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Can You Add Rental Car Insurance After An Accident?

Insurance policies can be adjusted after an accident, but changes in coverage will not apply to the accident. If you need a rental car after an accident, make sure to include Rental Reimbursement Coverage in your policy.

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Have you been in an accident and now you need a rental car? Or perhaps you got into an accident while you were in a rented car? 

In this article, we will detail the difference between rental car insurance and rental car reimbursement insurance, first-hand experiences from a licensed insurance agent, and some tips and tricks to help you if you’ve been in an accident and need a rental car!

Keep reading to get the answers to your rental car insurance questions.

Adding Rental Car Insurance After An Accident

You can add rental car insurance after an accident, but it will not provide any benefits for incidents before the date the coverage starts. For this reason, periodically review your car insurance with a qualified agent.

But, if you have been in an accident, fear not! There are other ways to get a rental car paid for by an insurance company after an accident.

Pro Tip: If you’ve been in an accident that was not your fault, and the person who hit you has insurance, you can file a claim with their insurance company to request a rental car. 

When calling the opposing insurance company (the company of the person who hit you) make sure to have the following information handy:

  • The name of the person who hit you
  • Their insurance policy number
  • A police report number (if available)

If the insurance company provides a rental car to you, they will only do so for a limited amount of time. Be sure to ask them the specifics on your daily monetary limit for a rental car and how long you will be able to keep it.

Pro Tip: If you need to pay out of pocket for a rental car after an accident, you can get a discount by informing the rental car agency that this rental is due to an insurance claim.

You can even ask your insurance agent to help too! 

I’ve been able to broker lower rates for my clients by calling rental car agencies myself, explaining the situation, and asking if they will lower rates. And guess what? They often do!

Remember, it’s always a good idea to ask for a discount! 

If you’ve been in an accident and don’t have rental car insurance, then you will be responsible for paying for the cost of a rental car while your car is in the shop.

Happy Young Carefree Couple Driving Along Country Road in Convertible at Sunset

Rental Car Insurance vs Rental Car Reimbursement

Both of these terms are often confused and for good reason! They sound similar but have completely different meanings.

Many times, while working as an insurance agent, I’ve noticed that clients use both terms synonymously. 

But they aren’t the same insurance coverage. Rental Car Insurance and Rental Car Reimbursement are two different coverages and here’s how!

What is Rental Car Insurance?

Rental Car Insurance is an insurance policy that covers an accident while driving a rented car. This is the coverage that would pay to repair a rental car in the case of a total or partial loss. 

For instance, if you are driving a rental car and bump into a tree, Rental Car Insurance would pay for the rental car’s bumper repair (less any deductible). 

Pro Tip: Your existing automobile insurance policy may cover an accident while driving a rental car if you have full coverage. Before renting a vehicle, call your licensed insurance agent and ask if your coverage will “extend” to a rental vehicle. 

What is Rental Reimbursement Coverage?

Rental Car Reimbursement Coverage is insurance coverage provided to help pay for the daily costs of a rental car if you are in an accident and need a rental car. 

This is the coverage most think about when “Rental Car Insurance” comes to mind! 

The proper way to refer to the insurance coverage that pays for the daily cost of a rental car is Rental Reimbursement Coverage.

three happy woman singing on a roadtrip

How to Get a Rental Car After an Insurance Claim

After the policyholder has filed their claim with their auto insurance, they should keep in mind these tips for getting a rental vehicle and avoiding overpaying:

  1. Many insurance companies have rental car company partnerships for their insurance benefit. This means that the rental car company can bill your auto insurance directly. 
  2. If a policyholder chooses a different rental car company than the one their insurance has a partnership with, the policyholder will have to pay upfront for the rental and file for reimbursement from their insurance provider. 
  3. Tell the rental car company that your rental is related to an accident. Most rental car companies offer a discounted rental rate in these circumstances.

How to Add Rental Car Reimbursement to your Insurance Policy

To add Rental Car Reimbursement to your policy, contact an agent or existing insurance company to add the coverage. Please note that to have rental reimbursement insurance, policyholders must have collision and comprehensive coverage (often called “full coverage”).

How Long Does Insurance Pay for a Rental Car After an Accident?

How long insurance pays for a rental car after an accident depends on elected coverage amounts.

There are two amounts listed in policies that impact rental car reimbursement:

  • Daily Limit 
  • Per Claim Limit

An example of coverage limits would be $40/$1,200. 

This means that if you are in a claim and need a rental car, your insurance coverage would provide up to $40 of insurance coverage per day (enough to currently rent a mid-size sedan).

The $1,200 portion of the coverage limit is the max the insurance company will pay for a rental car over time. 

Pro Tip: You can choose to rent a car that costs more than what the insurance company is providing but you will be responsible for the difference.

Friends, travel and happy on road trip in countryside, farm and agriculture land together for nature, relax and bonding holiday. Diversity, group and people on adventure in summer, vacation and smile.

How Much Does it Cost to Rent A Vehicle After an Accident?

We charted the lowest advertised rates using Expedia. We listed the lowest rate in each state’s largest city (and surrounding area). 

This estimate will give readers a better idea of the coverage needs in their area.

