Drivers who are in a car accident in a rental car may face additional financial repercussions than those who are driving their own vehicle because of the additional risk the rental car company takes when renting out the vehicle. This is true even if the driver was not at fault for the accident. Taking the right precautions before and after a crash can help drivers avoid unnecessary expenses and legal implications.
Drivers Need to Consider Insurance Before Renting a Car
Insurance is critical for rental car drivers. Drivers need to have their own personal car insurance, which covers their liability in the crash. In fact, to protect themselves, many rental car companies require proof of personal car insurance before they will rent a vehicle to a driver. However, drivers may not have full coverage on their policies for damage to rental vehicles.
Most rental companies also offer loss damage waivers and collision damages waivers. These supplement the driver’s insurance company and take away the liability if the car is damaged in a crash.
Finally, credit card companies often offer insurance coverage for vehicles the cardholder rents with the coverage. This coverage varies but it can provide an additional layer of protection.
First Actions After a Crash
If a driver in a rental car is involved in a crash, the steps to take after are the same as the steps taken after a crash involving the driver’s own vehicle. First, the drivers and others involved in the crash need to make sure everyone’s medical needs are met and the appropriate emergency professionals are contacted. Drivers should share their insurance information with others involved in the crash and avoid making unnecessary statements that could imply fault.
As soon as possible, all affected parties should call their insurance providers to discuss a car accident claim. Doing this soon after the crash allows the insurance company to start collecting the data and details about the accident.
Next, the rental car driver needs to call the rental company. The rental company has a role in handling recovery, repairs, and replacement of their vehicle. They may also need to provide insurance information to the driver.
When Is the Driver Liable For Damages?
If a driver of a rental car is guilty of causing an accident, such as in the case of distracted driving and cell phone use, he or she may be liable for the accident. As long as the driver has liability insurance, he or she will not be personally liable for injury or property damage to others in the accident. However, because he or she does not own the car, he or she may have to repay the rental company for the car.
This is where car insurance coverage for rental cars is so important. Collision insurance can protect the driver from this financial responsibility, as the insurance will cover the cost to replace the vehicle. For this reason, rental car drivers are best served by checking insurance coverage before signing for a rental vehicle to ensure they will not be left with a big bill after an accident.