Do You Need Insurance to Rent a Car in California?
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Can I Rent a Car in California if I Don’t Have Insurance?

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Car rental insurance is an important consideration when renting a car, as it can protect you from financial liability in case of an accident or other incident. While many people assume their personal auto insurance policies will cover them while driving rental cars, this isn’t always the case. In California, car rental insurance requirements are specific and should be carefully considered before renting a vehicle.

If you’re planning to rent a car in California, you might be wondering if you need to buy insurance from the rental company or if you’re already covered by your own policy or credit card. The answer isn’t so simple, since California has some unique laws and regulations regarding rental car insurance. The insurance experts from Altra Insurance Services, a premier provider of auto insurance Chula Vista drivers rely on for high-quality service and affordable coverage, explain what you need to know about insurance when renting a car in California.

Minimum Insurance Requirements for Renting a Car in California

Unlike some other states, California doesn’t require rental car companies to provide any liability insurance coverage to their customers as part of the rental contract. This means you’re responsible for any damage or injury you cause to others while driving the rental car unless you have your own liability insurance that covers rental cars or you purchase it from the rental company or another source.

The minimum liability insurance limits in California are:

  • $15,000 for bodily injury or death of one person
  • $30,000 for bodily injury or death of more than one person
  • $5,000 for property damage

If you don’t have enough liability insurance, you could face legal and financial consequences if you’re involved in an accident. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that you check with your own insurance company or credit card issuer before renting a car in California to see if they extend coverage to rental cars and what the limits and exclusions are. If they don’t cover rental cars or the coverage is insufficient, you should consider buying liability insurance from the rental company or another source.

Optional Insurance Products Offered by Rental Car Companies in California

Besides liability insurance, rental car companies in California may offer other optional insurance products. These include:

  • Loss damage waiver (LDW) – This waives your responsibility for any loss or damage to the rental car due to theft, vandalism, collision, or other causes, regardless of fault. However, it may not cover some situations, such as driving under the influence, driving off-road, or violating the rental agreement.
  • Personal accident insurance (PAI) – This covers medical expenses and accidental death benefits for you and your passengers in case of an injury while driving the rental car.
  • Personal effects coverage (PEC) – This covers your personal belongings that are stolen or damaged while in the rental car.
  • Roadside assistance protection (RAP) – This covers the cost of services such as towing, jump-starting, tire changing, lockout assistance, or fuel delivery if you encounter a breakdown or emergency while driving the rental car.

The cost and coverage of these optional insurance products vary by rental company and location. You should read the terms and conditions carefully before buying them and compare them with your own insurance policy or credit card benefits. You may find that some of these products are redundant or unnecessary for your situation.

Renting a car in California can be a great way to explore the state’s diverse attractions and scenery. However, you need to be aware of the insurance requirements and options so you can enjoy your trip without worrying about coverage for the car you rent.

Drivers who are searching for reliable, affordable auto insurance should reach out to the experienced professionals at Altra Insurance Services. In addition to auto coverage, we offer a variety of insurance products, including motorcycle, business, and homeowners insurance. Call one of our friendly agents today at (619) 404-6311 for a free quote.

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