Renting a car can be stressful enough without worrying if you have proper coverage. USAA auto insurance policyholders often wonder – does my USAA car insurance cover rental cars?
The short answer is yes, standard USAA auto policies do include rental car coverage. However, there are important details to understand regarding liability, physical damage, exclusions, and reimbursement.
Read on for everything USAA members need to know about renting vehicles and what’s covered by their auto policy.
The first layer of coverage that applies to rental cars is liability insurance. USAA auto policies extend liability protection to rental vehicles just as if you were driving your own insured car.
This means if you cause an accident that injures others or damages their property, your USAA liability coverage will pay for their losses up to the policy limits. On a standard USAA policy, this includes:
- $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $50,000 property damage liability
So you can have peace of mind knowing your USAA liability insurance protects you when renting a car. However, it does NOT cover damage to the rental vehicle itself. Read on to learn more about that key coverage.
Physical Damage Coverage
In addition to liability, USAA auto policies include physical damage coverage for rental vehicles. This covers damage to the rental car should you have an accident, the car is stolen, vandalized, or experiences other covered losses.
Physical damage protection for rental cars is provided under the optional Collision and Comprehensive portions of your USAA policy. As long as you carry these coverages on your own vehicle, they extend to rental cars as well.
The coverage limits would be the same as on your own car, typically:
- Collision – pays to repair or replace the rental if damaged in an accident
- Comprehensive – covers damage from theft, vandalism, weather, fire and more
This means you don’t need to purchase additional insurance when renting a car to have coverage for physical damage – your USAA policy has you covered.
Do note that if you waive Collision and Comprehensive on your USAA policy, you would not have physical damage coverage for rental cars. In this case, you’d need to purchase optional protection through the rental company or credit card coverage.
Along with the base coverages above, USAA auto policies also include rental reimbursement coverage.
This provides payment for rental car expenses you may incur if your own insured vehicle is inoperable due to a covered loss. For example, if your car is in the repair shop after an accident, rental reimbursement would pay for a rental car while yours is fixed.
The standard reimbursement limits on USAA policies are:
- $30 per day
- $900 maximum
Higher limits up to $100 per day/$3,000 maximum are available for an additional premium.
Do keep in mind reimbursement only covers rental costs – not damage to the rental car. It provides a complimentary coverage on top of your liability, collision, and comprehensive protections.
While USAA provides robust rental car coverage, there are exclusions to be aware of where you would not be covered:
Using the rental car for any prohibited usage like off-roading that violates the agreement.
Damage caused by drivers not listed on the rental contract.
Renting certain prohibited vehicles like high-end sports cars, cargo vans, and 15+ passenger vans.
Renting a car outside the U.S. and Canada.
Declining optional protection offered by the rental company. This suspends USAA’s physical damage coverage.
Always check the declarations page of your USAA policy and read rental agreements closely so you understand exclusions. Never assume you’ll be covered for each and every situation.
When Rental Car Coverage Applies
USAA’s rental car protections apply when:
- You or a covered driver are operating the rental car.
- The rental period is 31 days or less.
- You rent from a commercial car rental agency.
- You decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver (CDW) or similar coverage.
As long as you meet these conditions and avoid policy exclusions, damages to a rental vehicle fall under your Collision and Comprehensive coverages, up to their limits.
And liability protection extends to rentals of any length as long as you or another covered driver are behind the wheel.
Saving Money on Rental Cars
Follow these tips to get the best deal on rental cars and insurance when booking as a USAA member:
Compare rental quotes from different companies. Look beyond the major agencies.
Consider airport rental locations to avoid taxes and fees.
Rent compact cars rather than larger vehicles which are pricier to insure.
Review credit card coverages if paying with rewards cards.
Use USAA’s rental car discounts with participating agencies.
Avoid pre-paying for fuel, GPS units, or other add-ons when possible.
If renting more than 31 days, ask USAA about long-term rental coverage.
Only purchase damage waiver if USAA suspends primary coverage for exclusions.
The Claims Process
If you damage a rental car, report it to USAA immediately and follow these steps:
Take photos of the damage if safe to do so.
Alert the rental agency right away and obtain a damage estimate.
Provide details of the incident to your USAA claims representative.
Submit the repair estimate, rental agreement, accident report, and other documentation.
Pay your deductible if you carry one. USAA will cover remaining repair costs based on your coverage limits.
Submit receipts for any rental car reimbursement you need while your own car is repaired.
Promptly reporting damages and coordinating with USAA claims gives you the best protection under your policy. Make sure to get any protections the rental company offers in writing if USAA denies a claim due to exclusions.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is yes – USAA auto insurance policies provide coverage for rental cars under the liability, collision, comprehensive, and reimbursement portions of your policy. Just avoid exclusions and use USAA’s discounts for the best rental car protection.
Speak to a USAA representative for guidance on renting vehicles at home and away to stay fully protected by your policy. Renting a car with USAA insurance behind you lets you travel with confidence.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does USAA offer rental car discounts?
A: Yes, USAA provides discounts of up to 25% off base rates with participating rental car companies. Simply book through the USAA website or call the toll-free number to receive the discounted rates.
Q: What if I rent a car for more than 31 days?
A: USAA’s standard rental car coverage applies for rentals up to 31 days. For longer rentals, you would need to purchase extended protection which USAA offers at competitive rates.
Q: Can I get rental car coverage if I waive Collision/Comp on my USAA policy?
A: No, you can only get rental car physical damage protection from USAA if you carry Collision and Comprehensive coverage on your own vehicle. If waived, you would need to purchase the rental company’s insurance or a policy from USAA.
Q: Does USAA cover car rentals outside the U.S.?
A: Physical damage coverage does not apply to cars rented outside the U.S. and Canada. However, USAA does offer affordable overseas rental car protection to give you comprehensive coverage when traveling internationally.
Q: What if my rental car is damaged but still drivable?
A: Even with minor damage, you should file a claim so USAA is aware and the rental agency does not bill you for unreported repairs after the fact. USAA can resolve the claim with limited payment if the car remains operational.
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