Car Insurance in USA

Hello Molaviajeros! Many are the questions that come to mind before renting a car in the United States. Some of them you will see answered in this post about how to rent a cheap car. But today we bring you a post that emphasizes a specific point: Car insurance in the USA. Which one to choose? How to choose the best one? Let’s go for it Molaviajeros!

Index of Contents

When do you take out car insurance in the USA?

First of all, let’s go with this common doubt. As we told you in the post that we left linked above, we usually look for rental cars in this comparator. Here you have our tricks to rent a car at the best price.

When renting, this comparator shows us what basic things are included: for example, if a second driver is included, if we have unlimited mileage or not, or if we have to return the full or empty tank. (We prefer to return it full always, by the way)

When renting a car in the USA, or anywhere else, this comparator offers additional insurance to add to the “shopping cart” before you pay. This is an insurance that can be cancelled at any time, until just before you are given the keys of the car.

In addition to offering it during the rental process, the comparator usually sends some reminder mail the following days: “you’re still in time to hire”.

One option is to buy it and if when you arrive to pick up the car, you are offered a better one, call the telephone number indicated in the policy and cancel it. The other option is not to contract anything, to wait to pick up the car and in the same office of rent, to formalize with them the car insurance that we want to take in USA.

How to choose the car insurance in USA that suits us best?

In the USA, the issue of car insurance is divided into coverages. It is normal to start from a basic insurance and “dress” it with additional coverages. These coverages are contracted by each according to their needs/preferences.

Before taking out any car insurance in the USA, it must be very clear whether our rental already includes any coverage or not. In order to do this, and always in general, read the car rental contract carefully. That’s where you put what’s included or not.

Most common coverages when taking out car insurance in the USA

The coverages that you are going to see when taking out a car insurance in the USA, in a general way, are the following:

CDW or “collision damage waiver”: This is responsible for repairing any damage that may suffer the car by collision. Watch out! It only covers damage to the vehicle, not people, ok? In this type of cover, it is very important that you make sure that the damage is paid for in full or that you will have to pay the first XX euros. I mean, you need to know if your insurance has a franchise. If so, ask how much this is. A franchise of 100 euros is not the same as a franchise of 600 euros.

LDW or “loss damage waiver”: Sometimes, you can find this coverage included in the CDW description. Look for her. This coverage pays for the car if someone steals it. If you don’t have it included, we advise you to hire it. That they are stealing vehicles around is not something that is stigmatized in the U.S., but the damage caused if the case of theft were to occur is high enough to be taken into account.

SLI or “Supplemental Liability Insurance”: This is a civil liability insurance and if with the CDW we cover the damages that our own car could suffer, with this coverage we cover two things: the damages that other cars could suffer due to our fault and also the people involved, for whose damages we are legally responsible. We have read that car rental companies are not obliged to say that this is an obligatory insurance for Californian drivers. So be careful.

PAI or “Personal Accident Insurance”: This coverage is responsible for dealing financially with the damage we may suffer as people in an accident: personal injury. We never usually hire it, but not because we do not consider it necessary, but because we always travel with travel insurance. Ours includes the possible bodily injuries suffered in an accident, so it saves us from having to hire extra coverages. We leave here a 5% discount on your health travel insurance.

PEC or “Personal Effects Coverage”: this cover covers the cost of personal effects that someone may steal from your vehicle, usually up to a limit. It’s up to you whether you hire her or not. Of course, if you are interested, special eye to the cover and the conditions. Does the lock have to be forced? Broken the crystals? It’s never too much to ask if you want it.

And we still haven’t included…

Have you noticed that we haven’t talked about roadside assistance or damage to wheels, windows or car windows yet? We have named the most important coverages for you, but there are many more. It’s important that you ask if these things are covered or not. And if not, I’d add them for a quieter drive.

The most usual thing is that when you go to the rental office, before you pick it up you will be offered ready-made packs. You can see an example below. It’s from the Dollar Company, 2018.


Needless to say, no car insurance in the USA will take care of fines, or accidents caused by the effects of alcohol. Careful with that, Molaviajeros, Stevie Wonder said on his day, “If you drink, don’t drive”. The only thing that can happen if you are stopped by the police and caught drunk or even driving with a measly can of beer or any other type of open alcohol, is that you are sent directly to a free hotel. It’s the one that doesn’t appear in search engines and in which you’re “given” an orange monkey. Come on, the jail of a lifetime. Let’s leave “Orange is the new Black” for Netflix.

Our tips for choosing a good car insurance in USA

When you pick up your new car, they’ll give you a rental contract. It should include a section that can go with a text or a drawing of the car, which indicates the previous damage it may have. Well, before you make a selfie with your new Californian license plate, that we know mola mazo, check if the car has any additional damage that is not reflected in the rental contract. If he has it, call the supervisor who is at that moment and write it on your copy and on his own, signed, in any way he wants… But he must prove that it is not your responsibility.

And with the rest of things, act in the same way: if you see stains inside the vehicle, something broken… The best thing is to warn before taking it.

On a personal level… On the trip we can adjust the budget on many things. But in this matter, it is better not to go around relying on credit card insurance or similar, if we are not 100% convinced and know for sure that there is NO small print. Don’t skimp on the CDW, LDW or SLI. ALWAYS take health travel insurance that covers any personal injury. And more to the USA! As for the theft of personal effects, at your choice, perhaps you never carry luggage more than when you go and you do not need …

Do I need car insurance in the USA if I already have health insurance?

Yes!!!!! We hope that at this point in the post, it has become clear, but when you hire the SO NECESSARY health travel insurance, it will cover you, not your cars. Therefore, the answer to the question is a resounding yes. Here you have a 5% discount to travel safely with Iati.

Well Molaviajeros, we hope this post about Car Insurance in USA: How to choose the best? I’ve been of use to you. As we always tell you, don’t hesitate to ask us any questions you may have about preparing your trips. You have at your service a free help service through the contact form.

Car insurance in USA was last modified: June 23rd, 2019 by MolaTravel