If you have ever had to rent a car, you know that it can be a hassle – from finding an affordable rental to agonizing over returning the car in the exact same condition as when you first got in it. And there is always that one little dreaded question you the desk clerk always asks, “Do you want to purchase rental car insurance?” A number of people will usually answer no to this question without ever thinking of what would happen if they were actually in an accident while using the rental car.
Accidents in a Rental Car
In the event that you do get into an accident while driving a rental car, the same protocol should be followed as if you were driving your own vehicle. You should always report the accident to the police and to your own insurance company and seek medical attention. Since you are driving a rental car, you will also have to report the accident to the rental car company. The exact protocol is likely in the contract you signed when you initially rented the vehicle.
After the initial shock of the accident wears off, you may begin to think that you are in the clear because your own auto insurance policy will cover this accident. Before you breathe a sigh of relief, it is important to realize that may not be the case. Every auto insurance policy is a little different. Some policies specifically exclude coverage of damage to rental cars. Some policies may cover the damage that happened, but the policy may not have sufficient coverage to pay for all of the damages. When reviewing your policy, it is important to distinguish between the different limits listed on your policy and understand what each part of your policy covers and how it applies if you are in an accident in a rental car.
If you purchased the optional collision damage waiver when you rented the car, you may have some additional coverage to help you cover the damages. The rental company offers this option to every customer renting a car, even if you show that you have your own insurance policy. This coverage helps take the burden of paying for the damage off of you or your insurance and shifts it to the rental car company. However, this does not save you from responsibility for any personal injury the accident caused or damage to other vehicles. Before purchasing this coverage, it is always important to read the fine print where lots of loopholes and exclusions may be hiding. It is also important to understand your own insurance policy very well because the coverage under the collision waiver could be the same as coverage you already have on your own policy.
Last, but certainly not least, it’s important to see if your credit cards offer rental car coverage to members. This may sound like a far-fetched idea, but many credit card companies offer secondary car rental coverage to their cardholders as perks of being a member. This program is not primary insurance coverage; instead, it kicks in where your insurance company left off. It covers expenses related to towing the vehicle, your deductible, and other related fees. In most cases, anything related to personal injury is not covered.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
If you have been in an accident while driving a rental car, it is important to contact a Philadelphia lawyer who has experience dealing with car accident claims in order to get results you are looking for.