The term travel car insurance could technically mean a few things, but it usually refers to rental reimbursement coverage. It could also refer to rental car expense coverage, another optional insurance service that some companies offer. The former is to help pay for transportation after an accident or while your car is in the shop, while the latter is for expenses that occur while out driving a rental car. Here’s everything you need to know about travel car insurance.
What Is Travel Car Insurance?
You could interpret the term “travel car insurance” a few ways. The most common is rental reimbursement coverage, which protects you when you need a rental car or public transportation while your vehicle is being repaired. After dealing with an insurance claim and getting your vehicle towed to a service center, the last thing most people want to deal with is the unexpectedly high costs of an impromptu rental car. Rental reimbursement coverage does not have anything to do with renting a car to travel or go on vacation.
If there’s travel car insurance for having to get around after an accident, there’s also rental car coverage, which would be an actual type of car insurance for traveling. We’ll cover rental reimbursement, followed by rental car coverage.
What Is Rental Reimbursement Coverage?
Sometimes called transportation expense reimbursement coverage or accident rental car coverage, this is typically an optional type of coverage for standard car insurance. It helps pay for rental car costs, bus fare, cab rides, and other transportation while your car is in the shop and you are filing a claim for covered losses. In other words, if you rent a car and your normal vehicle is fine, rental reimbursement does not cover those expenses.
How and when you are able to make a claim for rental reimbursement coverage will vary, depending on the company. You usually get to choose where to rent a vehicle from and what kind of car, although some providers have specific partners or daily cost limits. Regardless of the reason you are filing a claim, such as collision insurance after someone bumps your car or comprehensive coverage after a fallen tree has crushed it, rental reimbursement is a nice bonus.
What Are the Limits of Rental Reimbursement Coverage?
There’s typically a maximum number of days and a maximum amount of funds provided each day, ending early once your damaged car is drivable again. For instance, your insurance provider might have a policy that pays for up to $30 per day of rental and travel expenses for up to 25 days. You will have to pay out of pocket for expenses that go over the number of days or the per-day limit. Also, this type of coverage usually does not cover the cost of gasoline.
Is Travel Expense Coverage the Same as Rental Reimbursement?
Although similar, travel expense coverage is a subtype of insurance offered by some providers, such as State Farm. You can use both when you can’t use your car due to an accident or problem, but travel expense coverage will pay for meals and lodging required after getting stuck away from home, not just transportation like rental cars. Transportation will either be provided or covered by the company.
What Is Rental Car Insurance?
Rental car insurance is coverage for things that happen to, with, or inside a car you rented. It’s common for someone going on a trip to get this added protection, which is why it’s sometimes called travel car insurance. There are four general types of services considered a part of rental car coverage:
Collision Damage Waiver
If your rental car is damaged or stolen, this part of the insurance policy will pay to repair or replace it. There will be a deductible you’ll have to pay as well.
Supplemental Liability Coverage
You should always have the state minimum liability car insurance. However, a rental car insurance provider might suggest you get additional liability coverage, which would be considered supplemental liability. If you’re traveling and renting a car overseas and your current provider does not handle liability coverage abroad, you’ll definitely need to look into supplemental liability.
Personal Accident Coverage
This is a less common but still available type of rental car insurance that will cover medical, ambulance, and death expenses for yourself and your passengers. Between standard minimum liability, health, and life insurance, you might already have enough coverage in this area.
Personal Effects Coverage
This type of insurance covers the theft of any valuables inside a rented car, usually up to a firm limit. Even if you already have personal property protection coverage as part of a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance plan, it might not qualify for items that were stolen from your rental car.
Is Travel Car Insurance the Same as Travel Insurance?
No, travel insurance is a broader category of benefits. Some companies specialize in travel insurance, and they might offer a combination of the four types of travel car insurance described above. General travel insurance could also include many other benefits related to travel, such as coverage for:
- Trip cancellations, interruptions, or travel delays
- Emergency medical and dental service
- Baggage loss, damage, or delays
Some insurance providers might be better picks for rental car reimbursement or rental car insurance, while other providers might be able to bundle everything for you. It’s a good idea to shop around and get quotes from a few high-rated companies serving your location.
What About Overseas Insurance?
Although travel car insurance typically refers to rental reimbursement coverage or rental car insurance, you may also want to look at overseas insurance if you plan on moving to a place that you visit. This is a coverage type that protects your car, other vehicles, and other types of personal property after moving to a different country. Geico offers these services on top of international property insurance to protect your belongings from fire, smoke, theft, vandalism, and more. They can even help with shipping your car and international marine transit insurance.
The quick takeaways are that travel car insurance usually refers to rental car reimbursement after an accident, although it can also mean general rental car insurance, a common type used by overseas travelers. Travel insurance and overseas insurance are slightly related but separate terms. One thing is certain: if you’ll be traveling and renting cars often, general rental car insurance is a good idea.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.