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Auto Insurance Coverage on a Road Trip

What does my auto insurance cover on a road trip?


It's finally time to get  out of Dodge and on the open road! Before you pack up the car and go, though, it is important to know what your general auto insurance will - and will not - cover for your road trip. Luckily, we've got you covered. Double check your policy and ask yourself these questions:

Does my car insurance follow me out of state?
Most general auto insurance policies will indeed cover you when you're driving in another state, according to If you have particularly cheap auto insurance, you may find that your policy is below the minimum liability coverage provided in another state, but most car insurance companies have a broadening clause in their policy that increases your coverage to the minimum of the state you are traveling through if your policy is lower. It is a good idea to call your car insurance company and ask if you are wondering about your policy's broadening clause.

Are other drivers covered on my insurance?
If you are traveling to visit friends or relatives, there's a decent chance that at some point, one of them will want to borrow your car. Most general auto insurance policies will cover you in case one of them gets into an accident, according to Bankrate, because they are driving your car infrequently enough that they don't add significantly to your risk as a driver. There are limits, however. If, for example, the accident is caused by a driver that you live with who isn't on your policy, you likely won't be covered. If this is the case, that driver might want to look into a non-owner car insurance policy.

Further, if the amount of damage caused to another car or driver exceeds your coverage, the driver's insurance may be considered as secondary or supplemental car insurance. If that driver isn't insured at all, it is possible that you could be held personally liable for the damage.

Does my policy cover a rental car?
If you are renting a car for your road trip, it is possible that your general auto insurance already covers you, in which case you probably wouldn't need additional coverage, according to Bankrate. There are, however, a couple of things to ask your insurance provider before you say "no" to the rental insurance. First, find out if your car insurance extends to a rental car. Some policies cover it, some don't. Next, ask about "waiver of deductible" coverage. Waiver of deductible means that you don't need to pay the deductible on a claim that was not your fault, but even if you have this coverage, it may not extend to your rental car. Finally, ask about "loss of use" coverage. If you get into an accident, even if your general auto insurance provider covers you for the damage and liability, it is possible that the rental company will charge you for the time that the car is out of commission. You'll want to make sure that you are covered for this time as well, as the charges could be substantial.

Do I get roadside assistance with my policy?
There are few things more frustrating than dealing with a breakdown on a road trip. You're miles from home and you don't know who to call. If you get roadside assistance with your policy, you will be able to call your insurer and they will send someone to help you. Not all policies include roadside assistance, and your assistance program may not follow you outside of your home state. If yours doesn't, you may be able to extend its reach for just a little bit more per year. Before you leave on a road trip, consider whether the extra coverage is worth it to you.

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