car and an umbrella policy if you own your home/auto, you may want to forego this coverage.
- Personal Effects Coverage (PEC) – Protects items and property you own if they're damaged. If you have homeowners or renters insurance, you may already have coverage, though a deductible may apply.
- Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) – Covers your injuries while you're driving a rental. If you already have health insurance or adequate medical coverage under your auto policy, this coverage may be unnecessary.
With both PEC and PAI coverage, only you and your passengers are covered — if you're at fault for an accident, PEC and PAI would not apply to any damages or injuries caused to other parties.