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If you want complete protection while utilizing someone else's nearly brand new auto, you should purchase the DAMAGE waiver from the car rental co. If you want partial coverage, rely on your personal auto insurance, realizing it has gaps intentionally created by the car rental co so they can sell you their holistic product. haha!
Summary first: and then details if interested as this is simple if nothing occurs, but potentially complicated and expensive if you damage the rental auto.
If you are voluntarily renting an auto on vacation, then the short answer is that your personal policy extends to a rental private passenger auto, station wagon, or pickup truck, with similar limits of Liability and Physical Damage ( included on your policy) as your primary auto, subject to caveats mentioned below. However, the auto must be operated in the contiguous US, its territories, Puerto Rico, and Canada.
In general, the personal auto policy contains gaps intentionally created by the rental car companies to protect their financial interest if you damage their auto. NC Auto insurance is not a catch-all as some consumers believe but it does protect against a great deal of life's common occurrences such as a cracked windshield, or damage to the bumper from a parking lot collision, etc.
Here is the DETAILED explanation if you enjoy specifics.
A simple scenario, but contains many caveats. Liability and Physical damage (if elected on your current policy) coverage may transfer but has a few gaps, specifically:
From my experience, many insurance companies attempt to seek a waiver/ dismissal of exposures previously mentioned as part of your claim defense should an incident occur and the claim is covered by your insurer.
Since you have full coverage, including physical damage, the deductibles of $500 Comprehensive / $1000 Collision, as well as the Bodily Injury LIABILITY policy limits, automatically transfer to a temporary, rented, private passenger auto less than 14,000 GVWR, (such as minivan's or SUV's). The auto must be operated in the contiguous US, its territories, Puerto Rico, and Canada.
Essentially the policy components transfer in kind, thus if you have Liability and physical damage on your policy, as illustrated above, the coverages are extended up to 21 days. However, ONLY physical damage (comprehensive and collision) is EXCLUDED for such larger vehicles as with many Uhuals, some 16 passenger Church vans, and trucks with GVWR greater than 14,000 pounds, as of January 2016.