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Explain the requirements for car rental insurance in the USA and Canada?

If you are hiring a car in the USA and Canada either on an American or Canadian website or by going straight into a car rental station in the USA or Canada, you have the choice of hiring a car that is either inclusive, or exclusive, of insurance. You occasionally find similar offers through UK comparison websites.

Car rental without any insurance cover is available because nationals of those countries can often use their normal car insurance policy to cover rented vehicles. The insurance which you, as a non US / Canadian citizen, must buy is Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) / Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) (covering the damage, theft and loss of use of the hired vehicle). This will be offered at the car rental counter and generally costs between US$20 and US$30 a day. Normally US and Canadian policies do not levy an excess although damage to windows, tyres, the undercarriage and the roof is not covered.

Alternatively you can buy a policy through insurers such as those available through the moneymaxim car hire insurance service, which tend to be a fraction of the cost.

Additionally seriously consider whether you also need top up liability insurance, available here as 'Supplementary Liability Insurance'. As you can see from the table below in some parts of the Americas the legal minimum level of liability insurance cover car rental firms need to provide can be as low as a totally insufficient $30,000. If you were found at fault in any reasonably serious accident this could leave you personally liable for a huge bill. To protect yourself you can take out a 'Supplementary Liability Insurance' policy which will top up the local cover to $1,000,000. Be aware that the first claim should be on the local car rental policy and then, only if this is insufficient, on the SLI policy. You can buy a policy covering both CDW and SLI for a trip of 60 days for as little as £75 through the moneymaxim car hire insurance service so buying this type of insurance is really not very expensive at all - as long as you don't rely on your car hire company.

Here's a brief summary of the legal minimum liability limits by state. They're mostly shown with separate amounts for bodily injury to each person, all bodily injury & property damage for each accident or some (mostly Canadian states) as a single Combined Single Limit to cover all liability. All figures are shown in $1000's. So for example in California, the minimum cover for a single person being injured would be just $15,000 with the total for all bodily injuries being $30,000 and only $5,000 in property. So don't have an accident with a film producer with his lawyer wife & children in the Lexus!

State Bodily injury - each Bodily injury - combined Property Damage Combined Single Limit Notes
Alabama 20 50 25
Alaska 50 100 25
Alberta 200
Arizona 15 30 10
Arkansas 25 50 25
British Columbia 200
California 15 30 5
Colorado 25 50 15
Connecticut 20 40 10
Delaware 15 30 10
District of Columbia 25 50 10
Florida 10 20 10
Georgia 25 50 25
Hawaii 20 40 10
Idaho 25 50 15
Illinois 20 40 15 Rising to 25/50/20 Jan 2015
Indiana 25 50 10
Iowa 20 40 15
Kansas 25 50 10
Kentucky 25 50 10
Louisiana 15 30 25
Maine 50 100 25
Manitoba 200
Maryland 30 60 15
Massachusetts 20 40 5
Michigan 20 40 10
Minnesota 30 60 10
Mississippi 25 50 25
Missouri 25 50 10
Montana 25 50 10
Nebraska 25 50 25
Nevada 15 30 10
New Brunswick 200
Newfoundland 200
New Hampshire 25 50 25 Insurance not mandatory for locals
New Jersey 15 30 5
New Mexico 25 50 10
New York 25 50 10 Bodily limits double for death
Northwest Territories 200
North Carolina 30 60 25
North Dakota 25 50 25
Nova Scotia 200
Ohio 25 50 25
Oklahoma 25 50 25
Ontario 200
Oregon 25 50 20
Pennsylvania 15 30 5
Prince Edward Island 200
Rhode Island 25 50 25
South Carolina 25 50 25
Quebec 50
Saskatchewan 200
South Dakota 25 50 25
Tennessee 25 50 15
Texas 30 60 25
Utah 25 65 15
Vermont 25 50 10
Virginia 25 50 20 Locals can drive uninsured for a $500 fee!
Washington 25 50 10
West Virginia 20 40 10
Wisconsin 25 50 10
Wyoming 25 50 25
Yukon 200

 
Details researched as at 13th August 2014 - correct to our best belief

If you book your US rental in the UK, or on a UK (.co.uk website), the car rental agreement will generally (but not always) include cover for Third Party, Collision Damage Waiver and Theft. An excess is not normally charged in the US, although this practice is changing. You will as hirer be responsible for damage to windows, tyres, the undercarriage and the roof. As car rental agreements do differ please check the details of your rental agreement carefully so that you understand exactly what cover is being offered.

You can obtain policies covering either full CDW or SLI or worldwide excess policies (both of which also cover damage to windows, tyres, the undercarriage and the roof) through the moneymaxim car hire insurance service

car hire
General Car Hire Insurance Questions

Excess Insurance Questions

Questions on CDW & SLI Policies for the USA and Canada

Combined Worldwide CDW, SLI & Excess Policy Questions

Driver related Questions

Car Rental Keys Questions

Car Hire Companies - Insurance Questions

General Car Hire Queries

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Car Hire Excess Insurance
General Car Hire Insurance Questions

Do I need Car Hire Excess Insurance?

