Most of the accidents that occur across our home state are covered under our personal vehicle insurance. However, If you get into an accident and you are outside of your home state and in a rental car, regular rental insurance might not provide you with coverage. Getting in an accident while driving a rental car can be scary but knowing what to do if you get into one can be important to building a case where you can receive coverage.
People need to follow roughly the same protocols that they would if they were involved in a car accident with their own personal vehicle. If you’re involved in a car accident with a rental car you’ll need to do the following.
Make sure everyone involved in the accident is okay and that you call 911 to report the accident if there are major damages or anyone is hurt.
Call the police to do an accident report regardless of the severity of the damages. If any of the vehicles are blocking traffic or are immobile the police will also need to redirect traffic as required.
Exchanging contact information with other drivers as well as witnesses on the scene will make sure that you will have firsthand accounts of the incident. There’s no need to mention that you were driving a rental car during the time to any of these witnesses or other drivers.
Get the license plate and car insurance information of all other drivers involved in the accident.
Take pictures at the scene of all vehicles and make sure that you get multiple angles of the damages.
Contact the rental car company you have the rental from. Tell them that you were involved in an accident and ask for help proceeding forward. Different rental car agencies will have policies regarding the accident or damages to the vehicle and they likely all have different insurance carriers.
After contacting your rental car company to let them know that you were in an accident it’s important to call your own insurance company. If you have your own car insurance make sure that you let them know you were involved in an accident and ask how your personal insurance coverage could work to protect you after the rental car accident.
Read over your rental insurance policy coverage. When you booked your rental car, you may have been offered additional coverage on the vehicle. You could receive varying amounts of coverage depending on the specific policy from the insurance provider that the rental car company works with.
If you did not buy any type of extra insurance or sign a collision waiver when you rented the vehicle, your insurance company will be directly responsible for paying out all damages to the rental company for the car. Whether you are at fault for the accident or not, getting involved in an accident while in a rental car could leave you responsible for paying the overall deductible to your insurance company so that they can provide the funds to pay for your rental vehicle right away. Your insurance company will advocate for you if you were not the at fault driver and it is likely that the insurance company will work with the at fault driver and their provider to make sure that the vehicle can be fixed quickly.
Understanding Rental Insurance Coverage
Your rental insurance coverage is often combined with personal car insurance to cover the property damage that’s been caused by the accident. Insurance coverage can also cover the injuries that are caused by the accident. The main difference with rental insurance is that you’ll be responsible for any extra damage to the vehicle regardless of your fault status for the accident. In a typical accident involving your own vehicle you will not be responsible for the damages to your vehicle if you are found not at fault for the accident.
Types of Insurance Coverage You Can Consider Through Your Rental Company
Personal accident insurance: this pays for the injuries sustained by drivers and people in the rental vehicle. PIP may cover some of these expenses, but this can work to fill in some of the gaps in this coverage.
Liability coverage: liability coverage is sold by rental car companies to help you walk away from the various financial repercussions of a car accident. Liability coverage will pay for property damage and medical expenses suffered by others that were involved in the car accident. This can be a more pricey option but it’s often worth it if you are found at fault for the accident.
Personal effects coverage: this type of coverage handles damages to your personal property that was inside the rental car. Your renters or condo insurance may cover some of this but purchasing this deductible can make sure that you can be covered if you are moving or storing valuable goods inside the rental car.
If you have been involved in a car accident with a rental car it’s important to contact a car accident attorney immediately. Contact us today to discuss your legal rights after a rental car accident.