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Rental Car Insurance for Non USA Citizens

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Kiwi Kid, Auckland
Level Contributor
648 posts
65 reviews
Rental Car Insurance for Non USA Citizens

Kia Ora and greetings from New Zealand. I am getting myself horribly confused with what insurance I need to purchase for a rental car pickup in Anaheim (going thru to Vegas).

I have settled with Avis but note that their policy clearly states "CALIFORNIA: Automobile Liability and Property Damage Protection is not included in the rental rate. The customer may provide automobile liability insurance through a personal insurance policy or may purchase Additional Liability Insurance."

If this the norm with ALL California rentals or do some company's include it? After speaking with Avis I understand we will be liable for up to $20k pp for anyone we should injure (max. $40k,) and $10k to property without taking their STD & ALI insurances. Don't forget the $1m for something else! Cover will cost us an additional $230 - nearly as much as the rental for a week!

Our credit card company offers us cover, but just on an excess to a max. of NZ$3k.

So through my ramblings, am trying to determine if we should look at another company that includes insurances or are they all the same in California?

Any opinions/clarification greatfully appreciated.

Cheers, Jo

Los Angeles
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
Level Contributor
15,164 posts
58 reviews
1. Re: Rental Car Insurance for Non USA Citizens

There are web sites that specialize in booking car hires/rentals in the US for foreigners. You end up getting your car from a major US rental company like Avis, but the rates are pre-negotiated and include all the insurance that you'll need. Two of these sites are www.traveljigsaw.com.au and www.carhire3000.co.uk

If you don't use one of these web sites and try to book directly through a US company, usually you'll show up thinking the car will cost some rate, but at the counter they'll make you buy their insurance which will make the actual rate much highetr and is always a rip off. But a few U.S,. rental company web sites, like www.hertz.com, give you the opportunity to identify yourself as a foreigner and then they'll give you a quote with all the insurance that you'll need included in the quote. But I don't think these will be better rates than Travel Jigsaw or Carhire 3000.

Pacifica, California
Destination Expert
for Pacifica
Level Contributor
7,605 posts
4 reviews
2. Re: Rental Car Insurance for Non USA Citizens

What MachThree said. Don't book directly with a US car rental company.

Mexico City, Mexico
Level Contributor
566 posts
58 reviews
3. Re: Rental Car Insurance for Non USA Citizens

Thanks for posting this. I booked with Hotwire (Hertz), and I was debating which insurances to take. I always decline LDW since my CC covers it, but I need to purchase others... I'll call Hertz, good idea!

4. Re: Rental Car Insurance for Non USA Citizens

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Removed on: 2:05 am, July 12, 2012
Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Melbourne, Victoria, Road Trips
Level Contributor
4,418 posts
12 reviews
5. Re: Rental Car Insurance for Non USA Citizens

Hmmm, first time poster bring up an old thread to mention an online insurance company? Reported as advertising.

Level Contributor
412 posts
53 reviews
6. Re: Rental Car Insurance for Non USA Citizens

We have booked through traveljigsaw and they had much lower rates that included all insurance than any other car company I checked out.


Hong Kong
Level Contributor
1 post
9 reviews
7. Re: Rental Car Insurance for Non USA Citizens

When booking at the traveljigsaw and www.carhire3000.co.uk, need to check whether it includes 3rd Party Liability Insurance. I was trying to book for Portland, OR. The site only states that it includes Damage Waiver and Theft Insurance. So, I called their hotline and the customer service said that if it's not stated on the site then it's not covered. So, I ended up booking through Enterprise.

Level Contributor
18 posts
48 reviews
8. Re: Rental Car Insurance for Non USA Citizens

Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to get my advice in detail out there to everyone who was confused. Hopefully it makes someone else’s life easier.

I am from the U.S., but live in Australia now. I've been struggling figuring out the car rental insurance thing myself for when I go back and visit. I had always been covered by my own auto policy or US credit card policies. But now, its not the case. The number of headaches I've had from reading polices and explanations.

I finally booked via a US travel site, that also caters to overseas customers.

I used www.easyclicktravel.com

A word of warning (I know this is complicated). When booking, use the booking box in the upper left hand corner with the with bullet point that says Cars under the words "Start Your Holiday Here". It will ask you your country of residence. Do NOT click on the tab at the top of the page that says CARS. Although its still their website, it actually books through a company called CarTrawler. If you Google them, the number of reviews about them will explain it all.

When the results come up:

1) Click on "More information" on the car you are interested in.

2) There will be a list of optional rentals for many agencies. Some Inclusive, some Exclusive of coverage’s. In the example below, I chose their "Top 4" package. They have 7 different packages that cover various levels of insurance and options.

3) I chose a Fox Rent A Car option. I've rented through Fox directly many times. They have mixed reviews, but most of the negative reviews are from people who don’t read the terms and conditions, or try to rent with debit cards. I've always had clean, low mileage cars. I'm an experienced traveller though, and am not easily convinced on up-sells, so I'm not pushed around easily....

Here is how the prices worked out and compared... (All prices are USD).

A 3 day rental of an Intermediate SUV (Jeep Liberty) from SFO (San Francisco International):

- Direct from Fox's website (No insurance, unlimited mileage only)- $388.26 ($129.42/day). Sufficient insurance would have cost an extra $20.00 per day, and not even cover you very well. A GPS would be 10.00 a day, etc....

- Easyclicktravel.com - same car, same rental period $183.87 TOTAL FOR ALL 3 days including: 2nd driver, GPS Navigation System, LDW, Renters Liability Protection, Supplemental Liability Insurance, All Taxes and Fees, and an Underage Driver fee (which we didnt need, but was included). That's $61.29 per day all-inclusive.

I don't work for a car rental, a web site, or a travel agency. This is just my experience, and the result of hours and hours of website surfing, reading, and eye strain.

That being said, I'm always on the hunt for a better deal, so my next step is to look at some of the suggested rental sites others have posted. A dollar saved is a dollar I can justify spending on a nice degustation dinner somewhere.

I hope this helps. Happy Travels.

Cooroy, Australia
Level Contributor
1,011 posts
81 reviews
9. Re: Rental Car Insurance for Non USA Citizens

I have booked with traveljigsaw too, it includes insurance :)

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
Level Contributor
40,736 posts
150 reviews
10. Re: Rental Car Insurance for Non USA Citizens

This is an old Post. Is there a reason to post here? Just an informal survey but I can count the number of favorable reviews of Fox on one hand. To say the reviews are mixed sounds fishy to me. Why endorse one website when there are others such as traveljigsaw and the acutal websites from the different companies. Have an issue with Fox in Death valley or Yosemite or on the Big Sur drive and we can then see - who will be yelling the loudest. You GET what you pay for