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FAQ Section > Car Hire Insurance Frequently Asked Questions > Car Rental Insurance in the USA and Canada

What are the requirements for car rental insurance in the USA and Canada?

The car hire insurance requirements in the US and Canada explained.

This really depends on whether you have hired your car from a European or American broker. This is due to American car hire companies giving less coverage generally than its European counterparts.

If you are hiring a car in the USA or 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 theMoneyMaxim car hire insurance service, which tend to be a fraction of the cost.

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 that car rental firms need to provide can be as low as a totally insufficient $25,000.

Additionally in a few states it is the renter rather than the rental company who have the legal responsibility to check that any third party insurance is included in the package at all.

We are aware that California, Florida, New Jersey and Ohio place the responsibility on the hirer to sign up for liability insurance cover, rather than making a responsibility of the car rental firms.

It is therefore vital that wherever you are you make sure that your car rental deal offers you liability insurance (you may need to pay extra for this if it is not automatically included) - if this cover is for less that US$1,000,000 then a Supplementary Liability Insurance Policy such as those available through our service could top up your cover to that level.

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 should ensure you have adequate insurance to cover your liabilities.

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 £84 through theMoneyMaxim car hire insurance service so buying this type of insurance is really not very expensive at all - as long as you don't buy it supplementary cover from on your car hire company. For more information on the level of SLI cover provided, please visit our SLI/CDW policies page.

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.

StateBodily Injury Per PersonBodily Injury TotalProperty DamageCombined Single Limit
British Columbia200
Responsibility lies with hirer to take insurance rather than rental company to provide it.
District of Columbia255010
Responsibility lies with hirer to take insurance rather than rental company to provide it.
New Brunswick200
New Hampshire255025
Insurance not mandatory for locals
New Jersey15305
New Mexico255010
New York255010
Bodily limits doubled for death
North Carolina306025
North Dakota255025
Northwest Territories200
Nova Scotia500
Responsibility lies with hirer to take insurance rather than rental company to provide it.
Prince Edward Island200
Rhode Island255025
South Carolina255025
South Dakota255025
Local residents can pay $500 fee in lieu of insurance
West Virginia255010

All figures expressed as US$000

Details researched as at 27th January 2023 - correct to our best belief, but please check with your rental company as this information can change without notice.

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 the 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 theMoneyMaxim car hire insurance service

This content was last reviewed on 08/01/2024

Image courtesy of: Dwight Burdette

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