Car Rental Tip Sheet | New York State Attorney General (2023)

Dear New Yorker:

Renting a car is often a necessity, even for people who own one. There are many reasons why consumers wind up at the rental counter: vacations, business trips, a car to take the kids to camp, a replacement vehicle while our own cars are in the shop. In all, there are millions of car rentals each year in New York.

Yet despite the fact that renting a car is a common experience, the transaction itself can be very confusing. Given the long, complicated contract and the recent changes in the state law regulating car rentals, that is not surprising.

For example, there are a host of add-on charges presented to consumers at the counter, each with a cryptic name, often referred to simply by initials – SLP, CDW, PAI, PEC, and on and on. What are these extra charges? Do I have to pay them to rent the vehicle? Should I take any of them? Will my own car or homeowner’s insurance policies provide all the insurance coverage I need? How about my credit card? Do the car rental companies have to provide minimum levels of insurance coverage even if I do not buy extra insurance from them? Is that minimum coverage enough? Can the car rental company charge me extra to have other people besides the renter drive the car? Do I have to have a credit card to rent a vehicle? Can they refuse to rent a car to me if I am under 25 years old? Can they charge me more just because I am under 25?

This tip sheet will help you to answer these questions. Once you know the answers, you may be able experience significant savings on your next car rental, just by avoiding unnecessary optional charges.

You should also be aware that New York State law prohibits car rental companies from refusing to rent to consumers who are 18 or older, who do not have a credit card, or because of race, color, ethnic origin, religion, disability or sex. If a car rental company is violating New York’s laws governing this business, I want to know about it so that our office can stop it.

To learn more, or if you have a complaint against a company, call or write:

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New York State Attorney General
The Capitol
Albany, New York 12224

Insurance Sold At The Counter Is Optional

Selling consumers additional insurance coverage, often unnecessarily duplicating coverage they already have, is the primary way car rental companies increase the cost of the rental. There are four different types of insurance and insurance-like coverages the companies try to sell to consumers at the rental counters -- Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), Supplemental Liability Protection (SLP), Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), and Personal Effects Coverage (PEC). Car rental companies are prohibited from refusing to rent you a car unless you purchase the additional insurance. The coverages are all optional. Combined, they can add up to $30 per day to the rental bill. Each coverage protects against a different risk, but your car, home, life, or health insurance policies, or your credit card, may provide all or part of the protection you need, particularly when combined with the minimum insurance the car rental company is required by law to provide as a part of every rental.

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)

Also known as Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) or Physical Damage Waiver (PDW). For a fee of $9 per day for cars costing less than $30,000 or $12 per day for more expensive cars, the car rental company will waive all or part of its cost if the rental car is damaged or stolen, provided the car is not driven by an unauthorized driver, driven recklessly, or the coverage is voided for several other reasons. While this coverage may make sense for some renters, you should be aware that if you have a New York automobile insurance policy you already have this coverage for a rental vehicle, unless you declined to accept it when you purchased that policy. In addition, most premium credit cards, such as gold or platinum cards, provide this coverage, with certain limitations, as a benefit of using the credit card to rent cars. Some cards do not provide this benefit for luxury cars, SUVs and vans. Before you pay a lot for CDW, it is worth a call to your insurance agent and credit card company to find out if you need to purchase it.

Supplemental Liability Protection (SLP)

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Also known as Liability Insurance Supplement (LIS) or Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI). For a fee of approximately $10.95 per day, the car rental company will supplement the liability insurance that the company must, by New York law, provide. That required coverage consists of the same minimum levels of liability insurance which all vehicle owners in New York must have: $25,000 of bodily injury liability protection if one person is injured in an accident, $50,000 if there is more than one person injured; $50,000 if there is one death from an accident, $100,000 if there is more than one death; plus $10,000 of property damage liability protection. For many renters who have modest amounts of assets, the minimum coverage the car rental companies must provide as a part of the rental may be enough to protect them from lawsuits by victims of accidents involving the rental car. If you have your own automobile insurance policy with coverage above the minimum amounts, your policy should cover you when you operate a rental vehicle, so SLP is likely not needed. However, SLP usually provides $1 million of liability protection, considerably more coverage than most consumers have under their own automobile insurance policies. So if there is a reason that you want more coverage for the rental than you ordinarily carry for your own car, or you do not have an automobile insurance policy, buying the SLP may make sense.

Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)

This coverage, usually costing about $3 per day, provides medical, ambulance and death benefits for the renter and passengers of the rental car in the event of an accident. The medical coverage is usually around $3,500 and the ambulance benefit $150. Typically the death benefit is $175,000 for the renter and $17,500 for the passenger. Many of these benefits duplicate coverage you may already have under your health, life or automobile insurance policies, or duplicate coverage that the car rental company must provide under New York’s No Fault law.

