Where to buy car insurance away from the rental counter

Tara Baukus MelloDear Driving for Dollars,
I recently had an accident and my car is about to go into the shop for repairs. The car is in my mother's name, and technically I'm not covered under her insurance.

She was just going to put the rental car in her name and let me drive it, but I'm scared to do this so I want to find insurance to cover me while I'm driving the rental car.

Are there any other options besides just buying the insurance from the car rental agency? What they are offering is very expensive.
-- Rachel

Car rental employee handing packet to customer | Brian Vander Brug/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

Dear Rachel,
If you don't have your own auto insurance, or prefer to have a policy that covers you outside of your regular car insurance policy, there are options for buying stand-alone car rental insurance other than directly from a car rental agency.

I am familiar with several companies -- Allianz, Assurant (via and Chubb (via that provide primary coverage of car rental insurance for damage and loss due to theft.

Cheaper than policies offered by rental car agencies

Their policies tend to be more affordable than what is offered by the rental car agencies and are usually sold based on the number of days you need it. However, be warned that these policies typically only cover the car itself, not any injuries to the occupants or the occupants of other cars that may be involved in an accident.

If you are an American Express cardholder, you may find the most cost-effective deal through Amex. The company offers a policy for 30 to 42 consecutive days, depending on the state, for a flat fee of $15.95 to $24.95, depending on your state and the coverages you choose. The policy also can cover medical expenses, if you want.

If someone needs medical attention

All that said, I do want to caution you that it is important for you to be covered by auto insurance, and it sounds from your question like you have no car insurance coverage at all.

If you are involved in a car crash where you or someone else requires medical attention, you may find yourself liable for those costs, which could potentially cause a lot of heartache financially and emotionally, not to mention the costs of the damage to the car itself. In most states, having auto insurance, whether on your own policy or added to someone else's, is required by law and, if you don't have it, you are breaking the law.

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