Auto Accidents Involving Rental Cars

If you’re dedicated to saving money, you probably say no every time a rental car agency asks you if you want to buy additional insurance. But if you hear the squeal of tires or the crunch of metal while you’re out driving that car, you might reconsider your decision.

rental-car-auto-accidentAn accident involving a rental car is a confusing affair, and you might not know which insurance policy covers you. Moreover, you may be in trouble with the rental agency. A competent lawyer can help you sort out the mess, but knowing the basics of insuring you and the vehicle you are renting can help you avoid making a costly decision.

Whose Insurance Covers What?

If the other driver is at fault, it doesn’t matter what kind of insurance you do or do not have on your rental car; the other driver’s insurance will be responsible for paying for the damages unless it is uninsured. If the at-fault driver’s vehicle is not insured, you will need to have your own uninsured motorist insurance on your vehicle.

But what about if you cause the accident? Just as with a car of your own, your insurance must cover the costs. You might think you’re not covered if you don’t buy rental car insurance, but think again. Many car insurance policies automatically cover rental cars, while others only offer the option to buy an additional rider if you rent a car. Before you rent, check your policy to see if you’re covered or not.

Rental Car Insurance

What if you don’t have coverage through your insurer? Check your credit card. It’s common for credit card companies to cover damages to rental cars you rent using your card, but check with customer service before banking on this option. If this isn’t an option for you, then rental car insurance is a last resort. Insurance will also cover wear and tear, theft, and damage not caused by an accident, so if you’re rough on rental cars, it could be a good idea anyway. If you’re already covered through a different policy, though, rental insurance is like throwing money away.

Dealing With the Rental Company

As with any accident, you should report the collision to the police and your insurer immediately. You’ll also want to contact the rental company. Don’t sign anything or agree to pay anything; some unscrupulous rental agencies will ask you to do just this, ensuring they get money that you don’t otherwise have to pay. Instead, wait to see what your insurance does or what the at-fault driver’s insurance does.

Sometimes, rental agencies make idle threats, or even sue drivers for accidents they get into. If you are injured in an accident and this happens to you, it’s unwise to negotiate alone. Insurance law can quickly turn complicated, and you may have coverage you don’t even know about. Before you sign anything or agree to a settlement, contact one of the expert Colorado Auto Accident Attorneys at McDivitt Law Firm for a FREE consultation.

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