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Do travel insurance plans cover rental cars?

It’s almost Easter bank holiday weekend, meaning many Singaporeans will be heading overseas for a long weekend getaway. Before you jet off to your holiday destination, however, it’s important to consider how you’ll safeguard your health and safety should something unexpected happen. Travel insurance plans, as we’ve addressed in our recent article on the topic, will instantly come to mind, but do they cover driving rental cars in a foreign country? To help, we’ve prepared some information from our insurance experts to uncover the link between travel insurance and rental cars.

First things first: What is travel insurance?

Designed primarily for emergencies, travel insurance covers the costs and losses associated with mishaps you might incur when travelling. While benefits, limits, and exclusions will vary from plan to plan, you can generally expect most travel policies to cover:

  • Lost baggage/baggage delay
  • Delayed/interrupted/cancelled flights
  • Emergency medical treatment
  • Sickness/injury overseas
  • Medical evacuation
  • Medical repatriation
  • Repatriation of mortal remains

One key thing to be aware of here is that virtually all travel insurance plans will require you to pay for medical treatment first, and then submit a claim to the insurer for reimbursement. Please also note that they’re mainly designed to see you well enough to fly home, so travel plan coverage limits tend to be lower than standard health insurance plans.

Know the risks of driving overseas before you go

Driving can be tricky enough at home, let alone overseas. While the chances of something going wrong when driving overseas are pretty slim, it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers, especially if you’re travelling to a country with underdeveloped roads; the WHO estimates that 90 percent of road traffic deaths occur in low- and middle- income countries. This sobering statistic, coupled with the fact that driving in a foreign country can be very different from what you’re used to (e.g. driving on the other side of the road), all go to show the importance of ensuring you have the best protection overseas.

Travel insurance plans and car accidents

Unless it’s listed under the policy exclusions section, most travel insurance plans will cover personal bodily injuries incurred as a result of getting into a car accident when driving in a foreign country. As we’ve mentioned above, however, travel insurance coverage limits can be low. If you’ve chosen the cheapest, most “basic” travel plan level, chances are it might not be sufficient to fully cover more serious injuries.

Do travel plans cover injury or property damage to third parties (e.g. damaged vehicles, injured pedestrians/passengers), though? If you’ve studied a travel insurance policy before, you’ll likely notice that many plans feature “third party liability” cover, meaning it addresses the expenses associated with injury to a third person, or damage to that person’s property.

Liability to third parties that involve rental car accidents overseas, however, is a bit of a grey area where travel insurance is concerned, as some insurers will exclude this scenario. As such, be sure to ascertain the exact benefits you are entitled to before you head overseas.

Car hire excess protection

When collecting your rental car, you’ll usually be offered an array of insurance products (e.g. theft insurance, personal accident insurance) that provide extra peace of mind when driving a hire car overseas. What most people may not realize is that, when a mishap involving a rental car occurs, the policyholder will often need to pay an excess, which is the amount that needs to be paid towards any claims. This can be thousands of dollars, depending on who you’re renting the car from. Thankfully, some travel insurance plans offer “car hire insurance excess” protection, which essentially waives this excess amount.

Common types of rental car insurance you might need

When renting a car in a foreign country, we highly advise going with a reputed rental company, as we’ve witnessed cases in the past where lesser-known rental car companies have offered insurance policies that do not fully meet the country’s legal requirements. Here’s a list of the most common rental car insurance plans offered by the majority of reputed rental companies

  • Third party liability coverage: This covers the policyholder against third party bodily injury, death, and property damage.
  • Collision Damage Waiver: This ensures that the rental company will not hold you accountable for losses should the rental car get damaged. However, exclusions (e.g. local traffic law violations) will in most cases apply.
  • Personal accident insurance: This covers your medical bills in the event of an accident involving the rental car.
  • Theft insurance: This ensures that the rental company will not go after you for losses incurred should your hire car get stolen.



Seeking insurance advice? Talk to Kwiksure Singapore today

As a leading, licensed insurance broker in Singapore, we’re not beholden to any particular insurer. Instead, we take the time to understand our clients so that they are matched with the most optimal travel, home, or car insurance for their needs, at the best possible price. For impartial advice, or a free quote and plan comparison, contact our expert team at Kwiksure Singapore today!