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I am in my 20s and am moving into a rental apartment. I do not own a car and do not have auto insurance. I'm looking to rent a U-HAUL for my move. U-HAUL offers a waiver for damages to the rental van, but does not cover damages to another vehicle which I might be responsible for. Would umbrella liability insurance, on top of renter's insurance, cover damages incurred when driving a rental car?

No, umbrella insurance on top of a renters insurance policy would not cover anything auto related, and some insurers require you to purchase both auto and home insurance through them before you are able to buy umbrella coverage.

Umbrella insurance provides an extra layer of liability coverage on top of car insurance and home insurance policies. Umbrella coverage starts to pay out once you've reached the liability limits of those policies. For example, if you had car insurance with a liability limit of $250,000 of bodily injury protection per person and $500,000 per accident, the umbrella coverage would kick in once those limits were exceeded.

Umbrella policies are fairly inexpensive because the primary home and auto policies pay the majority of claims. An insurer would not sell you an umbrella policy for auto liability if you didn't already have car insurance. Even if you had car insurance, the insurer might require that you purchase coverage up to the maximum liability limit before adding umbrella coverage.

You could check into a non-owners car insurance policy. Non-owners policies, which generally are about half the cost of standard car insurance, provide liability protection when you rent vehicles and an extra layer of protection when you borrow friends' cars. (If you borrow a friend's car and crash it, the owner's car insurance would pay first, and then your non-owners policy would kick in if damages exceeded the friend's liability limits.)

Another possibility is to ask an insured friend or relative to rent the truck and drive it for you when you move.

For more, see umbrella insurance extends your coverage and car insurance for drivers who don't own vehicles.

Last updated: Feb. 10, 2011