How does your Insurance work?

What does All inclusive Car Hire Insurance Cover

No Excess Car Hire - What does this include?

Does my car rental agreement already include insurance?

Why are there restrictions on UK usage

Can a hire company refuse to accept a car hire excess policy?

Are other people travelling with me covered?

Is window and tyre damage covered?

Can I purchase your Excess Policies if I am not a resident of the UK?

Do you cover vehicles such as Camper Vans, Caravans and Motor Bikes?

Super CDW, Deductables and Non Waiver - What do they mean?

My hire company offers Super CDW or Excess cover? What is this?

Will car hire insurance cover me if I pick the car up at one location and return it to another location?

Will the car rental company block any money on my credit card when I have your Excess insurance?

I have a credit card which covers my Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) - do I need your coverage?

Which insurance do I need for my car hire?

What cars are covered by car hire insurance?

What do you mean by annual policy? Can I use it throughout the year?

What is covered by the Theft insurance included in the car rental price?

What is Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) and do I need it?

What is Personal Effects Cover (PEC) and do I need it?

Do I need car hire cancellation insurance?

How good are these companies at settling claims?

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car hire
Questions on Excess Insurance

Do I have to have Excess Cover?

What cover is provided by the Annual Excess Policies?

What are the restrictions on the Annual Excess Policies?

In which countries is Excess/Super CDW charged?

In which countries is Excess/Super CDW not charged?

What is Excess Waiver Insurance?

How do I make a Claim on my Excess Insurance?

How are Claims handled?

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Car Hire Excess Insurance
Combined Worldwide CDW, SLI & Excess Policy Questions

What cover is provided by the Combined Worldwide CDW, SLI & Excess Policy?

What are the Features of this Policy?

How are Worldwide Policy Claims handled?

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Questions on CDW & SLI Policies for the US and Canada

Explain the requirements for car rental insurance in the USA and Canada?

If I purchase this Policy, am I fully covered for car rental insurance in the USA and Canada?

What are the Features of the CDW/LDW & SLI Policy?

What are the Restrictions on the CDW/LDW & SLI Policy for the USA and Canada?

Why do you not recommend this insurance for fly-drive programmes?

How are SLI/CDW Claims handled?

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car hire
Car Hire Companies - Insurance Questions

What insurance policies are offered by Alamo?

What insurance policies are offered by Auto Europe?

What insurance policies are offered by Avis?

What insurance policies are offered by Budget?

What insurance policies are offered by Car Brokers?

What insurance policies are offered by Dollar?

What insurance policies are offered by Enterprise?

What insurance policies are offered by Economy Car Rentals?

What insurance policies are offered by Hertz?

What insurance policies are offered by National?

What insurance policies are offered by No Excess Economy Car Hire?

What insurance policies are offered by Sixt?

What insurance policies are offered by Thrifty?

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Car Hire Excess Insurance
Driver Related Questions

Young Drivers (under 25 years old)?

Am I too old to hire a car?

Does it cost more for additional drivers?

Do all drivers have to take their driving licence with them?

Are other people travelling with me covered?

Do I need an International driving licence?

What happens if I forget my driving licence?

Do I have to carry my driving licence with me when I am abroad?

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car hire
Car Rental Keys Questions

Do car rental companies have spare keys?

What do car rental companies typically charge if you lose the keys to your rental car?

What does lock out cover mean?

What does key replacement insurance cover?

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Car Hire Excess Insurance
General Car Hire Questions

Am I able to accept an upgrade?

What happens if the car rental company do not have the car I have been booked?

Whats the maximum number of passengers I can take in my hire car?

Does it matter what time of day I collect or return my hire car?

I booked snow chains, a roof rack or a roof box - what happens if there are not there when I arrive?

Can I pick my car up in one place and return it to another?

What methods of payment are acceptable for payment of my policy?

If I arrive late and want to pick up my vehicle the following day is this OK?

What if I am overcharged or don't get the car group I booked?

When is a weekly rate best for me, and does it affect my car hire insurance policy

What happens if the model I have booked is unavailable?

Will I get a Sat Nav with my car hire car?

Do hire car cars have to be of a certain age or quality?

What happens if the car or the boot is not big enough for my party?

What fuel rules apply to car hires?

I have been asked for a cleaning fee when the car is returned - is this fair?

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car hire
moneymaxim - making money go further

moneymaxim always recommend you take independent financial advice before acting on any article. Any views expressed are those of the editorial team at the time of going to press, and should not be considered as either recommendation or specific advice. Readers should be aware that no warranty is given that the details are correct and are recommended to read any policy documents carefully before entering into any contract.