Car Rental Tips & Tricks: Save Money & Avoid Trouble | Gabi

by Jessie Jordan,  Oct 3 2017
Updated at Mar 24, 2022|2 min read

Many do not know that when renting a car, you take on additional liability. In fact, even if you have personal auto insurance, you may still be responsible for damages in the unfortunate event of an accident. We asked our insurance experts for car rental tips and tricks on avoiding the most common mistakes and pitfalls. Here is what they came up with.

Tip #1. Never allow someone not listed as a driver on the rental agreement to drive the rental car.

Allowing someone else to drive is an absolute no-no. In the unfortunate event of an accident, the rental company will first seek damages from your insurance company. The claim, however, will likely be denied since the actual driver was someone else. In all likelihood, the rental company will then sue you for damages because the contract was in your name. The actual driver will also get tangled in a legal mess with the rental car company and if someone else was injured or vehicle was damaged.

Tip #2. Your personal auto insurance doesn’t apply to commercial vehicles.

Personal auto insurance typically only extends “personal use” vehicles. This means that the 15-passenger commercial van and U-Haul moving truck you rented are not going to be covered. If you’re renting a commercial vehicle, make sure that you purchase the insurance coverage from the rental company.

Tip #3. Your personal auto insurance doesn’t apply to all “personal use” either.

Your personal auto insurance will apply to a rental car if you have collision and comprehensive coverage. If you don’t, make sure to purchase the insurance coverage from the rental company. If you get into an accident and don’t opt for rental insurance, then you are personally liable for the car’s MSRP.

Tip #4. Be super thorough when you do the vehicle walk-around.

Don’t assume that the rental company accounted for all existing damages. Of course you might drive yourself crazy trying to document every single thing wrong with the car, so here’s a good rule of thumb: if any damage is larger than a credit card, you should take note of it before you drive away. Better yet, take photos or videos with your phone in case anything was missed. You’ll be able to refer to them later.

Tip #5. Always add potential drivers, even if there is only a slight chance they will drive.

This is a corollary to the first tip, but it’s important enough to reiterate. Your financial future is at risk when you gamble driving without proper insurance coverage. A few extra bucks could save you tens of thousands of dollars and a lot of legal hassle down the road.

Were these car rental tips and tricks helpful? Let us know!

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Editorial content on is reviewed by a licensed insurance agent. It is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal or financial advice.
Written by
Jessie Jordan
Jessie is a Marketing Specialist at Gabi. As a licensed insurance agent, she has been helping Gabi customers buy and understand auto, home, renters, landlord, and umbrella insurance in a digestible way since she joined the Gabi team in 2020. Before joining Gabi she was a globally recognized Senior Account Executive for UPS- trusted with advising top brands on how to grow and streamline their business.
Reviewed by
Robbie Boddy
Robbie is the Vice President, Head of Sales & Customer Experience at Gabi. As a licensed insurance agent, he has more than 15 years of experience in the insurance industry, joining Gabi after working with Liberty Mutual as the Assistant Vice President and Site Leader, Direct Sales and Innovation. Robbie is a member of the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters society and has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Grand Canyon University.
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