Ask the Car Insurance Expert
My car won't start. Can I use my car insurance to rent a vehicle?
Rental reimbursement is an optional type of coverage you buy as part of your car insurance policy. It pays for a car rental while your vehicle is in the shop undergoing repairs from damage covered by your collision or comprehensive insurance.
Collision insurance covers damage caused by a traffic accident, and comprehensive insurance covers damage caused by factors other than a traffic accident, such as fire, natural disaster, vandalism or collision with an animal. Like rental reimbursement, collision and comprehensive are optional types of coverage.
Rental reimbursement does not kick in if your car fails to operate because of a mechanical problem. You'll have to foot the bill for a rental car in that case if you need transportation.
Rental reimbursement coverage costs as little as $1 to $2 a month, according to the Insurance Information Institute. It's not uncommon for a badly damaged car to be in the shop for weeks. Renting a car can cost $200 to $400 in a week.
Typically, the insurer reimburses you for car rental up to a daily limit, such as $25, and a per-accident limit of several hundred dollars. The insurance company usually puts a tighter restriction on reimbursement if your car is declared a total loss.
Some car insurance companies let you pay a higher premium for the coverage to increase the daily reimbursement amount or a lower premium to save money and receive a smaller amount toward alternative transportation.