Personal Effects Coverage (PEC)

This coverage, which typically costs $2 per day, usually provides $500 per person of insurance coverage, with a $1,500 maximum, for theft of personal effects of the renter and his or her family. Again, this coverage may duplicate coverage the renter already has through a homeowner’s or tenant’s policy, although the coverage usually pays in addition to that other insurance. That means that your own policy will typically pay first, and when its policy limits have been reached, the PEC will then pay.

Additional Drivers Are Allowed

Car rental companies must allow your spouse to drive the vehicle if he or she is licensed and at least eighteen years of age. Other licensed drivers can be authorized to drive the rental vehicle if expressly listed on the rental agreement. Car rental companies are permitted to charge $3 per additional driver per day.

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Age Discrimination Prohibited

Car rental companies in New York are required to rent to licensed drivers who are 18 years of age or older. However, they may charge a surcharge for drivers who are under 25. The amount of the surcharge can vary substantially from one car rental company to another, so shop around.

Credit Cards Are Not Required

You do not have to have a credit card to rent a car in New York. However, if you do not have a credit card, the car rental company may require you to go through a screening process that can take up to several days. The company may require a cash security deposit as well. If you do not have a credit card, check with the car rental company well ahead of when you want to rent to find out what its procedures are for non-credit card rentals.

Discrimination Prohibited

Car rental companies are prohibited in New York from refusing to rent a car to any person otherwise qualified because of race, color, ethnic origin, religion, disability, or sex.

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What happens if you crash a rental car without insurance? ›

If you cause damage to your rental car, you might have to pay the rental car company a “loss of use” fee for each day it's out of commission. A CDW will likely cover this fee. Some collision and comprehensive policies cover loss of use fees too, while others don't. Check your policy before you decline a CDW.

Can I rent a car for someone else? ›

CAN I PAY FOR THE RENTAL OF A CAR FOR ANOTHER INDIVIDUAL? The renter of the vehicle must be present to sign the rental agreement and provide their credit card at the time of pick up. The renter cannot provide a credit or debit card belonging to someone else for their use.

What is supplemental liability insurance car rental? ›

Supplemental Liability Protection (SLP) is offered at the time of rental for an additional daily charge. If accepted, SLP provides the renter and authorized drivers with up to $300,000 combined single limit for third party liability claims.

Which rental car company does not charge for under 25? ›

Under 25 fees are waived for members between the ages of 18 and 24 for Hertz and between 21 and 24 for Avis, Budget and Enterprise.

Who pays for damage to a rental car? ›

When a driver signs the rental agreement at pick-up, they're agreeing to pay repair costs for any damage done during the rental. The rental company uses two key documents to show a car's been damaged. 2) Check-in form – shows the car's condition when it's dropped off at the end of a rental.

What happens if a rock hits your rental car? ›

What Happens When a Rock Hits My Rental Car? As expected, your collision damage waiver will cover for such damage. However, if you don't have one, they'll charge you for it. Regardless of what most people think, rental companies aren't interested if it's your fault or not.

What is it called when you rent your car to someone? ›

Car sharing is where you simply rent your car out to people and they do their own driving. Ridesharing takes a lot of your personal time.

Why can't you rent a car for someone else? ›

That is because you technically can't rent a car in your name if someone else is going to pick it up and drive it around. Car rental companies ask that whoever makes the reservation is the person to pick it up because that is the person whose name will be in the rental agreement, which is a legal document.

What app lets you rent someone else's car? ›

Turo is the world's largest peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace where you can book any car you want, wherever you want it, from a vibrant community of local hosts across the US, Canada, and the UK.

What are two types of car rental insurance? ›

Types of rental car insurance coverage
  • Supplemental liability protection. Supplemental liability protection is offered at the time of rental and provides third-party liability protection for both the renter and the vehicle owner. ...
  • Collision damage waiver. ...
  • Personal effects coverage.
8 Oct 2021

What is difference between CDW and LDW? ›

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) provides cover if there is damage to a rental car through an accident. LDW on the other hand, is a combination of CDW and Theft Protection, which means that you will be covered for car replacement if your rental car is stolen during the period of your rental.

What is rap on rental car? ›

Rapid City Regional Airport Car Rental (RAP) Rent a Car Rent a Car at RAP.

Do rental cars accept debit cards? ›

The short answer is yes, you can rent a car with a debit card. Major rental car companies—including Avis, Budget, Enterprise and Hertz—all permit rentals on a debit card.

How can I avoid one way rental fees in USA? ›

Book During Off-season. One simple solution to avoid one-way rental fees in the USA is to book during the off-season. When this occurs will differ by location and is typically tied to the weather and major travel holidays.

