As the saying goes, think Texas, think Big! Texas is the second largest US State after Alaska. The Lone Star State also grabs the runner-up spot in terms of population. With California the most populous state in the US by several percentage points, it claims 12% of the total population. Texas has the larger footprint and accounts for around 9% of the US headcount, recording around 28.5 million residents.
If you're planning to rent a car while in Texas, it's important to understand the state's requirements for rental car insurance. While your personal auto insurance may provide some coverage for a rental car, you may need to purchase additional insurance from the rental company to be fully protected.
Here's what you need to know about driving a rental car in Texas.
Driving a Rental Car in Texas
Renting a car in Texas can be an exciting way to explore the Lone Star State. From the beaches of South Padre Island to the rolling hills of the Hill Country, there is no shortage of places to go and things to see. With approximately 260,000 square miles of territory, the best way of getting around Texas is by rental car. Analyzing this closer, a rental auto represents great value for money. You get a newish vehicle with low mileage, and you should receive it squeaky clean.
Autos are out of the reach of many people. They simply cannot afford the purchase and running costs. When they need transport, they turn to rental cars to get them around, because this is a readymade solution offering independence and convenience. All great so far, but watch for the hidden snags. Before you venture out on your next adventure in a rental car, it's important to know what you need to do beforehand.
When driving a rental car in Texas, there are some key things you have to keep in mind for safe and legal travel. First, make sure that you have sufficient insurance coverage for the vehicle - both liability coverage, as well as collision and comprehensive protection, are highly recommended for anyone renting a car in Texas. This is critical if you don’t have a personal car insurance policy. While your rental car company may provide minimum state liability insurance on your rented vehicle, you need to do due diligence on whether your coverage is adequate when the unexpected happens.
Understanding the Texas Law on Liability
Texas is an at fault state when it comes to car accidents, meaning that the driver deemed responsible for the accident has to pay for any resulting damages. In particular, Texas state law requires a basic coverage called 30/60/25, where you should have at least $30,000 in liability coverage for each injured person, up to a total of $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage in the case of an accident.
What does this mean for you? If you have an existing personal car insurance policy, there’s a good chance that it covers your rental vehicle. But you can’t rest easy just yet. You have to make sure that your policy limits can actually cover the Texas basic coverage. Otherwise, you might want to consider purchasing additional insurance coverage to protect themselves from unexpected costs and liabilities.
Rental Car Insurance: What to Look for in a Policy
The most important type of rental car coverage in Texas is Liability Insurance Supplement (LIS). This provides protection against financial liability if someone else is injured or their property is damaged during an accident that you are found to be at fault for. It also covers any legal fees associated with defending yourself after an accident.
Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to have other options included in your coverage such as:
Collision and damage coverage
Personal accident insurance (PAI)
Personal effects insurance (PEI)
It's important to note that damage waiver or loss damage waivers offered by most major rental companies do not constitute actual insurance, but rather releases the renter from responsibility for damages caused to the rented vehicle up to certain limits. Learn more about what each type of rental car insurance covers
Where to Buy Car Rental Insurance in Texas
You can purchase rental car insurance through your directly from the rental car company, from your car insurance provider, or from third-party providers like Bonzah.
Third-party rental car insurance like Bonzah specialize in plugging the gap left by the rental giants who are unable to offer primary rental cover due to strict rental insurance licensing restraints. The good news is that we hold legal licenses in each of the 50 states, which allows us to sell car rental damage insurance. Bonzah offers this unique online service, and it takes less than 5 minutes to confirm cover.
Auto Insurance Coverage Tips
While rental car insurance policies may seem complex and confusing, it’s important to take the time to read the fine print in order to make sure that you are properly covered. Some policies may offer comprehensive coverage while others provide liability only, so it's essential that you know what is and isn't covered in the event of an accident or theft. Not reading your policy thoroughly can have potentially serious consequences when tragedy strikes, causing a lot more headaches than it's worth.
If you do get involved in an accident while driving a rental car, be sure to contact your insurance company immediately. While the actual process of how to handle the situation will depend on the jurisdiction, one of the most important things that you can do is contact your insurance company right away. Not only can your insurance company help determine next steps and provide some coverage, depending on your individual policy, but they can also serve as a valuable asset when figuring out who is responsible for what damages following an accident. As long as you notify them promptly after any incident, there won’t be any issues when it comes to sorting out the matter afterwards.
Making an Informed Rental Car Insurance Decision
Rental car insurance is an additional form of protection designed to ensure drivers are financially responsible in the event of an accident while driving a rental vehicle. It can provide financial protection against damage to the vehicle, medical bills resulting from injury during an accident, and more. Coverage varies depending on the plan chosen, so it’s important to research various plans before making a choice.
No matter what type of coverage you choose, purchasing rental car insurance offers peace of mind when renting a vehicle in Texas or any other state.