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The Truth About Car Rental Insurance You Need to Know

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A nationally recognized reporter, writer, and consumer advocate, Ed Perkins focuses on how travelers can find the best deals and avoid scams.

He is the author of "Online Travel" (2000) and "Business Travel: When It's Your Money" (2004), the first step-by-step guide specifically written for small business and self-employed professional travelers. He was also the co-author of the annual "Best Travel Deals" series from Consumers Union.

Perkins' advice for business travelers is featured on MyBusinessTravel.com , a website devoted to helping small business and self-employed professional travelers find the best value for their travel dollars.

Perkins was founding editor of Consumer Reports Travel Letter, one of the country's most influential travel publications, from which he retired in 1998. He has also written for Business Traveller magazine (London).

Perkins' travel expertise has led to frequent television appearances, including ABC's "Good Morning America" and "This Week with David Brinkley," "The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather," CNN, and numerous local TV and radio stations.

Before editing Consumer Reports Travel Letter, Perkins spent 25 years in travel research and consulting with assignments ranging from national tourism development strategies to the design of computer-based tourism models.

Born in Evanston, Illinois, Perkins lives in Ashland, Oregon with his wife.

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No matter how often I cover the problems that come with collision damage under car rental insurance, consumers continue to share their frustrations. A reader recently emailed me:

“I’m interested in finding a complete bumper-to-bumper, ‘drop off the keys at the counter’ car rental coverage when I travel. I recently thought I had complete coverage though a credit card, but when my car suffered a small dent, the car rental company flat-out refused to document that it actually lost income from having the car rental in the shop (which took three weeks to repair a small dent). I was left with responsibility.”

This experience is uncommon, but not unique. Car rental companies desperately want you to buy their collision damage waiver, or CDW (sometimes also known as loss damage waiver, or LDW), and will go to great lengths to make you pay for even the smallest damages if you don’t. Here’s what you need to know before you shell out for car rental insurance on your next vacation.

Car Rental Insurance: What You Need to Know

Person signing car insurance paperwork on a clipboard

The One Way to ‘Drop the Keys and Forget It’

When you buy a CDW, the rental company surrenders its rights to charge you for damage to a car rental—with a few exceptions, such as tire damage or gross negligence. (CDW terms and conditions vary by car rental company, so you’ll want to read them carefully before committing.) But otherwise, no matter how banged up the car could be, you’re off the hook: Just turn it in and be on your way. No other approach—your own insurance, your credit card, or a third-party policy—is as comprehensive or convenient. If you want that full flexibility and peace of mind, pay for CDW.

CDW Insurance Is Ridiculously Overpriced

Typically, a CDW starts at around $30 per day and can go higher. The actuarial cost to the rental company—the amount it would allocate toward a damage pool based on risk experience—is probably just a few dollars a day; the rest is theirs to keep. No wonder the agents push it so hard: It’s clearly a lot more profitable than the car rental alone.

The 16 Best Car Rental Booking Sites

You’ll Pay Up Front for All Damage

You can cover your major damage responsibility by relying on your own insurance, a credit card with insurance, or a third-party policy. But in all of those cases you have to pay a damage claim up front, then recover as much as you can (all of it, you hope) by filing a claim afterward. That means signing a credit card bill for hundreds or even thousands of dollars when you return the damaged car, and not knowing if you’ll get that money back.

That’s why some rental companies won’t accept rentals via debit card, or a credit card with a small limit. If you can pay the initial rental fee with a debit card, you may still need to provide a credit card to cover a possible damage claim, which would be filed before you can leave the return counter.

‘Damage’ Is More than Fixing a Dent

If you don’t buy CDW, rental companies can charge for more than just fixing the damage. They may also charge for:

  • “Loss of use,” meaning the potential revenue lost while the car is out of service being fixed, even if the company had lots of other cars available. And they generally figure that daily loss at the full retail rate.
  • Towing charges, if you are unable to drive the car back to the return station.
  • “Diminished value,” or the potential loss of the car’s resale value (because of your damage) when the rental company disposes of it, usually within two years.
  • Administrative fees associated with the claims process.

Most non-CDW car rental insurance will cover those extras. But, in some cases, coverage depends on cooperation from the rental company—and it may not be forthcoming, as our reader’s above wasn’t.

5 Vacation Rental Scams to Watch Out For

You Need General Liability Protection

You should never get behind the wheel of a car—or lawnmower, for that matter—without liability protection. But you don’t buy that from a car rental company: It usually comes with household, homeowner, or tenant insurance, and it covers far more than a car rental. And if your net worth is in six figures, you probably need an “umbrella” liability policy that covers a million dollars or more.

Car rental companies in most countries are required by law to include liability insurance. In the U.S., required coverage can be ludicrously small (usually only the minimum required by the state)—it’s usually much better in Europe. If you don’t have substantial liability insurance, you might consider buying the rental company’s offering. Still, your best bet is to make sure you’re covered 24/7 with your own insurance so you can forget about the rental company’s overpriced insurance.

Alternatives to Rental Company Collision Damage Waivers

Close up of man's hand holding a car key

Alternative #1: Pay with Your Existing Car Insurance

In many cases, if your regular auto insurance covers collision damage to your insured car, it also covers damage to a short-term rental. But this coverage is generally limited to driving in the U.S. and maybe Canada, and won’t cover car rentals in Mexico, Europe, or anywhere else. So, before you plan on using your own insurance, check its coverage. If it does cover rentals, you can place a claim on it. Still, you must typically pay your policy’s deductible, and any claims may cause your rates to go up.

Alternative #2: Use Credit Card Benefits

These days, most credit cards provide “free” collision coverage for car rentals, provided you use the card to secure the rental. A sample credit card benefits statement describes coverage as:

“Physical damage and/or theft of the covered rental vehicle. Valid loss-of-use charges assessed by the rental company while the damaged vehicle is being repaired and is not available for use, as substantiated in the company’s fleet utilization log. Reasonable and customary towing charges related to a covered loss to take the vehicle to the nearest qualified repair facility.”

Note that this typical Visa card’s benefits do not cover diminished value or administrative costs. A few premium credit cards offer primary collision coverage, meaning the card takes full responsibility for the payment. But coverage on most cards is secondary, meaning the card picks up only what you can’t first recover from your own insurance. And you still have to pay the rental company up front, then file for reimbursement from your card issuer.

Another gotcha in the above fine print: This card (and many others) pays for loss of use only if verified by the rental company’s log. Unfortunately, some rental companies don’t cooperate with credit card issuers in providing this type of documentation in a timely manner.

The Ultimate Guide to Travel Insurance: Everything You Need to Know

Alternative #3: Third-Party Car Rental Insurance

If you rent a car through one of the big online travel agencies (OTA) such as Expedia or Priceline , the agency normally offers you the option to buy collision coverage for around $10 a day. That coverage is provided by a third-party insurance company such as Allianz . The cost is a lot less than the rental company’s CDW, but, as with credit card coverage, if you damage the car, you have to pay up front and claim later.

Typical third-party collision coverage includes about the same contingencies as credit card coverage, but because it’s grouped with the booking you won’t have to make any other claims. You can also buy collision coverage independently: Bonzah , for example, sells coverage at around $10-$20 per day.

The Uncertainty Principle

Row of cars on car rental lot

The takeaway from all this: No alternative source of collision damage coverage—your auto insurance, your credit card, or a third party—completely isolates you from risk. Lots of travelers successfully rely on lower-cost alternatives to CDW without encountering any problems, sure. Occasionally, however, your own insurance, credit card, or third-party policy may not cover an unusual charge a rental company might impose.

