Renting a car, be it for a road trip, a vacation, running errands, or attending a special occasion, can be beneficial in several ways. It saves wear in your car, saves gas, helps you drive something more comfortable, and is the ultimate test drive before purchasing a vehicle. Yet while opting for a rental car, never ignore the probability of a rental car accident occurring. That is why rental companies will try as much as possible to convince you to buy their company’s rental car insurance options, which most people will find confusing. This begs the question of whether or not you truly need rental car insurance. Well, the answer depends on two other options you should first consider before making the decision.
First, you should understand what your personal car insurance policy covers and what it does not cover. In most cases, if your private car has the same value as the one you intend to rent, then there is a high probability that your car insurance coverage will be adequate for the rental. However, it is recommended to contact your insurance provider to confirm whether your auto insurance covers a rental car.
Secondly, if your auto insurance policy does not cover rental cars or has any gaps in coverage, you will need to check your credit card policy. Many credit cards can provide either primary or secondary coverage in case of a rental car accident. To learn more about your card’s policy, contact the company that issued the card.
Rental car insurance
Suppose your auto insurance or credit card does not have collision or comprehensive coverage; the best alternative will be buying rental car insurance. This is also the best and only option for individuals who do not have insurance and individuals who do not want to pay a deductible. In this case, there are four common types of rental car insurance coverages to choose from:
- Collision damage waiver or loss and damage waiver: This is more of a waiver than an actual policy, and it covers financial responsibility if the rental car is either under repair, stolen, or damaged.
- Personal effects coverage: This add-on policy covers anything you carry with you in the rental car.
- Personal accident insurance: It covers your medical expenses in the event of an accident. This is one of the coverages you may not need because it is mainly included in your personal car insurance.
- Liability Coverage: Liability protection covers the other party’s damages and medical expenses. This is another coverage that you may already have in your auto insurance policy.
What to do after a rental car accident
The procedure of handling a rental car accident is roughly similar to the procedures you will take in any car accident, except that it might be less straightforward. This is why you need to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to guide you through the process.
After an accident, you will need to inform the rental company about the accident and ask them what you should do next. You should then contact your insurance company or your credit card provider if you used it to pay for the rental car. You will also be required to file a report with the rental company detailing the parties involved in the accident, the fault of the accident, injuries sustained, and the damage to the car, among other information. If you are at fault, your insurance coverage helps cover the costs. However, the situation becomes more difficult if the other party is at fault. Since you are contractually bound to return the rental car in the very same condition you rented it, the rental company might charge you directly for the full amount of the damages, leaving you to deal with the other party’s insurance. This task might be stressful, which is why you will need a lawyer to manage the technicalities and make sure you get everything you are entitled to from your insurance policy.
Knowing your auto insurance and your credit card policy is very important before buying rental car insurance coverage. This will save you from unnecessary duplication of coverage. If you are involved in a rental car accident, contact an experienced lawyer to help you receive fair and adequate compensation.