The Complete Guide to Fully Comprehensive Car Hire Insurance

Renting a car can give you the freedom and flexibility to explore a new destination. But it also comes with the risk of damage or an accident. Fully comprehensive car hire insurance can provide peace of mind by protecting you from expensive repair and liability costs.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about fully comprehensive rental car insurance, including:

  • What is fully comprehensive car hire insurance?
  • Is fully comprehensive rental car insurance worth it?
  • What does fully comprehensive car rental insurance cover?
  • How much does fully comprehensive insurance cost for a rental car?
  • When should you buy fully comprehensive rental car insurance?
  • How to get fully comprehensive insurance for a rental car

What is Fully Comprehensive Car Hire Insurance?

Fully comprehensive rental car insurance provides the highest level of protection available from a rental car company. It combines collision damage waiver (CDW) with supplemental liability and other coverages into one complete policy.

Collision damage waiver (CDW) covers damage to the rental vehicle if it’s damaged or stolen. It’s similar to having comprehensive and collision coverage for your own car. CDW waives your financial responsibility for loss of or damage to the rental car.

Liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damage you cause to others when driving the rental car.

Fully comprehensive rental car insurance packages often include other protections like:

  • Personal accident insurance (PAI) – Covers medical expenses for you and your passengers after an accident, regardless of fault
  • Personal effects coverage – Pays for loss or damage to personal items stolen from the vehicle
  • Roadside assistance
  • Loss of use – Covers loss of rental income while vehicle is being repaired
  • Towing service
  • Key replacement
  • Windscreen, tire, undercarriage and roof damage

In other words, fully comprehensive car rental insurance aims to eliminate all financial responsibility in the event of damage, loss or liability when renting a vehicle.

Is Fully Comprehensive Rental Car Insurance Worth It?

Whether fully comprehensive insurance is worth it depends on your situation:

If you already have car insurance – Your personal auto insurance likely extends to rental cars. So you may already have adequate protection without buying the rental company’s policy.

If you have a premium credit card – Many cards provide primary rental car coverage when you use them to book and pay for the rental. This can remove the need for fully comprehensive insurance.

If you only have minimum state required coverage – In this case fully comprehensive rental insurance may be valuable since it provides broader protections.

If you’re renting an expensive vehicle – Comprehensive coverage could be worth it give you peace of mind when driving a high-end rental car.

If you’re traveling internationally – Personal insurance often doesn’t apply abroad, so fully comprehensive coverage can be important.

The bottom line is fully comprehensive rental car insurance eliminates all financial risks when driving a rental car. While expensive, for some travelers it can be worthwhile for the peace of mind.

What Does Fully Comprehensive Car Rental Insurance Cover?

Fully comprehensive rental car insurance includes a combination of the following protections:

  • Collision damage waiver – Waives your responsibility for damage to the rental vehicle after an accident, theft, vandalism or other covered peril
  • Liability coverage – Pays for injuries to others and property damage you cause with the rental car
    • Minimum state required limits or higher optional limits may be available
  • Personal accident insurance – Covers medical treatment for you and passengers after an accident
  • Personal effects coverage – Reimburses you for theft of personal items from the rental vehicle
  • Roadside assistance – Provides towing and lock-out service
  • Loss of use – Covers loss of rental income while vehicle is being repaired after a claim
  • Key replacement – Pays to replace rental car keys if they are lost or stolen
  • Windscreen and tire damage – Repairs or replaces damaged windshields and tires
  • Undercarriage damage – Fixes damage to undercarriage from driving on rough/unpaved roads
  • Roof damage – Repairs damage to roof from low clearances (like in garages)

Fully comprehensive insurance makes you not liable for any damage to the rental vehicle. It also protects you from liability in case you injure others or damage their property in an accident with your rental car.

Review your rental agreement carefully to confirm what is included and the coverage limits provided by a fully comprehensive policy.

How Much Does Fully Comprehensive Insurance Cost for a Rental Car?

The cost of fully comprehensive rental car insurance ranges from $20-$70+ per day depending on:

  • Rental car company
  • Rental car class
  • Coverage options selected
  • State where you rent
  • Your age

For example, here are estimated daily rates for fully comprehensive policies from leading rental car providers:

Company Compact Car Standard Car Full-size Car
Hertz $28-$60 $33-$70 $38-$80
Enterprise $22-$50 $27-$60 $32-$70
Budget $25-$55 $30-$65 $35-$75
Avis $23-$53 $28-$63 $33-$73

Keep in mind that fully comprehensive rental car insurance can nearly double your daily rental costs. Whether it’s worth the expense depends on your personal risk tolerance.

When Should You Buy Fully Comprehensive Rental Car Insurance?

Fully comprehensive rental car insurance is recommended for:

  • Drivers who don’t have personal car insurance
  • Renters who only carry minimum required auto insurance
  • People who drive rental cars for business purposes
  • Those renting expensive luxury or sports cars
  • Renters who plan to drive off-road or on rough terrain
  • Travelers renting vehicles internationally where personal insurance may not apply

On the other hand, fully comprehensive insurance is usually unnecessary if:

  • You already have collision and liability coverage from your own insurer
  • You booked the rental car with a premium credit card that includes primary coverage

Ultimately, fully comprehensive rental insurance provides maximum peace of mind. While pricier, some renters simply prefer eliminating all financial risk when driving an unfamiliar vehicle.

How to Get Fully Comprehensive Insurance for a Rental Car

If you decide fully comprehensive coverage is right for you, here are some tips for purchasing it:

  • Buy direct from the rental car company – Fully comprehensive policies are sold at the counter when you pick up your rental car. They offer coverage options, limits, and pricing the rental company controls.

  • Compare rental company quotes – Rates and coverage can vary significantly between rental providers. Compare fully comprehensive quotes at the time of booking.

  • Consider extras carefully – Opt for supplemental coverages like roadside assistance based on your personal needs. They add to the cost.

  • Use a premium credit card – Book with a card that includes primary rental coverage to potentially reduce reliance on fully comprehensive insurance.

  • Review exclusions – Damage stemming from drunk driving or reckless behavior may not be covered. Read the policy’s fine print.

Fully comprehensive rental car insurance provides robust protection for drivers who want maximum peace of mind on the road. While expensive, for some renters it’s worth it to know they are shielded from liability and repair bills. Carefully consider your insurance alternatives to decide if a fully comprehensive policy makes sense for your trip.

Should I Buy Additional Insurance From a Rental Car Company?


What does fully comprehensive insurance include?

What is comprehensive car insurance? In a nutshell, comprehensive car insurance cover – sometimes known as fully comprehensive cover, pays out if you damage your car, someone else’s car or injure someone in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. Comprehensive car insurance also covers you against fire and theft.

Do I need full protection on car hire?

Car hire excess insurance is not a legal requirement. Many customers opt to purchase this type of cover to avoid expensive excess waivers charged by rental companies. In short, by paying a small amount of money upfront you can avoid forking out higher excess charges in the event of damage to your hire car.

Do you need extra insurance when renting a car in USA?

It would be very unusual for anyone to need to buy extra insurance from a rental car company. For most people, their personal auto insurance policy will take care of anything that might happen while they’re renting. It’s smarter to keep your personal policy up to date and save money by skipping the extra coverage.

Does travel insurance cover rental cars?

Some travel insurance companies offer add-ons that provide rental car collision coverage. This option can protect you from financial responsibility if your rental vehicle is lost or damaged in a collision or due to events beyond your control, such as theft or natural disasters.

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