If you’re unwilling to accept any risk at all, you might want to buy that overpriced CDW. For most travelers and circumstances, credit card or third-party coverage is sufficient, and primary coverage is a lot better than secondary.

Consumer advocate Ed Perkins, the founding editor of the Consumer Reports Travel Letter, has been writing about travel for more than three decades.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.

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The 6 Best Vacation Rental Travel Insurance Plans

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Allianz Travel Insurance »

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Seven Corners »

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AXA Assistance USA »

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AIG Travel Guard »

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Nationwide Insurance »

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Red Sky Travel Insurance »

Why Trust Us

U.S. News evaluates ratings, data and scores of more than 50 travel insurance companies from comparison websites like TravelInsurance.com, Squaremouth and InsureMyTrip, plus renowned credit rating agency AM Best, in addition to reviews and recommendations from top travel industry sources and consumers to determine the Best Vacation Rental Travel Insurance Plans.

Table of Contents

  • Allianz Travel Insurance
  • Seven Corners
  • AXA Assistance USA

When you're planning an affordable yet fun-filled vacation, a rental home can be a great lodging option. By booking a vacation rental that's a condominium, a rustic cabin or a private villa instead of a hotel or resort, travelers get to enjoy more of the comforts of home during a trip, such as a living space and a kitchen to make meals in.

But you can't plan for everything, so you don't necessarily want to skip over a travel insurance policy in case something goes wrong. Investing in vacation rental travel insurance is the best protection you have against inclement weather or a natural disaster ruining your trip or forcing you to evacuate your vacation home before the end of your rental period.

The best travel insurance plans also offer additional coverage for travel delays, baggage loss, emergency medical expenses, emergency evacuation and other perils. Before you book a vacation property directly from an owner or through a platform like Airbnb, Vacasa or Vrbo, read on to learn about the best travel insurance policies for this type of trip and what they include.

  • AIG Travel Guard
  • Nationwide Insurance
  • Red Sky Travel Insurance

Customizable coverage that works well for vacation rentals at any price point

Kids 17 and younger covered for free with some plans

OneTrip Basic plan may have insufficient coverage for your needs

  • Trip cancellation coverage worth up to $100,000
  • Trip interruption coverage worth up to $150,000
  • Trip change protector worth up to $500
  • $50,000 in coverage for emergency medical expenses
  • Up to $500,000 for emergency medical transportation
  • Baggage loss and damage coverage worth $1,000
  • Baggage delay insurance up to $300
  • Travel delay coverage worth up to $800 ($200 per day)
  • 24-hour travel hotline assistance

SEE FULL REVIEW »

Broad selection of plans to choose from

Ideal vacation rental coverage for domestic trips available

Domestic plans with Air Travel Bundle come with low limits for baggage and personal effects

  • Trip delay coverage worth up to $300 ($100 per day)
  • Travel inconvenience coverage worth up to $150
  • Baggage coverage worth up to $500 ($250 maximum per item)
  • Baggage delay coverage worth up to $250 (up to $100 per day)
  • Emergency accident and sickness coverage worth up to $50,000
  • Coverage for emergency evacuation and repatriation of remains worth up to $250,000
  • Emergency dental expense coverage worth up to $250

Offers comprehensive coverage based on your needs

Customize your policy with available add-ons

Optional CFAR coverage only available with Platinum Plan

  • Trip cancellation coverage worth up to 100% of the total trip cost
  • Trip interruption coverage up to 100%
  • Trip delay coverage up to $500 ($100 limit per day)
  • Missed connection coverage up to $500
  • Emergency medical coverage up to $25,000
  • Emergency evacuation coverage up to $100,000
  • Accidental death and dismemberment coverage up to $10,000
  • Common carrier accidental death and dismemberment coverage up to $25,000
  • Baggage delay coverage up to $200
  • Baggage and personal effects coverage up to $750

Customizable coverage with high limits

Cancel for any reason coverage available

Low medical expense limits for Essential Plan

  • Trip cancellation coverage worth up to 100% of the trip cost
  • Trip interruption coverage worth up to 150% of the trip cost
  • Up to $1,000 in coverage for lost baggage
  • Baggage delay coverage worth up to $300
  • Travel medical expense insurance worth up to $50,000
  • Up to $500,000 in emergency medical evacuation protection

10-day review period available

Preexisting conditions can be covered

Nationwide does not offer single-trip plans without medical or baggage insurance

  • Up to $30,000 in trip cancellation insurance
  • Trip interruption coverage worth up to 200% of the total trip cost (maximum benefit of $60,000)
  • Trip delay coverage worth up to $250 per day ($2,000 maximum)
  • Missed connection and itinerary change coverage worth up to $500
  • Secondary coverage for baggage and personal effects worth up to $2,000
  • Baggage delay coverage worth up to $600 for delays of 12 or more hours
  • Accident and sickness medical expense coverage worth up to $150,000
  • Emergency dental coverage worth up to $750
  • $1 million in insurance for emergency medical evacuation
  • Coverage for terrorism in a vacation destination

Choose from tailor-made plans for vacation rentals

Can only be purchased directly through vacation rental companies

Limited coverage options available (no option for rental cars or CFAR)

  • Up to $100,000 in reimbursement for vacation rental expenses
  • Trip delay coverage worth up to $750 (maximum of $200 per day)
  • Coverage for emergency medical expenses and emergency medical evacuation (policy limits vary)
  • Baggage delay insurance worth up to $1,000 per day ($200 per day)
  • Emergency roadside assistance
  • Worldwide emergency assistance services

Frequently Asked Questions

Vacation rental travel insurance works like any other type of travel insurance coverage. You pay a premium for the policy upfront, and you get varying levels of protection for trip cancellation or interruption, emergency medical expenses, emergency medical evacuation, lost or delayed baggage, and more.

You may not need certain types of travel insurance for trips in the U.S., such as coverage for emergency medical expenses if your own health insurance still applies. You may also choose to skip rental car insurance if you're using your own car and insurance for your trip. That said, it can still be beneficial to pay for travel insurance that covers trip cancellation and interruption, emergency medical evacuation, and more.

You can buy travel insurance online from top insurance companies. You may also be able to secure coverage with your vacation rental provider. Compare plans on TravelInsurance.com .

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Holly Johnson is a professional travel writer who has covered international travel and travel insurance for more than a decade. Johnson has researched and compared all the top travel insurance options for her own family for trips to more than 50 countries, some of which have included vacation rentals within the U.S. and all over the world. Johnson lives in Indiana with her two children and her husband, Greg – a travel agent who has been licensed to sell travel insurance in 50 states.

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Insurance for Rental Car Damage: Where to Get it and Things to Know

man inspecting damage to his rental car

What happens if you get into an accident with your rental car while on your trip?

We’ll answer that question in just a moment, but first, let’s do one of those camera tricks you see on commercials and rewind from the accident to the moment where you had to choose whether to buy a protection plan that provides coverage for damage to your rental car .

Also read:  Top 5 Reasons to Get Travel Insurance

How to Get Damage Insurance Coverage for a Rental Car

So, you’re at the rental car counter, you’re presented with the loss-damage waiver form, and your pen hovers above the form before making a decision.

At this point, you’re thinking of your options, which are:

1. Accept the insurance from the rental car company

The knee-jerk reaction is to think that the insurance from the rental car agency is a rip-off, but it will likely get the job done -- protecting your wallet from those magic dents and scratches that always seem to appear between the time you pick up the car and the time you drive it out of the parking lot.

