Have car rental companies stopped including "liability only" insurance in the rate?

My understanding was that car rental rates in the US always included the minimum legally required liability insurance for whichever state you are renting in. They will always try and “upsell” you on buying more insurance, but what comes included is what is required to drive on the road (and will cover, to a point, the other guys costs if you get into a crash). It won’t cover damage to you or your car, in the event of an accident or theft, but you won’t get in trouble for driving without insurance if you get pulled over.

Is that still the case? Was it ever? It seems now at most major rental companies (Hertz, Budget, etc) they imply you get NO insurance unless you pay for it on top of the rental rate. So, unless you opt for the insurance, you are only legal to drive if you have personal car insurance that covers you driving other vehicles (and carry proof of it with you). Is that actually the case now, or have they just got more nefarious about how they describe the insurance options.

Most on my experience has been in California and on the west coast FWIW.

That’s the sort of thing that’s possibly going to vary state to state - one website I checked said that in every state **except **California the minimum legally required liability coverage is included in the rental rate. But it’s only liability- not comprehensive or collision or loss of use - and only the minimum. So most people do need more than that- although the car rental companies aren’t going to tell you that your own insurance policy might cover you.

Agent: Would you like to purchase our comprehensive coverage?
Me: No, fuck off. I have my own insurance.
Agent: *stupid smile. Ah, but sir, may I ask you what is your deductible?
Me: You may. It is $500.
Agent: *stupid smile. But our coverage offers no deductible and it is only $19.95 per day!
Me: So, to make up my deductible, there would have to be a 1 in 25 chance of me having an at fault accident today. By your math, your rate would only be good if I expect to get into 14 at-fault accidents per year by my driving.
Agent: *stupid look. But there is no deduct…
Me: I don’t want the insurance.
Agent: Very well, sign here, here…

This depends on whether the person can afford the $500 deductible. The times when you cannot afford to pay to replace something that you are obligated to pay for in some way is when you take insurance, letting the insurance company profit at your lack of liquidity. If you ever can afford to pay for something that you’re contemplating your insurance covering, my advice is to invest the premium instead and you’ll come out ahead in the long run.

One the other hand, for people who don’t have car insurance (it is possible to have a valid driver’s license and not own a car - that was me for the 15 years I lived in Chicago - and such people tend not to have car insurance of their own), or who’s insurance policy does not cover their driving in rental cars, it might be prudent to purchase the rental agency’s insurance.

Between that and differences in state regulations this is definitely a situation where you mileage varies. Be sure of what your own insurance will and will not cover before you either decline the rental company’s insurance or sign on the line.

You can, of course, buy insurance separately in advance. If you travel to Europe and plan to hire cars, you will save a good deal of expense by doing this. Like everywhere in the world, they want you to buy their own insurance because that is more profit for them, but in Europe at least, third-party insurance is always included with the rental.

There is a downside though. If you have your own insurance and damage the car (or they claim that you damaged it - a common scam) they will put a charge on your credit card to cover the cost. You can claim this back, assuming you can get the supporting paperwork, but it may take time. This can be a particular problem for people who return the car out-of-hours when there is no one there to inspect it. You park the car, drop the keys in a box and catch your flight home, only to find that they charged you several hundred Dollars for damage that you were not aware of, and are now in no position to dispute. Naturally, if you stick to the more reputable (and more expensive) companies, this risk is reduced.

And someone here once said that the rental company’s “car was out of service and we lost money” or whatever they call it, charges, probably won’t be covered by your insurance. We got a bumper “rub” once and on a fluke I’d gotten insurance thru Hotwire, some really cheapo special, so I was fine, but National had tacked on over $900 for the car being out of service for something I could have rubbed off in 20 min. had I seen it.

Had a rental car accident a while ago. Our insurance agency did a great job but still they got taken (not us). E.g., it was a fender bender- the airbags didn’t go off and I drove it back to their lot. It was declared totaled!

Anyway, the rental car company tried to collect loss-of-use money. The insurance company demanded complete paperwork proving that all their cars in the area were rented out at the time. Then the company tried to get it from us. We told the insurance company and they told off the rental company again.

We rent a car from a small business in the Caribbean each year. One year I backed up into a palm tree, putting a good dent in the bumper. I had declined any insurance through the rental company and figured it would be around $500 which was what my policies’ deductible would be.

When I returned the car at the airport, I showed the guy the damages. He looked from a few different angles, then said that he could fix the damage himself if I was willing to pay him cash. I had $500 on me, so I was hoping he’d be at or below that number.

He asked for $50. I gave him three twenties, thanked him, and told him to keep the change. I also gave him our leftover rum, vodka, and weed. Win-win.

Damn! MInd me asking who your insurance co. is?

Do you have the link to that website? Would be interested to see it.

I rented a car through my employer’s discount program. Besides a great rate, my company paid for the full comprehensive package that Budget offered. Last day of vacation, a guy in a motorhome backed into the driver’s side back door. Got the guy’s insurance info, the accident report from the National Park Service and returned the car the next morning. The guy from Budget looked at the car, the paperwork and told me to have a nice day, I was fully covered.

Here it is

I wouldn’t rely on it - but it’s a good indication that there’s at least one state where liability coverage is not included in the rental fee
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