Standing at the car rental counter after a long flight with tired and hungry kids is not the best time to wonder whether you need additional insurance to cover a rental car.
In most instances, your own car insurance provides coverage, subject to your policy's terms and conditions. Most policies say you have coverage for any temporary use of a passenger vehicle.
All policies offer liability coverage for injuries to another party, but if you've dropped comprehensive and collision on an older car, you need to buy additional coverage for the rental. Also, your car insurance usually does not cover a truck from U-Haul or a similar rental.
Be honest about who will drive. Your 16-year-old may have a license, but rental car companies charge significantly more for young drivers and many don't allow them at all. If that driver is not listed when you rent the car, your insurance may not cover an accident.
Many credit cards automatically provide coverage for a rental if you use that card to rent the car. Read the fine print to learn whether that policy includes the contents of the vehicle and which drivers are covered.
Make sure your insurance policy also includes adequate uninsured and underinsured coverage in case the other driver in an accident is not properly insured. That advice applies to your personal car as well.
Also, check with your agent about special needs associated with driving in another country, including Canada, which requires you to carry an insurance card. Any time you have a new situation, it is a good idea to review your policy to make sure you are adequately covered.