The USA is a popular destination at this time of year and many travellers hire cars to travel around. But do you need the extra insurance offered at the rental desk when you pick the car up, or are you covered already?

The rules on car hire insurance are different to Europe, so to ensure that travellers are armed with the correct information, has created a “Beginners guide to what insurance you need when hiring a car in the USA”.

Beginners Guide to What Insurance You Need When Hiring a Car in the USA - The Top Eight Things You Need to Know

  1. Travellers to the USA and Canada need to consider three types of insurance, Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) and Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI) when hiring a car.
  2. CDW provides cover in the event of a collision or damage, LDW provides cover in the event of theft or loss of use of the vehicle and SLI provides covers for damage done to a third party’s property or person (injury).
  3. Sometimes these are included with a rental car, especially if the car was booked from the UK, but it is important to check as cover varies depending on the company and the location.
  4. Even if the CDW and LDW is included with the vehicle, drivers may be liable for an excess, which can be hundreds of dollars, so it is important to check this.
  5. If the CDW and LDW isn’t included, or there is a high excess, offer USA & Canada (from £5.99 a day or £79.99 a year), and Worldwide Plus policies (from £89.99 a year), which include full collision and loss damage waiver cover for up to £100,000 in the event of damage, theft or loss to the rental vehicle, and excess fees up to £6,000.
  6. SLI has to be included when hiring a car in the USA, however often this is just the minimum statutory level required by the state which can be very low, potentially exposing drivers to extremely high claims for third party liability.
  7. Many rental desks sell a “top up” SLI policy because of this. However, SLI is now included with most travel insurance policies, and often includes cover for drivers, so again it is worth checking as you may already be covered.
  8. Finally, always check the hire car for damage before it is driven, and ensure any damage is recorded on the check-out sheet, to make sure charges are not made for existing damage. Insurance is a great form of protection, but it is always better not to have to claim in the first place. 
Disclaimer: All prices contained in this article were correct on the original date of publication. Prices may change over time, so for current prices, please get a quote.