For some, renting a car is a common occurrence often required for work, while for others renting a car signals the arrival in a new town or heading off for a road trip with family or friends.
Whatever the reason you may rent a vehicle, it’s important to know some basic information about rental car accidents, what insurance is available to you before renting a vehicle, and who is responsible for paying for property damage and any associated medical bills and other expenses that result from a rental car accident.
What To Do After Any Auto Accident
As with any other type of vehicle accident, if you’re involved in a rental car crash, you should first get medical attention. If necessary, call the police, take pictures of all vehicles and the surrounding area, exchange insurance information with other drivers, get a copy of the police report, notify your insurance company, and notify the car rental agency. You may need to also a personal injury attorney who handles car accident cases in your area.
If you were involved in an accident involving a rental car and the wreck occurred in the Atlanta metro area, please call attorney Laurie Robbins for a free initial consultation.
Even though the car involved in the accident does not belong to you, you are legally responsible for reporting the accident just as if it were your own car. That the car does NOT belong to you may be even more reason to go through the proper channels following a collision, regardless of whether or not you were to blame for the rental car accident.
As with any vehicle accident, fault (legal liability) must be determined to know which party’s insurance company must pay, and if a case is serious enough to go to trial, your legal team will need to invest the time and resources to gather the proper information to determine fault.
Rental Car Insurance
All rental car insurance companies will offer you additional coverage when you rent the vehicle. It’s important to know what is covered on your own personal car insurance policy before heading to the car rental agency. You certainly don’t want to pay for some type of coverage you may already have with your own insurer.
The most common type of additional coverage offered from rental car agencies is referred to as “Collision Damage Waiver.” This document says the rental car company will waive any vehicle replacement or repair costs if the vehicle suffers damage, or if there is a theft of the vehicle during the time you rent it. Exceptions usually include damage that is the result of your reckless driving, and damage that occurs when an unauthorized driver is operating the vehicle.
A collision damage waiver is not really car insurance, and while it is optional, there is always a cost for it. If your personal car insurance policy has comprehensive and collision coverage, your car insurance policy will probably pay for any damage or loss to the rental vehicle. If you do have coverage on your car insurance policy, you will have to pay the deductible. You may then have to deal with increased car insurance premiums after filing a claim.
Liability coverage from rental agencies will cover property damage and medical expenses incurred by others involved in the accident if you caused it while operating your rental vehicle. Liability coverage usually overlaps with your personal car insurance coverage, but if you have only state minimum liability insurance coverage, you may not be fully protected if you’re involved in a car accident.
Personal accident insurance will pay for the rental car driver’s injuries or injuries of the driver’s passengers. It may also pay for ambulance expenses and even death benefits. If you have medical insurance or personal injury protection coverage with your own car insurance, personal accident insurance will probably provide overlapping coverage.
Most people opt out of what is called “personal effects coverage” while renting a car because most homeowners and renters’ insurance policies offer similar coverage, and most people don’t leave valuables in a rental car.
If you’ve been in a car accident in a rental car in the Atlanta area, please contact attorney Laurie Robbins and schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation so she can hear the details of your accident and advise you on how best to proceed.