2. Buy a standalone rental car policy from a company

As more people rely on services like ZipCar for their auto-transportation needs, standalone rental car coverage has become more common. For trips where you don’t have a lot of prepaid travel expenses, this coverage can be a good choice.

3. Rely on your standard auto-insurance policy to cover you

If you're hoping a rental car accident won't impact your regular auto-insurance rates, anything other than your standard car insurance is a good choice.

4. Hope that your credit card has rental car coverage

Many travel credit cards include some level of rental car protection, but only if you used that card to pay for the car. And, the devil’s in the details -- be sure to read the fine print.

5. Remember that you got the Rental Car Damage coverage with your travel insurance plan *

Finally, there’s Rental Car Damage coverage through a travel insurance plan . This coverage is great if you have a lot of prepaid expenses – like airfares, hotels, and excursions – especially if you’re buying travel insurance anyway.

Rental Car Damage coverage can reimburse you up to $25,000 if your rental car is damaged through collision, theft, vandalism, natural disasters or any other cause beyond your control while you’re on your trip. The coverage is available as an extra-cost add-on with Generali's  Standard  ,  Preferred  plans and included with the  Premium plan .

Also read:  7 Questions to Ask to Find the Best Family Travel Insurance

couple riding in a red convertible on vacation

Understand Your Rental Car Damage Insurance Coverage

With any rental car damage insurance, it’s important to see exactly what’s covered and at what level. It’s also helpful to be able to see what the policy covers far in advance – as in, not at the rental car counter. If you can get something from the rental car company 10 days or so in advance, great. If not, you may want to consider alternatives, like travel protection .

Finally, note that even though the car rental company may tell you that you have to buy their insurance, that’s not true. You don’t need their insurance to rent a car. However, a car rental company can refuse to rent a car to you if you don’t buy their insurance or supply adequate proof of insurance coverage.

Also read:  How Travel Insurance is Different from Car or Home Insurance

Does All Travel Insurance Include Rental Car Damage Coverage?

Keep in mind not all travel insurance has rental car damage coverage. Some companies may include this as an optional add-on or include it with other plans.  Generali Global Assistance offers travel protection plans with both options.

Does My Personal Car Insurance Cover Rental Cars?

Your personal car insurance might cover rental cars. Remember that it may only be for personal use, not for business purposes. You may need to purchase separate insurance when using a rental car for business. Also, any claims on your personal car insurance might increase your premiums for that insurance.

crashed rental car with front end busted

What Is Covered Under Travel Protection for Rental Car Damage?

Most travel protection plans that include rental car damage coverage may cover damage to the rental car because of collision, theft, vandalism, natural disasters, and more.

Generali Global Assistance’s plans specifically say their Rental Car Damage Coverage is good for “collision, theft, vandalism, windstorm, fire, hail, flood or any cause not in your control, or the car is stolen while in your possession and not recovered.”

And, not only are you insured, but so is your traveling companion, provided you   are both a licensed drivers, and are listed on the rental agreement. Also, in this case, Generali’s Rental Car Damage coverage is primary to other forms of insurance, so it will pay before any other insurance coverage you have.

There are also vehicles that cannot be covered by our plans. These include rentals of trucks, campers, trailers, motor bikes, motorcycles, off-road, all-terrain, or recreational vehicles, vehicles that are older than 20 years, vehicles that have not been manufactured in the past 10 years, vehicles that are rented for commercial purposes, and vehicles that have a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of more than $75,000.

person on a phone at night next to their rental car parked on side of road

What Happens if Your Rental Car Gets Damaged?

Now, let’s return to that scenario we presented at the outset – you know, where you’re debating whether to buy a plan with rental car damage insurance coverage. Let’s say you decided to go with the Rental Car Damage coverage offered with the Generali Global Assistance plans, and you got into an accident, because... of course.

First, you’ll need to do the basics that you’d do with any car accident, like:

  • Calling 911 or the equivalent;
  • Filing a report with the police;
  • Exchanging insurance information
  • Calling for a tow truck, if you need one;
  • Taking all your stuff out of the rental car; and
  • Taking pictures of everything. It literally costs nothing to snap several dozen pictures of everything from insurance information to car damage to the tow truck’s license plate.

At that point you should report the incident to your rental car company and then submit a claim to Generali to seek reimbursement for either the cost of repairs and rental charges imposed by the rental company while the car’s being repaired, or the car’s actual cash value, whichever is less.

Now that you know all the ways you can get rental car damage protection, be sure to consider travel protection for your next trip with a car rental.

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* Rental Car Damage coverage from Generali Global Assistance may not be accepted by all rental car companies and jurisdictions.

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What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

Anya Kartashova

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

Table of Contents

What is covered by travel insurance

Extras you can add to a travel insurance policy, what does travel insurance not cover, how to pick the right policy for your trip, if you want to understand travel insurance coverage.

If something goes wrong during a trip, your savings account could take a serious hit if you don’t have travel insurance. Flight cancellations, lost baggage or an accident can throw a wrench into your carefully made plans and cost a lot to rectify.

On the other hand, knowing that your trip is protected can help put your mind at ease before, during and after a vacation. But exactly what does travel insurance cover? Let’s find out.

Most plans typically cover a range of trip protections, including accidental death and dismemberment, baggage delay or loss, emergency medical coverage and evacuation, trip cancellation, delay or interruption and more. Here's a closer look at each one.

Accidental death and dismemberment

Accidental death and dismemberment insurance provides coverage for death or losing a limb or eyesight as a result of an accident. Note that death from natural causes, illness or by suicide isn’t covered, so it’s not the same thing as a life insurance policy.

Baggage delay

Baggage delay insurance reimburses the cost of essentials, such as clothes, toiletries or a phone charger, that you may need to purchase if your bag is delayed. Your baggage must be delayed over a certain number of hours to receive coverage — typically the range is from six to 24 hours, depending on the policy.

Baggage loss

Insurance for baggage loss reimburses the cost of your suitcase and belongings should a checked bag become lost, stolen or damaged during a covered trip.

Emergency medical evacuation and repatriation

This benefit covers the cost associated with medical evacuation if you have a medical emergency and you can’t be treated at the facility closest to you. It will cover transport costs to another hospital or your home country, if necessary, and also includes transportation of remains.

» Learn more: Travel medical insurance: Emergency coverage while you travel internationally

Missed connection

A missed connection benefit covers extra expenses if a common carrier delay causes you to miss an organized tour or a cruise, for example, and you need to pay extra to catch up to it at the next port of call.

Reinstate frequent traveler awards

If you paid for a trip with airline miles or hotel points and it is subsequently canceled, this benefit will cover any fees required to redeposit your rewards back to your frequent traveler account.

Trip cancellation

Trip cancellation insurance reimburses you for prepaid nonrefundable costs if you must cancel a trip for a covered reason. Reasons that are typically covered include:

Sickness or death of a family member.

Financial insolvency.

Natural disaster.

Airline strike.

Inclement weather.

Military duty.

Stolen passport or visa.

Loss of employment.

Trip delay covers costs associated with transportation, meals or lodging should your common carrier be delayed, as well as reimbursement of any prepaid, nonrefundable expenses. Trip delay coverage takes effect after a specified period of time depending on the policy, but typically ranges from five to 12 hours.

