If you have a rental car, it probably means you’re traveling for business or pleasure. Either way, the last thing you want to deal with is a car accident. Unfortunately, accidents do sometimes happen in a rental car. If you got into an accident, here’s what to expect.
You might worry about paying for damages to the rental after an accident. Most of the time, that will depend on the type of insurance you have. You’ll also need to determine who was at fault for the crash.
What Are My Insurance Coverage Options if I Crash in a Rental Car?
When you rent a car, you are responsible for any damage or loss to the vehicle. Even if someone else causes the damage, you are personally liable during the rental period. However, any insurance coverage you have can help pay for the damages.
Here are the insurance options you have when renting a car.
Your Own Auto Insurance
Most rental car companies require that you have insurance. If you already have auto insurance, you can choose to use your own coverage. Most personal policies have similar coverage to rental company insurance.
Before renting a car, check with your auto insurance. Make sure it covers rental car accidents. If not, it’s smart to purchase additional coverage through the rental company.
The Rental Car Company’s Insurance
The rental car company probably offered additional coverage when you booked your rental. While the coverage is optional, it can provide extra coverage during an accident.
Here are four types of insurance most car rental companies offer.
1. Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)
LDW protects you if your car is stolen or damaged. The rental car company will cover any repair or replacement costs. LDW usually does not cover damage resulting from reckless driving or an unauthorized driver.
2. Personal Accident Insurance
Personal accident insurance pays for injuries to the driver or passengers during an accident.
3. Supplemental Liability Coverage
Rental company liability coverage would pay for medical costs and property damage if another driver caused your accident. This coverage can help supplement existing auto insurance coverage.
4. Personal Effects Coverage
This coverage is for damaged or lost personal property you had in the rental car. Most of the time, you can get this coverage from your renters or homeowners insurance.
Credit Card Rental Insurance
Credit cards often offer car rental insurance. If you use a credit card to rent a car, you might have this coverage. The credit card company might pay for any damage to the rental car while you have it.
Credit card insurance rarely includes liability coverage, though. You’ll want to make sure you have this through auto or rental car insurance.
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Who Is Responsible for the Damages in My Rental Car Accident?
If you caused an accident while driving your rental car, you are legally liable. If you have insurance, your insurer should cover the damages. This is why it’s so important to know your coverage options.
Unless you breached your rental contract, rental insurance should cover the accident damages. However, a lack of coverage in one area might leave you responsible. If you don’t have rental car insurance, your auto insurance should cover the costs.
When Another Driver Is at Fault
If another driver caused your accident, they are liable for the damages (Georgia Code §51-1-6). Your rental company will work with the other driver’s insurer. However, you might receive a charge from the rental company before the case settles.
If the rental company charges you, you’ll need to seek compensation from the driver’s auto insurance. The insurance company should reimburse what the rental company charged you.
Of course, insurance companies rarely fight fair. The insurer might try to avoid liability. It’s best to hire a rental car accident lawyer for help from the beginning.
Other Rental Accident Costs You Might Face
Keep in mind that rental companies will look for ways to recover their costs. After an accident, you might face fees for:
- Loss of vehicle value
- “Loss of use” while the vehicle is under repair
- Processing fees for your claim
If you are concerned about additional costs, talk to your lawyer. They can let you know what is acceptable. If you did not cause the accident, you shouldn’t have to pay for the damages.
John Foy & Associates can assist you after a rental car accident. We’ve helped countless injury victims win what they deserve. We’ll answer your questions and let you know your options.
What Should I Do After an Accident in a Rental Car?
After a rental car accident, gather as much information as you can. Document the scene to preserve any evidence. Also, contact a personal injury lawyer if you were not at fault.
Here are some actions that will protect your rights after the accident:
- Make sure everyone involved in the crash is safe. If necessary, call 911 for an ambulance.
- Call the police to report the accident. Officers should create an accident report, which you’ll need for your records.
- Exchange information. Get the other driver’s name, contact information, and insurance details.
- Take pictures. Photograph any visible injuries, vehicle damage, and the whole accident scene.
- Call the car rental company. Make sure you report the crash to the rental company. The company should advise you on what to do with the car. The representative should let you know how to file a claim as well.
- Call a rental car accident lawyer. Your lawyer will help with the next steps. They’ll make sure you start a claim before it’s too late. If you wait too long, it will hurt your compensation chances.
After a car accident, you typically have two years to file a lawsuit (Georgia Code §9-3-33). Protect your rights by getting started today.
What Happens If You Were Injured in an Accident?
Unfortunately, the damage done to a rental vehicle is often only part of your concern after an accident. In addition to damages to the rental car, you may also be facing damages to your person. If you were injured in an accident while driving a rental car, you may be seeking financial compensation from the responsible party.
If another driver was responsible for your accident, both you and the rental company may make claims against the liable party. Injury damages often far exceed the repair or replacement costs for a damaged vehicle.
You may also be eligible to recover compensation for your injuries through your personal insurance or insurance purchased from the rental agency.
In certain situations, you may even be able to file a lawsuit against the rental agency. If the crash resulted due to any failures in the vehicle you rented, the rental company may be held liable for not properly maintaining the rental car.
A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
No matter the situation, a car accident lawyer can help protect you and ensure you walk away with the best possible outcome. An experienced attorney can help ensure that you are not taken advantage of by the rental agency or any involved insurance company. Your attorney can also help get you the compensation you need if you were injured.
Car accident attorneys generally work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that they only get paid if you receive compensation. Under this payment structure, you can feel confident that your lawyer will do everything in their power to secure you the highest possible payout.
Your car accident lawyer can make sure that any relevant deadlines are met. They will perform a thorough investigation into your accident to prove the liability of any responsible parties and build a strong case in your favor.
Get a Free Consultation With a Rental Car Accident Lawyer Today
At John Foy & Associates, we can help after a rental car accident you didn’t cause. With over 20 years of experience, we know how to win cases. Plus, we do not charge you unless we secure you compensation. Contact us by phone or online today to schedule an appointment for a free, no-risk consultation.