First, the broadest coverage on your auto insurance is what will apply to a rental vehicle. So, if you do not have Comprehensive or Collision coverage on any of your insured vehicles, then these coverages will not extend to a rental vehicle.
Second, the vehicle you are renting needs to be considered a private passenger auto. Typically, this would exclude any commercial vehicles, motorcycles, RVs, boats, etc. So the next time you rent a U-Haul truck for moving across town, you should add their insurance coverage.
Third, there are territorial restrictions on your auto policy. Most auto policies will cover you while you are in the United States or Canada. However, outside of these countries, your auto policy will not apply.
Fourth, for your personal auto policy to extend coverage, then the vehicle needs to be rented for personal use, and not business use. If you need to rent a vehicle due to your job or for any business reason, your employer or a business auto policy would need to extend coverage to your rented vehicle.
Lastly, of course, always check with your insurance agent or carrier. Each company has a slightly unique policy so you want to ensure you are covered before you start driving the rental vehicle.
So what if you run into one of the exceptions and your auto policy will not extend to a rental vehicle? Here are some possible alternatives to explore.
First, research your credit cards. Many credit car companies offer a benefit to provide auto insurance to a rental vehicle if you use their card to pay for it. Be sure to call your credit car company for their exact requirements and specifications before you rent the vehicle. For example, if you are traveling to Ireland, the insurance requirements are more unique than in other countries, so only a limited number of credit car companies offer coverage necessary to cover rentals there.
Second, consider travel insurance. Travel insurance providers can include rental vehicle insurance as part of their overall coverage package.
Finally, you always have the option of purchasing the insurance directly from the rental car company. Though we would all like to avoid the additional hefty fees for this, there will be times when this may be your only option.