» Learn more: What you need to know about Chase’s trip delay insurance

Trip interruption

Trip interruption insurance reimburses you for unused, nonrefundable costs in the event you must cut the trip short and return home for a covered reason, including a family member’s sickness or death, terrorism, inclement weather or a natural disaster, among others.

Travel insurance plans usually don’t include coverage for every possible thing that can go wrong, but you can add optional extras to your policy for an upcharge. Check to see if your plan has the following types of coverage, and if you think you need it, you can add it in or buy a more inclusive policy.

Cancel For Any Reason

If you change your mind and decide not to go on a trip you’ve booked, you typically can’t get reimbursed for prepaid, nonrefundable expenses — unless you purchase a cancel for any reason policy separately. Depending on the policy, you usually get a portion of your prepaid expenses back (typically 50% to 75%), but you must purchase the policy within 10 to 21 days of initial payment. Note that cancel for any reason isn’t the same as trip cancellation listed above.

Rental car collision damage waiver

If your rental car is damaged or stolen, rental car insurance will protect you from having to pay for the damage or theft. Many credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card , offer rental car collision damage insurance, so check whether the cards you hold have this benefit before adding it to a policy.

Pre-existing conditions

If you need coverage for a pre-existing medical condition, you must purchase a policy within the time specified by the insurance provider to be eligible for a pre-existing conditions waiver (usually ten to 21 days). Make sure that the coverage amount you enter is equal to all prepaid, nonrefundable costs for your trip.

» Learn more: The best travel insurance companies right now

Quarantine accommodations

This coverage is often part of trip delay insurance, but some providers include it and some don’t. For example, the Safe Travels Voyager plan offered by Trawick International covers lodging expenses in case you get sick with COVID-19 and have to quarantine abroad before flying home safely.

» Learn more: Travel insurance may not cover COVID-19 — unless you upgrade

Travel insurance offers coverage for many situations, but not all. Some scenarios aren’t covered by a travel policy, including:

A named storm: Most travel plans protect you from hassles stemming from inclement weather. However, a policy needs to be purchased before a tropical storm or weather event is named. If you purchase coverage after a natural disaster has begun, it won’t be covered.

Activities performed under the influence: Drug and alcohol use are a notable exception to most travel policies. If you fall off an ATV because you drank a few alcoholic beverages or took drugs before operating a vehicle, you’re no longer covered.

Extreme sports: Some high-risk sports, such as bungee jumping, scuba diving or rock climbing, aren’t covered by a comprehensive travel insurance plan. However, you can buy a separate policy for the specific adrenaline activities you’re planning to do on your vacation from World Nomads , for example.

Fear of travel because of a pandemic or another reason: This is something that would be covered under a “cancel for any reason” add-on, but a general travel policy won’t cover fear of travel.

Medical tourism: Seeking dental work in Mexico or a hair transplant in Turkey? Keep in mind that your medical expenses for elective procedures aren’t covered by a plan with emergency medical coverage.

Pregnancy: If you want to cancel a trip because you’re pregnant, you can do so only if you purchased the plan before you became pregnant. Otherwise, it’s not a covered reason. Additionally, medical costs incurred while on a trip during pregnancy might or might not be covered (check with your insurance provider).

» Learn more: What to know before you buy travel insurance

The length of trip, your age and the destination all factor into how much a policy will cost. The coverage types and their limits also influence the price tag.

Types of coverage and limits

Take a look at the terms of each policy and determine the type of coverage you need the most. Compare the coverage details and limits with the cost. If you hold a travel credit card , familiarize yourself with its benefits as some of the trip protections might be redundant.

Single trip vs. annual plan

For frequent travelers, an annual plan offers the most bang for your buck — it costs less money versus purchasing insurance for multiple single trips. An annual policy covers long international trips as well as short domestic trips in between, so you can have peace of mind all year long. But everything isn’t always included in a multi-trip plan, the coverage limits are lower and you may not be covered for pre-existing conditions.

Individual vs. family

When shopping for a quote, include everyone traveling in your party and their ages before you submit the trip details. Note that some insurance providers include free coverage for children 21 and younger if a parent is the primary policyholder.

» Learn more: 10 best travel insurance companies

Because coverage varies among the different insurance providers and policies, make sure to read over the policy terms carefully, especially if you’re looking for a specific type or amount of coverage.

If you’re still not sure whether a specific event or activity would be covered, call the insurance company and chat with a customer service representative. It’s better to be aware of what’s covered and what isn’t before you need to (but hopefully don’t have to) file a claim.

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024 :

Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

on Chase's website

1x-10x Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

75,000 Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,125 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

1x-5x 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

75,000 Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

1x-2x Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases. Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare. Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services, and select streaming. Earn 1X points on all other purchases.

50,000 Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

travel insurance with car rental coverage

  • Best overall
  • Best for exotic trips
  • Best for trip interruption
  • Best for medical-only coverage
  • Best for family coverage
  • Best for long trips
  • Why You Should Trust Us

Best International Travel Insurance for June 2024

Affiliate links for the products on this page are from partners that compensate us (see our advertiser disclosure with our list of partners for more details). However, our opinions are our own. See how we rate insurance products to write unbiased product reviews.

If you're planning your next vacation or trip out of the country, be sure to factor in travel insurance. Unexpected medical emergencies when traveling can drain your bank account, especially when you're traveling internationally. The best travel insurance companies for international travel can step in to provide you with peace of mind and financial protection while you're abroad.

Best International Travel Insurance

  • Best overall: Allianz Travel Insurance
  • Best for exotic travel: World Nomads Travel Insurance
  • Best for trip interruption coverage: C&F Travel Insured

Best for medical-only coverage: GeoBlue Travel Insurance

  • Best for families: Travelex Travel Insurance
  • Best for long-term travel: Seven Corners Travel Insurance

How we rate the best international travel insurance »

Compare the Best International Travel Insurance Companies

As a general rule, the most important coverage to have in a foreign country is travel medical insurance , as most US health insurance policies don't cover you while you're abroad. Without travel medical coverage, a medical emergency in a foreign country can cost you. You'll want trip cancellation and interruption coverage if your trip is particularly expensive. And if you're traveling for an extended period of time, you'll want to ensure that your policy is extendable. 

Here are our picks for the best travel insurance companies for international travel.

Best overall: Allianz

Allianz Allianz Travel Insurance

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Good option for frequent travelers thanks to its annual multi-trip policies
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Doesn't increase premium for trips longer than 30 days, meaning it could be one of the more affordable options for a long trip
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Some plans include free coverage for children 17 and under
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Concierge included with some plans
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Coverage for medical emergency is lower than some competitors' policies
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Plans don't include coverage contact sports and high-altitude activities
  • Single and multi-trip plans available
  • Trip cancellation and interruption coverage starting at up to $10,000 (higher limits with more expensive plans)
  • Preexisting medical condition coverage available with some plans

Allianz Travel Insurance  offers the ultimate customizable coverage for international trips, whether you're a frequent jetsetter or an occasional traveler. You can choose from an a la carte of single or multi-trip plans, as well as add-ons, including rental car damage, cancel for any reason (CFAR) , adventure sport, and business travel coverage. And with affordable pricing compared to competitors, Allianz is a budget-friendly choice for your international travel insurance needs. 

The icing on the cake is Allyz TravelSmart, Allianz's highly-rated mobile app, which has an average rating of 4.4 out of five stars on the Google Play store across over 2,600 reviews and 4.8 out of five stars from over 22,000 reviews on the Apple app store. So, you can rest easy knowing that you can access your policy and file claims anywhere in the world without a hassle.

