Who Is Responsible in an Accident Involving a Rental Car? Multiple people can be responsible in an accident involving a rental car.

People drive rental cars for agreed-upon periods. While these drivers may suffer injuries or experience other problems, at-fault drivers in an accident involving a rental car can be held responsible for damages. The person who rented the vehicle can also be charged additional fees. One important thing to note is that the rental car company cannot be held liable for damages from a car accident. 

Unless you can prove the rental car company’s negligence caused or contributed to your accident, it will be difficult to hold it liable. An accident involving a rental car can be confusing, especially if you weren’t driving. There are times when the person driving a rental is not covered by the rental company’s insurance and could be held responsible for all damages. 

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Rental Cars and Liability Insurance

Multiple people can be held responsible in an accident involving a rental car. The Insurance Information Institute (III) explains that liability rules may differ when the car is rented rather than owned by the driver. In some states, drivers must carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance on their cars. If you have health insurance and your injury is not severe enough to require a hospital visit, your PIP may pay some of your medical bills.

All states require that rental companies provide additional liability insurance to cover any damage or injuries caused by a rental vehicle. The minimum amount of liability insurance varies from state to state, but it is generally between $15,000 to $30,000 per person and $30,000 to $60,000 per accident.

Suppose you were injured in an accident involving a rental car and incurred more than the state minimums in medical expenses or lost wages. In that case, you might be able to recover damages from the rental company’s excess (liability) insurance if it was not properly disclosed.

What an Insurance Policy Covers for a Rental Car

Most rental car companies offer you an opportunity to purchase their insurance coverage when renting a vehicle. However, if an accident occurs while using a rental car, the renter’s personal auto insurance may cover the damages. Therefore, you should contact your auto insurance company to determine if you are covered under its policy as a renter.

You should also check with the rental car company to see if it offers additional insurance. These extras extend your coverage well beyond what you would receive from your privacy policy. If you have any doubts about your coverage and the risks of not being covered, decline the insurance coverage from the rental company and purchase additional coverage from your current carrier.

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What Optional Insurance Covers Can You Take?

Optional extra insurance, sometimes known as add-ons, is available from the rental car provider. Optional insurance usually includes the following:

  • Damage from a collision (also known as a “loss-damage waiver”). This covers financial liability if the rental car is destroyed, stolen, or rendered unusable while being repaired, plus towing and other costs.
  • This will protect you if a lawsuit arises due to your rental automobile usage. In other words, if you’re at fault in an accident, liability coverage should apply to any claims made against you by another driver. The usual maximum is $1 million.
  • Personal accident insurance. This insurance covers you when you sustain injuries. The coverage is like personal injury protection (PIP), which pays for medical expenses in the event of an accident.
  • Coverage for personal effects. This add-on covers whatever you transfer in the automobile, including luggage, gadgets, personal items, etc.

Optional coverage comes at a cost. Each of these coverage options is likely to have a per-day cost. While it may appear to be only a few dollars per day, it adds up quickly if you’re renting a car for a holiday or a business trip for several days.

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Do You Need the Optional Insurance Coverage on a Car Rental?

Every time you rent a vehicle, you must choose whether to purchase the optional insurance coverage. The answer, as it turns out, is not so simple. You must factor in whether the insurance cost is worth it for the time that you’re renting the car. 

If you’re going to be driving the vehicle only for a few days, it may not be worth the cost. On the other hand, if you will be driving for a while and going on vacation with more travel, it might be worth your time to take out the additional coverage.

Insurance Covers More Than Just Collision Damage

Many people don’t realize this type of insurance covers much more than the damages that occur during an accident or theft. It also covers weather-related damage, such as flooding, hailstorms, and other non-weather-related events, such as vandalism. So, even if you’re not at fault for an accident, you could still make a claim.

Contact the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine for a Free Consultation

Sometimes, things can go wrong when renting a car, and that includes traffic accidents. Generally, the drivers in an accident involving a rental car will be held responsible for any injuries or damages that occur. 

If you’ve recently been in an accident while driving a rental car, you can reach out to the legal team at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine for legal help. Call us at 1-800-747-3733 today for a free consultation.