California seems to be one of few states (other significant one being Texas), where rental companies are not obliged to provide option of mandatory liability insurance and do not include the basic coverage in the cost of rental. They seem to provide that as an extra, charging ridiculous amounts if you take it directly from them ($15-$20 per day).

So what are are the alternatives in California, if one is looking to either rent a car for longer period or frequently rent cars?

Update: Regarding existing insurance, I'm a recent expat and I do not yet own car in US, thus I don't have any US car insurance.

  • Do you have an existing car insurance policy for some other car? That might cover a rental car if your usual car isn't appropriate for the purpose (ie. carrying more people than the capacity of your usual car). Oct 22, 2014 at 0:55
  • I've never seen insurance included in the rental price in the US, and I've rented cars in several states--but never TX or CA.
    – Flimzy
    Oct 22, 2014 at 1:03
  • @Flimzy: note, that I'm talking about basic, obligatory liability insurance, not optional additional/supplement liability insurance. In other words it's kind of insurance, without which you cannot legally drive a car.
    – vartec
    Oct 22, 2014 at 1:13
  • 1
    @Flimzy: best-car-rental-tips.com/liability-insurance.html claims that CA and TX are the only exceptions
    – vartec
    Oct 22, 2014 at 2:08
  • 1
    You may be interested in non-owner insurance.
    – Flimzy
    Oct 22, 2014 at 2:14

2 Answers 2


According to California DMV, The following minimum liability insurance is required for private passenger vehicles:

$15,000 for injury/death to one person. (Also known as bodily injury liability) $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person. $5,000 for damage to property. (Also known as product damage liability) Third party liability insurance compensates a person other than the driver for personal injury or property damage. Comprehensive or collision insurance does not meet vehicle financial responsibility requirements. It covers the situation where you hit and break someone's leg (bodily injury) or run over someone's fence (property damage).

The only required insurance coverage when renting cars in California is third party liability. Of course, many people choose to get insurance over and above what is legally required. Drivers must also carry proof of liability insurance (your own insurance card or the car rental contract if liability coverage was purchased) as that is required by law. for more information visit our website: Tyres Warrington


From the Geico website:

If you don't own a car but still need affordable car rental insurance, ask your GEICO representative about a non-owner liability policy and/or personal effects coverage available on your homeowners policy or renters insurance policy. Non-owner liability coverage may provide liability protection when you rent or borrow a car while personal effects coverage can make sure your possessions are covered away from home.

My guess is there is nothing special about Geico and many of the major US insurance companies will probably provide similar services.

  • I've contacted GEICO, they do not offer that. At least not in California. Their response "Unfortunately, GEICO does not offer 3rd party liability for rental vehicles. I wish I could refer you to a company that offers this type of coverage but I am not aware of any."
    – vartec
    Oct 22, 2014 at 18:36
  • @vartec Hmmm, sometimes the web lies.
    – StrongBad
    Oct 22, 2014 at 20:31
  • Well maybe not exactly "lies", I think it was actually true at one point, not the case anymore.
    – vartec
    Oct 22, 2014 at 21:35

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