Is a second driver covered by auto insurance when renting a car?

Check your auto insurance policy to see if other drivers are covered under your rental coverage. The average cost of rental insurance in the US is $19/day.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Oct 28, 2021

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Things to Remember...

  • If you do not add a second driver to rental car insurance, you may face serious consequences
  • Check with your regular insurance policy to see if it covers any rental vehicles
  • Your credit card may another resource that provides rental car insurance

Many people ask about the need to insure a second driver when they purchase a rental car.

If you’re renting a car and your additional driver isn’t included on a personal auto policy, the decision to allow a second driver to operate the rental vehicle is potentially quite risky.

The person in whose name the car rental is purchased and insured assumes a risk if the second driver gets into an accident or if the car is stolen when used by the second, uninsured driver.

If you’re renting a car and allowing a second person to drive the car, buying rental car insurance to protect yourself makes good financial sense.

Make sure you have adequate coverage. Compare several online auto insurance rates and policies with our comparison tool!

What does my personal auto insurance policy have to do with car rental insurance coverage?

Many people find that it’s easier to buy on-the-spot insurance coverage for a rental car, but they may not need to spend the money.

The auto insurance policy you purchase for a private auto may, in fact, protect the rental car for the rental contract period.

If you’ve got any questions about your personal auto policy, contact your auto insurance agent.

If you’ve purchased an auto insurance policy with only the state required minimum coverage then consider purchasing the car rental insurance.

If you don’t have collision coverage on your personal auto insurance, purchasing the car rental insurance coverage will protect the new rental car if you’re involved in an accident or if the car is damaged or stolen.

Opting to save money by refusing car rental insurance exposes you to risks above the limits of your personal insurance policy.

If the second driver on your auto insurance policy is going to drive the rental car in your name, as long as your auto insurance provider says it’s ok, your second driver should be covered.

Of course, if your personal insurance policy doesn’t completely cover the risks associated with driving the rental car, it’s a good idea to purchase the rental car company insurance.

Accidents happen, and there’s no reason to suffer long-term financial pain (from property damage or personal injury claims) to save a few dollars on car rental insurance.

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When does a credit card help with car rental insurance?

Find out if your credit card offers some form of automatic car rental insurance coverage. Naturally, the car rental insurance is only in force when you use that credit card to purchase the car rental.

Not all credit cards offer car rental insurance. Learn if your credit card car rental insurance coverage is truly sufficient for your needs.

Many credit card companies offer what amounts to supplemental car insurance coverage.

Before using the credit card to activate car rental insurance, ask about the credit card company’s requirements for reimbursement in the event of an auto accident.

Using the credit card to pay for the car rental in full may be required by the credit card company.

If you use a credit card to provide automatic car rental insurance coverage, an authorized second or third driver is also covered.

Ask your credit card company about the specifics of their car rental insurance coverage as it relates to second drivers.

If you’re traveling outside of the United States and purchase a rental car, ask about your credit card coverage.

American Express offers temporary and travel insurance to cardholders. Contact them for details about the program according to your membership.

Why compare auto insurance rates?

If you haven’t compared your auto insurance rates for at least a year, you may notice your auto insurance premiums are increasing.

If you have a good driving history, other auto insurance companies may want to bid for your auto insurance dollars.

Take a moment to request free auto insurance quotes from other insurance companies with your local ZIP code and our online rates tool now!

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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