Read our Allianz Travel Insurance review here.

Best for exotic trips: World Nomads

World Nomads World Nomads Travel Insurance

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Coverage for 200+ activities like skiing, surfing, and rock climbing
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Only two plans to choose from, making it simple to find the right option
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. You can purchase coverage even after your trip has started
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. If your trip costs more than $10,000, you may want to choose other insurance because trip protection is capped at up to $10,000 (for the Explorer plan)
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Doesn't offer coverage for travelers older than 70
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. No Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) option
  • Coverage for 150+ activities and sports
  • 2 plans: Standard and Explorer
  • Trip protection for up to $10,000
  • Emergency medical insurance of up to $100,000
  • Emergency evacuation coverage for up to $500,000
  • Coverage to protect your items (up to $3,000)

World Nomads Travel Insurance  offers coverage for over 150 specific activities, so you can focus on the adventure without worrying about gaps in your coverage. 

You can select its budget-friendly standard plan, starting at $79. Or if you're an adrenaline junkie seeking more thrills, you can opt for the World Nomads' Explorer plan for $120, which includes extra sports like skydiving, scuba diving, and heli-skiing. And World Nomads offers 24/7 assistance, so you can confidently travel abroad, knowing that help is just a phone call away. 

Read our World Nomads Travel Insurance review here.

Best for trip interruption: C&F Travel Insured

C&F C&F Travel Insured

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Offers 2 major plans including CFAR coverage on the more expensive option
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Cancellation for job loss included as a covered reason for trip cancellation/interruption (does not require CFAR coverage to qualify)
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Frequent traveler reward included in both policies
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Up to $1 million in medical evacuation coverage available
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Medical coverage is only $100,000
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Reviews on claims processing indicate ongoing issues
  • C&F's Travel Insured policies allow travelers customize travel insurance to fit their specific needs. Frequent travelers may benefit from purchasing an annual travel insurance plan, then adding on CFAR coverage for any portions of travel that may incur greater risk.

C&F Travel Insured offers 100% coverage for trip cancellation, up to 150% for trip interruption, and reimbursement for up to 75% of your non-refundable travel costs with select plans. This means you don't have to worry about losing your hard-earned money on non-refundable travel costs if your trip ends prematurely. 

Travel Insured also stands out for its extensive "reasons for cancellation" coverage. Unlike many insurers, the company covers hurricane warnings from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Read our C&F Travel Insured review here.

AJM Global Inc GeoBlue Travel Insurance

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. A subsidary of Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Offers strong medical plans as long as you have a regular health insurance plan, but it doesn't have to be through Blue Cross
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Offers long-term and multi-trip travel protection
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Multiple complaints about claims not being paid or being denied
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Does not provide some of the more comprehensive coverage like CFAR insurance
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Buyers who do get claims paid may need to file multiple claim forms

GeoBlue Travel Insurance offers policies that covers emergency medical treatments when you're abroad. While GeoBlue lacks trip cancellation coverage, that allows it to charge lower premiums than the other companies on this list. 

GeoBlue plans can cover medical expenses up to $1 million with several multi-trip annual plans available. It offers coinsurance plans for trips within the U.S. and 100% coverage for international trips. It also has a network of clinics in 180 countries, streamlining the claims process. It's worth noting that coverage for pre-existing conditions comes with additional costs. 

Read our GeoBlue Travel Insurance review here.

Best for family coverage: Travelex Travel Insurance

Travelex Travelex Travel Insurance

Trip cancellation coverage for up to 100% of the trip cost and trip interruption coverage for up to 150% of the trip cost

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Options to cover sports equipment
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Option to increase medical coverage
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Can cancel up to 48 hours before travel when CFAR option is purchased
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Affordable coverage for budget-conscious travelers
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Includes generous baggage delay, loss and trip delay coverage
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Optional "adventure sports" bundle available for riskier activities
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Only two insurance plans to choose from
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Medical coverage maximum is low at up to $50,000 per person
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Pricier than some competitors with lower coverage ceilings
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Some competitors offer higher medical emergency coverage

Travelex travel insurance is one of the largest travel insurance providers in the US providing domestic and international coverage options. It offers a basic, select, and America option. Read on to learn more.

  • Optional CFAR insurance available with the Travel Select plan
  • Trip delay insurance starting at $500 with the Travel Basic plan
  • Emergency medical and dental coverage starting at $15,000

Travelex Travel Insurance offers coverage for your whole crew, perfect for when you're planning a family trip. Its family plan insures all your children 17 and under at no additional cost. The travel insurance provider also offers add-ons like adventure sports and car rental collision coverage to protect your family under any circumstance. Got pets? With Travelex's Travel Select plan, you can also get coverage for your furry friend's emergency medical and transportation expenses. 

Read our Travelex Travel Insurance review here.

Best for long trips: Seven Corners

Seven Corners Seven Corners Travel Insurance

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Diverse coverage options such as CFAR, optional sports equipment coverage, etc.
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Available in all 50 states
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Prices are higher than many competitors
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Reviews around claims processing are mixed
  • Trip cancellation insurance of up to 100% of the trip cost
  • Trip interruption insurance of up to 150% of the trip cost
  • Cancel for any reason (CFAR) insurance available

Seven Corners Travel Insurance offers specialized coverage that the standard short-term travel insurance policy won't provide, which is helpful if you're embarking on a long-term trip. You can choose from several plans, including the Annual Multi-Trip plan, which provides medical coverage for multiple international trips for up to 364 days. This policy also offers COVID-19 medical and evacuation coverage up to $1 million. 

You also get the added benefit of incidental expense coverage. This policy will cover remote health-related services and information, treatment of injury or illness, and live consultations via telecommunication. 

Read our Seven Corners Travel Insurance review here.

How to Find the Right International Travel Insurance Company 

Different travelers and trips require different types of insurance coverage. So, consider these tips if you're in the market to insure your trip. 

Determine your needs 

Your needs for travel insurance will depend on the type of trip you're taking. You'll need to consider your destination and what you'll be doing there, either business, leisure, or adventure traveling. Policies covering adventure sports and activities will cost more. Longer, more expensive trips will also cost more. 

Research the reputation of the company 

When researching a company, you'll want to closely review the description of services. You'll want to see how claims are handled, any exceptions, and limitations.

You'll also want to look at the company's customer reviews on sites like Trustpilot, BBB, and Squaremouth, as this will provide insight on the quality of customer service and the claims process. You should also take note of whether companies respond to customer reviews.

Compare prices

You can get quotes through a company's website or travel insurance aggregators like InsureMyTrip and VisitorsCoverage. You'll need to be prepared to provide the following information about your trip:

  • Trip destination(s)
  • Travel dates
  • Number of travelers
  • Traveler(s) age/birthday
  • State of residence
  • Total trip cost

For companies that offer travel medical insurance, you'll also want to play around with the deductible options, as they can affect your policy premium. 

Understanding International Travel Insurance Coverage Options

Travel insurance can be confusing, but we're here to simplify it for you. We'll break down the industry's jargon to help you understand what travel insurance covers to help you decide what your policy needs. Bear in mind that exclusions and limitations for your age and destination may apply. 

Finding the Best Price for International Travel Insurance

Your policy cost will depend on several factors, such as the length of your trip, destination, coverage limits, and age. Typically, a comprehensive policy includes travel cancellation coverage costs between 5% and 10% of your total trip cost.

