What Happens When A Rental Car Is In An Accident?

Here’s What You Should Do If You’re Involved in a Crash

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Whether you’re on vacation, traveling on a business trip, or driving around your hometown in a loaner vehicle, the last thing anyone is planning on getting into is a rental car accident. Now, instead of working or relaxing, you are worried about being held responsible for any damage or potentially being at risk for hefty fees.

  • What should you do if the driver doesn’t have insurance?
  • How can you communicate with the rental company?

These types of questions often overwhelm clients and many are unsure of what to do when these situations arise.

One of the best options you can provide yourself is to hire an accident attorney to walk you through the process and provide insight over scenarios you might have overlooked. Their experience and knowledge is here to help you find the best outcome for your case.

What To Do in a Rental Car Accident

The good news is, handling a rental car is pretty similar to a typical car accident. The first – and most important step – is to make sure everyone involved is safe. If there are any injuries, be sure to contact 911 first. If necessary, move away from the accident site to a safe location.

Once all parties are safe, it’s time to exchange paperwork and record the damage. If you’re the rental car driver, this can be tricky if you’re not sure what info to provide to the other driver. This all depends on the type of insurance coverage you opted for when renting the vehicle. Ultimately, this will determine whether you are financially responsible for any damage (we’ll get back to that) and what info to provide. Give them your name, phone number, and as much relevant information as you can.

Finally, contact the rental car company. The number should be on the rental agreement, or, if it is after hours, there may be an emergency line. Explain the situation and ask what their protocol is for an accident. The company is usually responsible for telling you where to take the car and how to proceed. If you need a replacement car, discuss the details of arranging that with the representative, as well.

Will Insurance Cover Any Damage?

In Florida, all drivers are required to have valid insurance on the vehicle they are driving. If you are renting a vehicle, you are typically offered the option to add coverage through the company. This is a requirement if you don’t own a vehicle and do not have your own insurance. However, those that do hold a valid insurance policy on their personal vehicle may transfer it over to temporarily cover their time in the rental.

With a Damage Waiver

If you opted for the insurance coverage from the company or agreed to something known as the Collison Damage Waiver (or some variation of that), you are probably in the clear! This is highly recommended when renting any type of vehicle, as it generally means you won’t have to pay for any damage inflicted on the car. You’ll have to pay extra for this addition, but in the event of an accident (or even a minor incident, like hitting a fence or accidentally scratching the chassis), it might save you a ton of money!

Without a Damage Waiver

If you didn’t opt for the Damage Waiver, but you have full-coverage or a comprehensive policy, you may be eligible for coverage through your own insurance company. You’ll be covered for collision, liability, and injury – assuming your current plan offers this normally. Remember, this will likely have similar effects or requirements regarding the deductible or policy as an accident in your personal vehicle would.

Other Coverage or Options

There are other options that a renter can explore prior to picking up a car, such as credit card policy coverage, cheap personal coverage, or third-party liability. These can also help protect in the event of an accident or damage. If possible, take the time to look into different options before making your reservation.

If you don’t have personal coverage and you didn’t opt for the damage waiver, you could be in a sticky situation. This is where it can get complicated, as this leaves you open to the financial responsibility of repairing any damage to the rental. In some cases, the rental company may work with the other driver (if they are at fault), but you may also risk being charged directly and having to sort it out on your own.

What About Negligence and Compensation?

If another driver is proven to be at fault, they will typically be responsible for covering any costs associated with the collision or injuries. The rental car company can handle this without you, but you may also be eligible for compensation for any additional expenses caused by the accident! This is where an experienced Accident Attorney comes in handy. We can help you seek compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, mileage to and from therapeutic visits, and help you understand your rights in the situation.

If the fault falls on the renter – or if nobody is at fault – you will likely be liable for any damage to the car, as well as covering any costs for the other parties involved. If you don’t have the proper insurance coverage, this can be extremely costly! An attorney can also help you sort out the details of a case and help you determine whether you are eligible for reimbursement or coverage.

We Offer Legal Assistance and Advice

Planning ahead is always the best option, but we understand that accidents often happen when we are least expecting them! At DRG Law Firm, our skilled personal injury and accident attorneys work closely with our clients to help navigate their unique situation.

Call us 24/7 at 1-833-50-CONTROL to schedule your free consultation! Our firm will help you understand the fine print of car rental agreements and determine exactly what level of compensation you are entitled to and where file a claim.

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