The Truth About Rental Cars and Insurance

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The next time you're standing at the car rental counter, do you know what you'll say when asked if you want insurance? While it's certainly better to walk away with too much protection than not enough, you don't want to waste money on insurance you don"t need.

With rental insurance, what you need depends almost entirely on what you already have. Whether you carry insurance for a personal vehicle or you don't own a car, our experts weigh in on what's best for you:

If you already have personal car insurance:

If you already have car insurance, you more than likely do not need to buy additional insurance. The coverage on your policy is going to protect you, says Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst for

"If you have comprehensive and collision coverage, which pays for the theft of or damage to your car regardless of who is at fault, it may pay for damage to the rental car as well," she says. "Likewise, your auto liability coverage could pay for damage or injuries that you cause to others in an accident in your rental car."

For example, customers of Progressive car insurance generally have the same coverage on a rental car that they have on their own car, says Mike Sablack, the company's managing attorney for legal operations.

"If you have comprehensive, collision and liability coverage on your personal insurance policy, there's a good chance that you'll be covered in a rental car," Sablack says. "It's important to note that laws differ from state to state, and to be safe, consumers should ask their agent or call Progressive directly to find out."

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