If you're planning an international trip that costs $4,500, you can expect to pay anywhere from $225 to $450 for your policy. Comparing quotes from multiple providers can help you find a budget-friendly travel insurance policy that meets your needs.

Why You Should Trust Us: How We Reviewed International Travel Insurance Companies

We ranked and assigned superlatives to the best travel insurance companies based on our insurance rating methodology . It focuses on several key factors, including: 

  • Policy types: We analyzed company offerings such as coverage levels, exclusions, and policy upgrades, taking note of providers that offer a range of travel-related issues beyond the standard coverages. 
  • Affordability: We recognize that cheap premiums don't necessarily equate to sufficient coverage. So, we seek providers that offer competitive rates with comprehensive policies and quality customer service. We also call out any discounts or special offers available. 
  • Flexibility: Travel insurance isn't one-size-fits-all. We highlight providers that offer a wide array of coverage options, including single-trip, multi-trip, and long-term policies.
  • Claims handling: The claims process should be pain-free for policyholders. We seek providers that offer a streamlined process via online claims filing and a track record of handling claims fairly and efficiently. 
  • Quality customer service: Good customer service is as important as affordability and flexibility. We highlight companies that offer 24/7 assistance and have a strong record of customer service responsiveness. 

We consult user feedback and reviews to determine how each company fares in each category. We also check the provider's financial rating and volume of complaints via third-party rating agencies. 

Read more about how Business Insider rates insurance products here.

International Travel Insurance FAQs

The best insurance policy depends on your individual situation, including your destination and budget. However, popular options include Allianz Travel Insurance, World Nomads, and Travel Guard. 

You should pay attention to any limitations regarding covered cancellations, pre-existing conditions, and adventure activities. For example, if you're worried you may have to cancel a trip for work reasons, ensure that you've worked at your company long enough to qualify for cancellation coverage, as that is a condition with some insurers. You should also see if your destination has any travel advisories, as that can affect your policy. 

Typically, your regular health insurance won't cover you out of the country, so you'll want to make sure your travel insurance has adequate medical emergency coverage. Depending on your travel plans, you may want to purchase add-ons, such as adventure sports coverage, if you're planning on doing anything adventurous like bungee jumping.

Travel insurance is worth the price for international travel because they're generally more expensive, so you have more to lose. Additionally, your regular health insurance won't cover you in other countries, so without travel insurance, you'll end up paying out of pocket for any emergency medical care you receive out of the US.

You should purchase travel insurance as soon as possible after making payment on your trip. This makes you eligible for add-ons like coverage for pre-existing conditions and CFAR. It also mitigates the chance of any losses in the days leading up to your trip. 

travel insurance with car rental coverage

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travel insurance with car rental coverage

What you need to know about rental car reimbursement coverage

travel insurance with car rental coverage

By AAA staff

May 30, 2024

If your car is damaged in an incident covered by insurance, there's a good chance you'll need to rent a vehicle to get around while your car is being repaired or replaced.

Renting a car can be costly, adding up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars depending on how long you need it for.

The good news? Auto insurance offers rental car reimbursement coverage specifically to take this financial burden off your shoulders. What exactly is rental car reimbursement coverage , how does it work, and what does it cover? Let's dive in.

What is rental car reimbursement coverage?

While coverage can vary from one policy or insurance company to the next, the basic idea is that you are compensated for the expense of renting a car when your personal vehicle is being repaired or replaced for a loss covered by your insurance. 

Most insurers require you to carry comprehensive and collision coverage before you can add rental car reimbursement coverage. If you already have those coverages, however, rental car reimbursement coverage is typically a small additional expense for added peace of mind and convenience if your vehicle is damaged in a covered incident. 

Many insurance companies allow you to arrange your rental directly through them, and this is usually the most convenient way to use your coverage, as your insurer can monitor and pay for the rental directly, up to the limits on your coverage. In some situations, you may need to pay for the rental out of your own pocket initially and submit receipts to your insurance company for reimbursement instead. 

What kind of car can you rent under this coverage?

Typically, rental car reimbursement coverage will come with limits on the daily rate of the rental car and the maximum number of days that are covered. For example, your insurer might cover a $40/day rental for up to 30 days. If you need or want a rental that costs more than that, you’ll pay the difference out of pocket. 

There isn't usually a limit on the type of car you can rent with rental reimbursement coverage so long as it falls within your daily limit. Some policies, however, may designate that the rental vehicle needs to be a similar make and/or model as the vehicle involved in the insurance claim. If you have questions about what's included with your rental car reimbursement coverage, be sure to consult with your insurance agent.

travel insurance with car rental coverage

How long will your rental car expenses be covered?

Check your auto insurance policy paperwork to find out exactly how long your rental may be covered, as this can vary from one policy to the next. Some rental car reimbursement policies max out at 30 days, while others may include coverage for as long as it takes to repair or replace your car.  

What if another party is at fault?

The nice thing about rental car reimbursement coverage is that it can typically be used to cover the costs of a rental car following a covered claim no matter who is at fault, or if fault has not yet been determined.

If you don’t have rental car reimbursement coverage and another driver is determined to be at fault for the damage to your vehicle, you may be able to pursue reimbursement for your rental expenses directly from the at-fault driver's insurance.  

What's covered vs. what might not be covered?

The best way to find out exactly what's covered by your rental car reimbursement policy is to read your own policy paperwork and declarations carefully, being sure to reach out to your insurance agent with any questions or concerns you may have.

In general, however, rental reimbursement coverage is designed to cover the daily rate of a rental vehicle while your own car is unavailable because of a covered claim, such as a crash. That typically includes taxes and fees as long as they don’t exceed the daily limit on your coverage, but not refueling charges or the tax on refueling charges, or optional add-on insurance you might be offered by the rental car company.

Rental car reimbursement coverage isn’t designed to pay for costs related to renting a car for a vacation or leisure. Likewise, this coverage can’t be used if your vehicle is in the shop for routine maintenance or repairs unrelated to a covered claim.

Is rental car reimbursement coverage the same thing as rental car insurance?

It’s easy to confuse rental car reimbursement coverage with the add-on rental car insurance that car rental companies offer when you rent a car, such as collision damage waivers and excess liability insurance. These are separate types of coverage:

  • Rental car reimbursement is a coverage you can elect to carry on your own auto insurance policy in case you need to rent a car while getting your own car fixed or replaced.
  • Add-on rental car insurance refers to 4 types of optional coverage you can accept or turn down when you rent a car: collision damage waiver, supplemental liability insurance, personal accident insurance, and personal effects coverage. If you opt for any of them, these short-term coverages only cover you in your rental car for the length of the rental. 

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United℠ Explorer Card

United℠ Explorer Cardmembers enjoy built-in travel protection benefits that give you peace of mind while traveling near and far.

Baggage Delay Insurance

Reimburses you for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing for baggage delays over 6 hours by passenger carrier up to $100 a day for 3 days. 

Lost Luggage Reimbursement

If you or an immediate family member check or carry-on luggage that is damaged or lost by the carrier, you're covered up to $3,000 per passenger.

Trip Delay Reimbursement

If your common carrier travel is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses made with your United Explorer Card, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket.

Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance

You can be reimbursed up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable passenger fares, if your trip is cancelled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations.

Travel Accident Insurance

When you pay for your air, bus, train or cruise transportation with your United Explorer Card, you’re eligible to receive accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $500,000.

Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

Decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your United Explorer Card. Coverage is primary and provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the vehicle for theft and collision damage for most rental cars in the U.S. and abroad.