What is Turo and how does it work? ›

Vehicle owners list their cars with Turo, a company based in San Francisco, and renters can search the available vehicles in their area and rent them for daily prices set by the owners. Rentals can be booked online or through a phone app that allows direct communication between owners and renters.

What happens if you damage the inside of a rental car? ›

Whether or not you were at fault, you still must pay your deductible directly to the rental company, as the company is entitled to have the car fixed as soon as possible. Your insurance company is then in charge of going after the responsible party, which may result in you getting reimbursed.

How do you hide scratches on a rental car? ›

You can either get colored decals, trims or stickers layered over the scratches to hide them effectively. You can even get a latticework done on your car in a way that the lines make the scratches unnoticeable.

Should I tell rental car about damage? ›

Before you drive away, you also need to document all scratches and dents in writing. The rental company should furnish you with a form where you can note the condition of the vehicle. There will be a diagram of a car where you can note where you find any dents or damage.

What to do if a rock hits the windshield of a rental? ›

Contact the rental company and inform them of the damage.

If you signed a CDW, you should be all set. If you didn't, the rental company may offer to contact your insurance company and file a claim on your behalf. If not, you'll need to contact your insurance company and file a claim.

What happens if you pop a tire on a rental car? ›

In this case, the rental car company is responsible for covering the labor cost for replacing the flat or damaged tire or getting the car towed to the nearest service facility.

What happens if you pop a tire on a rental car enterprise? ›

If you get a flat tire, call roadside assistance at 1-800-307-6666. The cost of changing a tire is covered if you purchased Roadside Assistance Protection. 1. Inform Enterprise staff of the damage caused to the vehicle when you return the car.

What do you call someone who lives in a car? ›

A vehicle dweller, or car dweller, is a person who lives out of a car or other vehicle. Vehicle dwellers are considered to be homeless persons in most parts of the United States. Although technically, they are not homeless, since the very definition of a home is a permanent place where one lives.

Can I make money renting my car? ›

How much you earn depends on your location, the vehicle you own and the demand for rental cars. Here are a few different Turo estimates that vary by vehicle and price range: A vehicle valued at $12,512 with loan payments at $2,519 per year could earn you $7,009 annually.

Is a car rental business profitable? ›

Starting a car rental business can be very profitable. With proper planning, execution and hard work, you can enjoy great success. Below you will learn the keys to launching a successful car rental business. Importantly, a critical step in starting a car rental business is to complete your business plan.

Can one person rent a car and another drop it off? ›

Yes, but whether they are legally able to drive the rental car is another question. If they are on the rental contract then no problem. I would not let anyone not on the rental contract drive my rental car. At drop off Enterprise will not care if the driver is on the rental contract or not.

What is the easiest company to rent a car from? ›

SIXT is one of the most renowned car rentals across the world and most definitely also one the easiest and fastest car rental companies in the US. If you are looking to make an entry in style, SIXT is your company because they provide the most premium cars at affordable rates.

Is Turo legal in New York? ›

New York was the only state in the country where such a service was unavailable, so the signing of the bill means Turo is now in all 50 states.

Who is Turo competitor? ›

Turo's top competitors include BlaBlaCar, Flexcar, and Getaround. BlaBlaCar is an online marketplace that connects drivers with empty seats with people looking for a ride or with travelers and commuters going the same direction.

What is the best car rental insurance? ›

Best Rental Car Insurance
  • Rental Cover Insurance. ...
  • Expedia Car Rental Insurance. ...
  • Enterprise Car Rental Insurance. ...
  • Orbitz Car Rental Insurance. ...
  • Dollar offers 100% coverage of collision damage, theft, and vandalism. ...
  • Sure offers rental car coverage of up to $100,000 worth of damage. ...
  • Coverage: collision damage, theft, or vandalism.
29 Sept 2022

Does LDW cover scratches? ›

Yes, a collision damage waiver covers scratches on a rental car. A collision damage waiver is an optional rental car insurance add-on that covers most damage to a rental car, from damage caused by a crash to cosmetic damage from a scratch.

Does CDW cover scratches? ›

The CDW covers the cost of making necessary repairs. For example, it pays to fix a dent or scratch or even if the vehicle is totaled.

Does LDW cover third party? ›

LDW covers damage to the rental vehicle as well as the expenses that occur when the rental vehicle is stolen. LDW does not cover expenses that are related to third-party liability or injury that can occur during traffic collisions.

Do rental cars track you? ›

Rental car companies can track your speed. To track speed, they employ Global Positioning Systems (GPS), cameras, and wireless devices. They install these tracking devices in their cars. Rental car companies must inform consumers of being tracked.