Pro Tip: Rental Car Reimbursement policies do not cover gasoline or other transportation costs from the rental car. 

StateLargest CityLowest Rental Rate per day (Expedia)Company
AlabamaBirmingham$37Hertz
AlaskaAnchorage$25Budget
ArizonaPhoenix$58Hertz
ArkansasLittle Rock$60Enterprise
CaliforniaLos Angeles$35Midway
ColoradoDenver$26Dollar
ConnecticutBridgeport$85Avis
DelawareWilmington$36Hertz
District of ColumbiaWashington$33Dollar
FloridaJacksonville$47Hertz
GeorgiaAtlanta$39Thrifty
HawaiiHonolulu$84Thrifty
IdahoBoise$45Enterprise
IllinoisChicago$60Alamo
IndianaIndianapolis$35Thrifty
IowaDew Moines$48Budget
KansasWichita$57Payless
KentuckyLouisville$30Dollar
LouisianaNew Orleans$44Ace
MainePortland$28Dollar
MarylandBaltimore$40RentAWreck
MassachusettsBoston$23Hertz
MichiganDetroit$75Enterprise
MinnesotaMinneapolis$35Dollar
MississippiJackson$50Enterprise
MissouriKansas City$44Hertz
MontanaBillings$42RentAWreck
NebraskaOmaha$44Alamo
NevadoLas Vegas$28Dollar
New HampshireManchester$31Thrifty
New JerseyNewark$34Payless
New MexicoAlbuquerque$34Ace
New YorkNew York$72Avis
North CarolinaCharlotte$41Easirent
North DakotaFargo$43Hertz
OhioColumbus$58Budget
OklahomaOklahoma City$56Hertz
OregonPortland$23Thrifty
PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia$38Hertz
Rhode IslandProvidence$34Budget
South CarolinaColumbia$68Enterprise
South DakotaSioux Falls$51Hertz
TennesseeMemphis$34Thrifty
TexasHouston$42Hertz
UtahSalt Lake City$28Nu Car Rental
VermontBurlington$52Hertz
VirginiaVirginia Beach$51Hertz
WashingtonSeattle$50Thrifty
West VirginiaCharleston$75Hertz
WisconsinMilwaukee$34Dollar
WyomingCheyenne$81Avis

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Rental Insurance be added to a rental car after pick-up?

Most rental car companies allow renters to add insurance to their rental agreement after pick-up with one major caveat: they must return to the rental counter for a damage inspection before adding protection.

Do I need Rental Reimbursement on my auto insurance?

Rental Reimbursement on auto insurance is a wise type of coverage to have. It costs a small amount extra on each month’s premium and will cover a significant amount of the cost to rent a vehicle during repairs.

References

(2019). 500 Largest US Cities, By State and Population. CDC. Retrieved December 2, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/places/about/500-cities-2016-2019/pdfs/500-cities-by-state.pdf

(2022). Rental Cars. Expedia. Retrieved December 2, 2022, from https://www.expedia.com/Cars?langid=1033&semcid=US.B.GOOGLE.BT-c-EN.CAR&semdtl=a111416148122.b1124095815666.r1.g1kwd-2444866548.i1.d1581806123172.e1c.j19007794.k1.f1.n1.l1g.h1e.m1&gclid=Cj0KCQiA4aacBhCUARIsAI55maHoxe3I4b3ubLbF1WRl4BiuvLAh3WyUWUQvLGJwbZCR3QEhz4FWifgaAqrgEALw_wcB

(2022). What Is Rental Reimbursement Auto Insurance? Forbes Advisor. Retrieved December 2, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/advisor/car-insurance/rental-reimbursement/

Jesse Cunningham profile picture

Jesse Cunningham V is a professional writer and licensed insurance agent. He has worked in the insurance industry in different capacities, starting as a customer service representative and working his way up to an independent agency owner. He is licensed in the states of Maryland and Pennsylvania for Property, Casualty, Life, and Health products. Jesse has worked with many national carriers, including Nationwide, State Farm, Travelers, and Liberty Mutual, and specializes in car and home insurance and health, life, accidental death, and disability insurance. He writes for multiple publications including FIXD and Bauple.com. All articles by Jesse are opinion-based. Speak with your licensed insurance agent about the particulars of your insurance before making any decisions.

We’re here to help you simplify car care and save, so this post may contain affiliate links to help you do just that. If you click on a link and take action, we may earn a commission. However, the analysis and opinions expressed are our own.

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About the Author

Jesse Cunningham

Jesse Cunningham

Jesse Cunningham V is a professional writer and licensed insurance agent. He has worked in the insurance industry in different capacities, starting as a customer service representative and working his way up to an independent agency owner. He is licensed in the states of Maryland and Pennsylvania for Property, Casualty, Life, and Health products. Jesse has worked with many national carriers, including Nationwide, State Farm, Travelers, and Liberty Mutual, and specializes in car and home insurance and health, life, accidental death, and disability insurance. He writes for multiple publications including FIXD and Bauple.com. All articles by Jesse are opinion-based. Speak with your licensed insurance agent about the particulars of your insurance before making any decisions.

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