For assistance with all United Explorer Card protection benefits, please call 1-888-880-5844 or 1-804-673-1691 . International charges may apply; please contact your service provider for additional details.

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At Allianz, we continue to show our commitment to sports through our sponsorship with the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee. Read More >>

Allianz - Allianz: Worldwide Olympic and Paralympic Insurance Partner

Entry Requirements & COVID-19 Travel Resources 

Confused about entry requirements for your destination? Our  interactive map shows current travel rules and restrictions for each destination, including info on COVID-19 testing, necessary travel documents and quarantine periods.

Find out how our  Epidemic Coverage Endorsement can protect your next trip from certain losses related to COVID-19.

Why do I need travel insurance?

Because sometimes..., you have to cancel a trip last-minute..

Travel insurance can reimburse you for your prepaid, non-refundable trip costs — including vacation rentals, car rentals, hotels and flights — if you have to cancel for a covered reason.

Travel delays leave you stranded.

Travel insurance can reimburse you for eligible meals, accommodation and transportation expenses during a covered delay.

You get sick or hurt when you're far from home.

Travel insurance can reimburse you for care following a covered medical emergency while traveling. We can even arrange and pay for a medical evacuation if needed.

Fender-benders are unavoidable.

Renting a car means taking on a big financial risk; even a tiny scrape can cost you hundreds. Low-priced rental car insurance lets you drive worry-free.

You need help in a hurry.

Whether you're planning a week-long road trip or a weekend getaway, you never know what might happen. Travel insurance gives you access to our 24-Hour Assistance hotline for expert, personalized support in a crisis.

Why go with Allianz Travel Insurance?

As a world leader in travel protection, we help more than 70 million people answer the call of adventure with confidence every year.

We're Protecting You

From protection for trip cancellation to medical bills abroad, our benefits are designed to help you explore reassured.

We're There For You

We've got your back with award-winning 24/7 assistance and a worldwide network of prescreened hospitals to help you get the right care.

We're Built For You

From our Allyz ® TravelSmart app to proactive SmartBenefits, we innovate for the way you travel today - and tomorrow.

TRAVEL RESOURCES

How Travel Insurance Works

How the Cancel Anytime Upgrade Works

What Does Rental Car Insurance Cover?

Is It Too Late to Buy Travel Insurance?

The Comprehensive Guide to Annual Travel Insurance

The Top Travel Apps That You Need This Summer

Travel Insurance with Emergency Medical Benefits

Destination Guide: Croatia

Travel Insurance & COVID-19: The Epidemic Coverage Endorsement Explained

More Travel Resources »

Allianz - 2022 Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards

LATEST COVERAGE ALERTS

The events listed below are considered "known and foreseeable" for travel insurance purposes on the date listed next to the event. Please consult your policy for more information.

More Coverage Alerts »

Terms, conditions, and exclusions apply. Please see your plan for full details. Benefits/Coverage may vary by state, and sublimits may apply.

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Insurance benefits underwritten by BCS Insurance Company (OH, Administrative Office: 2 Mid America Plaza, Suite 200, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181), rated “A” (Excellent) by A.M. Best Co., under BCS Form No. 52.201 series or 52.401 series, or Jefferson Insurance Company (NY, Administrative Office: 9950 Mayland Drive, Richmond, VA 23233), rated “A+” (Superior) by A.M. Best Co., under Jefferson Form No. 101-C series or 101-P series, depending on your state of residence and plan chosen. A+ (Superior) and A (Excellent) are the 2nd and 3rd highest, respectively, of A.M. Best's 13 Financial Strength Ratings. Plans only available to U.S. residents and may not be available in all jurisdictions. Allianz Global Assistance and Allianz Travel Insurance are marks of AGA Service Company dba Allianz Global Assistance or its affiliates. Allianz Travel Insurance products are distributed by Allianz Global Assistance, the licensed producer and administrator of these plans and an affiliate of Jefferson Insurance Company. The insured shall not receive any special benefit or advantage due to the affiliation between AGA Service Company and Jefferson Insurance Company. Plans include insurance benefits and assistance services. Any Non-Insurance Assistance services purchased are provided through AGA Service Company. Except as expressly provided under your plan, you are responsible for charges you incur from third parties. Contact AGA Service Company at  800-284-8300 or 9950 Mayland Drive, Richmond, VA 23233 or [email protected] .

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USAA auto insurance review 2024

Usaa has affordable prices and strong customer service, but it's not available to everyone..

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USAA only sells auto insurance to active-duty military members, veterans and their immediate family members, but it's one of CNBC Select's top picks for coverage in a variety of categories. Its rates for both comprehensive and liability-only policies are among the lowest in the market, and USAA routinely earns high praise for customer satisfaction. We love that USAA has offerings tailored to the military community— including nationwide availability, 24/7 customer service, and discounts if you are deployed and not driving and for storing your vehicle on-base.

USAA Auto Insurance

The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

App available

Policy highlights.

USAA's auto insurance is available in all 50 states, Washington D.C. and some international locations. In addition to low rates and coverage options for unique circumstances, such as for active-duty members, customers have access to an intuitive mobile app.

Terms apply.

  • Cheapest insurer for liability-only coverage
  • Stellar customer satisfaction
  • Track record of financial strength
  • Available in all 50 states
  • Limited to military families and veterans
  • No brick-and-mortar insurance agencies 
  • Customer service is not available 24/7
  • Safe-driver discount not available in every state

USAA auto insurance review

Usaa car insurance pros and cons, who qualifies for usaa.

  • Types of USAA car insurance

USAA car insurance rates

Usaa car insurance discounts, usaa customer satisfaction, other types of usaa insurance.

  • How does USAA compare to other car insurance?   
  • How do I buy USAA car insurance?

Is USAA car insurance right for me?

The upside and downside to getting car insurance from USAA .

  • Cheapest policies for liability-only coverage. USAA is over 30% less than the national average
  • Stellar customer satisfaction. Some of the top scores on J.D. Power's customer surveys.
  • No penalty for paying monthly. Unlike other insurers, USAA doesn't charge more if you pay your premiums monthly rather than per term.
  • Limited eligibility . Policies are limited to military families and veterans.
  • No brick-and-mortar offices. Customer service is not available on Sundays or holidays.
  • No gap insurance . USAA offers car replacement assistance, which can pay more than your car's actual cash value but is more expensive than gap insurance .

To get a policy, you'll need to join USAA . Membership is typically limited to:

  • Active duty officers and enlisted personnel
  • National Guard/Reserve officers and enlisted personnel
  • Officer candidates in commissioning programs
  • Retired or separated military personnel
  • Children and spouses of current USAA members

Separated military personnel must have received an Honorable Discharge or better.

Type of USAA car insurance

USAA is available to military families and veterans in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. In addition to automobiles, policies are available for motorcycles, motorhomes, boats, bicycles and other vehicles.

Basic coverage

Collectively known as full coverage car insurance , these policies are typically required if you lease or finance your car.

  • Liability: the minimum coverage allowed in most states, liability insurance pays for damages if you are at fault for an accident. 
  • Collision : Pays to repair or replace your vehicle after an accident.
  • Comprehensive: Pays for damages or losses not caused by a collision, including theft, weather damage and hitting an animal.

Additional coverage

These policies may be required in some states and optional or unavailable in others.

