You are about to go on vacation and will be using a car rental the entire time you are away. Before you rent a vehicle, look at what rental costs cover, and find out who pays for the car rental if in an accident. Most car rental companies offer several insurance options that are not in your policy. What some do not know is that car rental insurance is not legally required. Nonetheless, it is still a good idea to have coverage. It is possible that your insurance policy already has you covered. If you do not know for sure, it is vital to understand your options to ensure you are insured.
Most auto rental businesses typically offer the following products at the counter. Knowing what your personal auto insurance covers is essential. You do not want to pay for something you already have. Thus, if you have comprehensive and collision coverage on your own vehicle, you do not need to get it again.
Whether you are renting a vehicle for a short or long time, you need to understand your insurance options.
Comprehensive insurance covers vehicular damages caused by the car accident. This includes fire, theft, vandalism, and a run-in with a deer.
This policy also covers costs that the weather administers with its high winds or hail.
If damage to a rental is from a crash or rollover, your collision insurance will cover the repair shop costs. Collision coverage pays for repairs or the actual cash value of the vehicle. This protection often costs around an extra $10-$20 a day.
Liability insurance covers medical expenses and property damage to another person in an accident. But if you have auto insurance, you may not need additional liability protection. If you do need this supplemental insurance, it typically costs $7-$14 a day.
Personal accident insurance will cover medical bills resulting from a car crash. This applies to car renter injuries and their passengers. If you have health insurance and disability income insurance, you should not need it. The same goes for if you have personal injury protection for your own car insurance. It usually costs about $1-$5 a day.
Personal effects coverage covers personal items inside the vehicle if theft occurs. If you have homeowners or renters' insurance policies, then you should not need this coverage. If you are a frequent traveler with expensive items, it may be more cost-effective to buy renters’ insurance. To get complete protection for the items when you travel. Generally, this coverage costs $2-$5 a day.
When your personal vehicle is being repaired after an accident, you will need a car. Rental car insurance pays for the cost of a rental or replacement vehicle. This coverage is available through your own insurance company and often costs about the same as renting a car for a day. Your insurance agent can add rental coverage to your policy. Besides knowing what to expect from a rental company, you also need to be aware of what to ask your insurance company about renting a vehicle. You must also become familiar with what to do if determined at-fault for the collision or if the other driver caused it. Learn how either circumstance can impact your insurance coverage. It does not hurt to know what your insurance options are that most rental car companies offer customers.
One major question many drivers ask is if a collision occurs while driving their own vehicle, who pays for the car rental while theirs is in the shop?
Generally, your car insurance policy will extend to a rental vehicle. If your car is written off and is a total loss, many companies will pay for your rental as a courtesy, but they are not obligated to do so. When filing your claim with the car insurance company, the cost of a rental car is covered if you pay a premium to include rental reimbursement coverage. Most policies have a dollar limit for rental payments, so make sure you check your policy to find out more about your limit. The amount of time you can keep a rental car after an auto accident is up to the company paying for the rental car. If your vehicle is determined to be a total loss, you may be able to keep the car for five days after you have received a settlement offer.
What if you are in the car rental when an accident happens? Are you responsible for ensuring the vehicle, or is it the responsibility of the rental company?
After a collision, you need to take the same steps you would if the accident happened in your own vehicle and not in a rental. This includes checking to make sure everyone is okay. You need to exchange contact information, take pictures, and call your own car insurance provider. Although these steps are the same, there is additional paperwork if the car crash happens in a rental vehicle.
As soon as possible, call your car rental company and inform them of the accident. The emergency number is often inside the vehicle’s glove box. If you did not buy an extra auto insurance policy or a collision waiver at the time you rented a car, your insurance agency handles paying the rental company for the vehicle. If you cause an accident while driving the rental, your liability insurance will pay up to your policy limits for the damages to other cars or property.
If you were at fault, you must pay your deductible directly to the rental company, and they are entitled to have the car fixed as soon as possible. If they find you not to be at fault, it becomes the responsibility of your insurance to contact the at-fault driver and their insurance company.
If rental coverage is not on your policy, you will owe rental expenses to the rental company as if you were still renting the vehicle.
If it takes five days to repair the vehicle, you will owe five days of rental costs. If your policy’s limit is below what the rental car would usually go for, you will have to owe the difference to the rental company. Remember, your car accident insurance claim will be handled differently if you purchase extra insurance or a collision damage waiver, which is why you need to consider your coverage options when renting. If you buy extra insurance, always read the fine print on both the additional protection and your own policy. Some vehicle rental insurance policies provide complete coverage in an accident if you pay the premium.
The rental insurance policies cover the cost of the car you hit (if you were at fault) and the rental car damage. But, again, this is not always the case. A collision damage waiver releases you from the agreement you make when you rent a car you pay for the vehicle in case of an accident.
But, even if you purchased a collision damage waiver, you must still file a claim for your medical bills in case of injury and for the car you hit, if you were at fault.
If another driver damages your vehicle, the responsibility of coverage is on the other driver’s insurance company.
When you have the right insurance information about a rental car and its options, you are better equipped to know what to do in an accident. It will put you more at ease while on vacation.
Main Office: 200 E. Robinson St. Suite #400, Orlando, Florida 32801. Attorney Jeffrey Kaufman, Licensed in Florida Disclaimer: the purpose of this site is to provide information about legal options, not to provide legal or professional advice. You should not assume that the information on this site applies to your case without consulting with an attorney first. Requesting an initial consultation does not create an attorney client relationship. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be solely based on advertisement.
© Kaufman and Lynd PLLC.