Are rental cars being tracked? ›

Information Rental Car Companies are Collecting

GPS: Used to report the location of vehicles with mechanical problems, recalls, accidents, and also to help when vehicles are stolen or suspected as stolen. Enterprise once lost a car for more than two years without noticing, then used OnStar to quickly locate the car.

Do rental cars have recording devices? ›

Many rental cars have dash cams installed for the safety of the driver, and some of the information recorded could also help the agency's case in the event of litigation. We also found that some rental cars do not have dash cams, and it's not a strict requirement.

Is it better to use credit or debit for a rental car? ›

However, debit cards aren't always accepted for car rentals, and even when they are, you're much better off opting for a credit card anyway. Credit cards offer better consumer protections, such as fraud liability, and some cards cover rental car insurance.

How much does car rental hold on debit card? ›

If your rental car company lets you pick up your car using your debit card, the rental agent will place a hold on funds in the bank account tied to the debit card for an amount equal to the estimated rental charges plus a deposit, typically $200 to $300.

How much does Avis hold on credit card? ›

Generally, at the time of rental, we'll require a credit card hold of total estimated charges or $200 USD, whichever is greater. If you have prepaid with a debit card, the hold is only $100 USD. A prepaid charge card is not accepted for this required hold.

How do you get around the three times rent rule? ›

If you don't make 3 times the rent, you can still try to get the apartment by putting up a larger security deposit, finding a guarantor, or demonstrating your fiscal responsibility by showing your potential landlord bank statements that show you being responsible with your money and discretionary spending.

Is it cheaper to rent a car one way or round trip? ›

Renting one way is typically more expensive than renting round trip. Your price is broken out into different components: the daily rate (a.k.a. time and mileage), taxes and fees, and a one-way drop charge. The drop fee can vary from one rental-car company to another, and even within a single rental car company.

Why one way car rental is expensive? ›

But rent the car in one place and return it somewhere else — a one-way rental — and you'll pay hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars more. Why? Car rental companies charge hefty dropoff fees to give drivers an incentive to return the vehicle to their original location.

How much do Turo hosts make a month? ›

The amount you earn will depend on the car you list, how often it's rented, and where you live. However, most hosts make an extra $500 to $1000 per month.

Can you make a living off of Turo? ›

Can you make good money on Turo? Yes, you can make extra money on Turo. Since it is passive income, you don't need to put in much effort to get paid. However, what you earn depends on the type of car you are renting out and the insurance plan you choose.

What happens if you scratch a Turo car? ›

Turo will investigate to verify that the damage occurred during the trip and that it is eligible damage. If it is, you're responsible for the damage and related costs, regardless of whether you caused the damage.

Does damaging rental car affect insurance? ›

However, any accident you have, whether in your car, a rented car or one you are borrowing, could lead to an impact on your car insurance premium. This is regardless of whether or not you have taken out a car hire excess insurance policy.

What happens if you get a dent in a rental car? ›

Minor damage to a rental car, such as scratches, dents, or a chipped windshield are covered by the Damage Waiver. The Damage Waiver is an optional protection product you can purchase with your car rental.

What happens if you hit something in a rental car? ›

Unless you breached your rental contract, rental insurance should cover the accident damages. However, a lack of coverage in one area might leave you responsible. If you don't have rental car insurance, your auto insurance should cover the costs.

Are scratches covered by rental car insurance? ›

Yes, a collision damage waiver covers scratches on a rental car. A collision damage waiver is an optional rental car insurance add-on that covers most damage to a rental car, from damage caused by a crash to cosmetic damage from a scratch.

What is considered damage enterprise? ›

Any dent, scratch or scrape larger than the largest circle. Holes and tears, regardless of size. A dent, scratch or scrape smaller than the largest circle is wear and tear.

How big can a dent be on a rental car? ›

Dents in Rental Car

Most rental companies consider dent in rental car if it is larger than 5 cm. All dents larger than 5cms or multiple dents on one panel, that weren't marked on the existing vehicle condition report, which you should be given when you pick up the car, are considered damage that has to be compensated.

Should I go through insurance for a dent? ›

If the repair costs are less than your deductible, it makes sense to pay for the damage out of pocket. On the other hand, if the damage is more extensive and costly, it may make sense to file a claim for any dents or scratches that need to be repaired.

How can I hide my rental car scratches? ›

You can either get colored decals, trims or stickers layered over the scratches to hide them effectively. You can even get a latticework done on your car in a way that the lines make the scratches unnoticeable.

What happens if a rock hits the windshield of a rental car Hertz? ›

Hertz's Low-Cost Damage Claim Policy

Windshield chips can set you back $15, while replacing a broken windshield be in the ballpark of $150-$200. Hubcap replacement can cost around $20. Small dents in the bumper without paint damage cost about $30, while repairing scratches can be more in the $75 neighborhood.


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