  • Car replacement assistance: While gap insurance covers the difference between what's owed on a vehicle and what it's worth, this policy can pay out 120% of a car's cash value if it's totaled or stolen.
  • Accident forgiveness: If you are accident-free for at least five years, your USAA rates won't increase because of one at-fault accident.  
  • Medical payments insurance: Also known as MedPay, this covers medical bills for you, your passengers and any pedestrians, regardless of fault.
  • Personal injury protection: PIP, or no-fault insurance, can cover lost wages, child care and even funeral costs stemming from an accident.  
  • Roadside service : Get help with jump starts, fuel delivery, lockouts, flat tires, towing and winching.
  • Rental car insurance: If your vehicle is damaged in a covered accident, USAA will reimburse the cost of a rental while it's being repaired. 
  • Rideshare insurance: Rideshare companies usually only cover drivers after they accept a ride request. This add-on expands coverage to any time you're logged on to the rideshare app, even if you're waiting for a request.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance: Covers repairs and medical bills if you are in an accident with a driver with little or no insurance. (Required in about half of U.S. states)

USAA 's rates are well below average: A 40-year-old male with good credit and a clean driving record will pay an average of $1,709 a year for full coverage and $435 for minimum coverage. That's compared to a national average of $2,299 for full coverage and $637 for liability only. Your personalized quote may vary, however, based on your age, location, driving history and many other factors.

High-risk drivers

People with speeding tickets and at-fault accidents typically pay more for insurance. USAA's rates are lower than typical for high-risk drivers and it will also consider drivers with DUIs, which some insurers won't.

USAA offers many money-saving discounts. Not all are available in all states and some policies may not be combined. 

  • Anti-theft devices: Discount for installing a car alarm or other security systems .
  • Automatic payments: Save up to 3% by paying premiums through autopay.
  • Basic driver training: Eligible drivers can save after completing a basic driver training course.
  • Defensive driver training: Discount for completing an approved defensive driving course.
  • Deployment/storing : Get up to 60% off if you store your vehicle during deployment (not available in Hawaii, North Carolina or Virginia).
  • Good student : Drivers under 25 who maintain a B or better grade average can get up to 10% off.
  • Loyalty: Discount of up to 10% after remaining a policyholder for three years
  • Multi-vehicle : Discount available i f you insure two or more vehicles with USAA.
  • Multi-policy: Customers who bundle USAA home and auto insurance can save up to 15%
  • Military on-base : Get up to 15% off comprehensive coverage if you garage your car on a military installation.
  • Newer vehicle : Discount for vehicles that are no more than three years old.
  • Pay as You Drive : Aimed at people who don't drive often, this pay-per-mile plan combines a fixed lower base rate with a variable rate determined by how much and how safely you drive.
  • Safe driving : Discount for maintaining a good driving record for at least five years
  • SafePilot: Let USAA's usage-based insurance app track your driving habits and get up to 30% off for good behavior behind the wheel. (Not available in California, Delaware or New Jersey.)
  • MyUSAA Legacy discount: Earn up to 10% off if you were on your parent's USAA insurance and take over as the new policyholder. Available to drivers under 25 who haven't had any major violations in the past three years.

Compare prices for car insurance

USAA is consistently praised for customer satisfaction. It scored 711 out of a possible 1,000 points on J.D. Power's 2024 customer survey , well above the industry average of 676 . In a separate survey of auto insurance claims , USAA scored 900 out of 1,000, compared to an average of 878. The Better Business Bureau gave USAA its highest grade, an A+, based on information about its interactions with the public, including customer complaints.

The company has also received high scores from credit rating agencies like A.M. Best and S&P Global , a testament to its financial strength and a good indicator of its ability to pay on claims.

Though it was founded by Army officers to insure their vehicles, USAA offers many other kinds of insurance, including:

  • Homeowners insurance
  • Renters insurance
  • Condo insurance
  • Flood insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Umbrella insurance
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Business insurance
  • Pet insurance through Embrace

Customers who bundle home and auto policies can save up to 15%. USAA also offers banking and credit products, including credit cards and auto loans .

CNBC Select chose USAA as a top pick for:

How does usaa compare to other car insurance, usaa vs. state farm, state farm auto insurance.

State farm is one of the largest auto insurers based on market share and has an excellent reputation for customer satisfaction. It offers 13 discounts, including ones for safe driving and young drivers.

Read our State Farm Auto Insurance review.

Both State Farm and USAA made CNBC Select's best car insurance list , but USAA is tops for price. The average annual premium for full coverage is $1,709, compared to $2,406 with State Farm.

If you're an active-duty service member, USAA has discounts for parking your car on-base or storing it during deployment. State Farm, on the other hand, doesn't have any specific military discount.

Both companies offer accident forgiveness, but USAA only requires drivers to be accident-free for five years, compared to nine years for State Farm.

USAA vs. Geico

Geico auto insurance.

Geico coverage and services are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and there are 16 different types of discounts available. In addition to the standard coverage options, Geico offers various optional add-ons, such as emergency roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement and mechanical breakdown insurance.

Read our Geico Auto Insurance review.

In a price comparison, Geico and USAA are close contenders: Geico comes in at $1,782 for 12 months of full coverage, while USAA is $1,709. Geico does offer a military discount of up to 15%, which could give it the edge depending on your circumstances.

However, Geico ranked well below average for both customer service and claims satisfaction.

How do I buy car insurance from USAA?

You'll need to be a current or former service member or part of a military family to buy USAA auto insurance. You can get quotes or buy a policy online, but you'll need to provide information about your military status, including branch, rank and dates of service. You'll also be asked about your driving history, including: 

  • Driver's license number
  • Make, model, year and Vehicle Identification Number for the car(s) you want to insure
  • Information on any tickets, at-fault accidents or DUI convictions.

You can also apply over the phone, but USAA doesn't have 24/7 customer service. Representatives can be reached at 800-531-8722, Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT. (Customer service is not available on Sundays or major holidays.)

There is a live chat option on the USAA website, where an agent will answer questions about coverage. On the USAA mobile app, you can file and track claims, get proof of insurance, add drivers and vehicles to your policy, pay bills and request roadside assistance.

If you're a veteran or part of a military family, seriously consider USAA . It has some of the best rates for both full and liability-only coverage and multiple discounts that can lower your premium even more.

Best of all, since USAA is available in all 50 U.S. states, you can scratch finding new insurance off your to-do list if your home base changes.

Is USAA only for members of the military?

USAA is primarily aimed at active-duty service members, veterans and their spouses. Children of USAA members, including adult children, may be eligible for membership.

Does USAA insurance cover rental cars?

If your vehicle is damaged in a covered accident, USAA will typically reimburse the cost of a rental car. Check with your agent for coverage limits.

How much is USAA car insurance per year?

Full coverage for a 40-year-old male with good credit and a good driving record costs an average of $1,709 a year. A liability-only policy with USAA averages $435 a year.

Money matters — so make the most of it. Get expert tips, strategies, news and everything else you need to maximize your money, right to your inbox.  Sign up here .

Why trust CNBC Select?

At CNBC Select, our mission is to provide our readers with high-quality service journalism and comprehensive consumer advice so they can make informed decisions with their money. Every insurance review is based on rigorous reporting by our team of expert writers and editors with extensive knowledge of insurance products . While CNBC Select earns a commission from affiliate partners on many offers and links, we create all our content without input from our commercial team or any outside third parties, and we pride ourselves on our journalistic standards and ethics.

Catch up on CNBC Select's in-depth coverage of  credit cards ,  banking  and  money , and follow us on  TikTok ,  Facebook ,  Instagram  and  Twitter  to stay up to date.

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