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This insurance covers you for claims made by third parties for either physical damage to their property (say their car) or injuries they sustain.
In Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and most parts of the Middle and Far East this is normally already included within the minimum insurance provided by your hire company.
In the US, Canada and the Caribbean (and a few other countries around the world) whilst some liability insurance tends to be included within the car hire package this may be at a level which leaves you feeling inadequately protected.
For instance in a number of US states the legal minimum level of liability insurance a car rental company must provide is below $15,000. If you do not take up an additional insurance you could be leaving yourself massively exposed if you are involved in a serious accident. 'Top up' or Supplementary Liability Insurance can therefore be bought to increase cover to a more comfortable limit.
It is important to ensure that you do have primary third party cover from your rental firm even if it is to a low level. This is because the level of protection offered by policies shown on our service is either lower - or nothing at all - if you do not have the primary cover from the rental firm.
If you have bought one of the policies that do not offer primary cover and you did not have the State Minimum or local primary cover you could end up with no third party cover at all - so its really important to check this.
For a detailed breakdown of US minimum SLI levels read our guide.
It is important to note that the 'primary' liability insurance supplied by your local rental firm would provide cover for the first part of any claim, with the supplementary cover coming into force for larger claims.
This is why the insurance policies offering Supplementary Liability Insurance are so affordable - because most claims are fairly modest and therefore are the responsibility of the rental firm - it's only when third party damage is for a sum greater than the State Minimum Liability limit that your policy would be called upon.
If you are involved in an accident you should refer to your car hire insurance company as they will want to get involved and hep you with the claim..
Details of companies offering supplemental liability cover are found when asking for a quotation from the MoneyMaxim car hire insurance service. Policies bought through this service are normally a fraction of the cost of policies bought at the car rental desk and can top up any locally provided liability insurance to $1m.
This content was last reviewed on 17/10/2020