Accidents involving rental cars

Posted by Christopher “Chris” Schwartz | Jan 17, 2019 | 0 Comments


It's really important to have the right type of car rental insurance if you're going to rent a car. This can mean the difference between shelling out your life savings after an accident or having a company that can help relieve the financial burden. Your own personal car insurance company may have these following options for coverage:

  1. Liability Coverage: This would be used to possibly help pay for another person's medical bills if you caused an accident.
  2. Comprehensive Coverage: this could help you repair the rental car if it was damaged by theft or a natural disaster. A deductible will apply.
  3. Collision Coverage:  This may help you repair the rental car if you crashed into another car or object, such as a lamppost. A deductible will apply.

On the day you go to rent your car, the car rental company will offer you three things:

  1. Collision Damage Waiver: This could potentially help you cover the cost of repairing a rental car, but excludes damage from certain situations like driving on unpaved roads. However, this could just be a duplicate if you already have collision and comprehensive coverage on your own car.
  2. Liability Coverage: This protects you if you injure someone or damage their property while driving.
  3. Personal Accident Insurance: This may help pay for your medical bills if you're in an accident involving a rental car. However, if you have personal injury protection on your health insurance plan, this may not be necessary.
  4. Personal Effects Coverage: This potentially covers if you have personal items like a cell phone or laptop stolen from a rental car.

Now you have the insurance worked out, here's what to do if you actually are in an accident:

Gather Evidence

After everyone appears safe and unharmed, you should take pictures of all elements of the crash, not just the car. Make sure you photograph any scattered debris as well. You should then exchange contact and insurance information with the other people involved in the accident.

Contact Your Rental Car Company

You are responsible for the car during the entirety of the rental. If the car is driveable, take it to the nearest company location. If it's not, use roadside assistance like AAA, or call the company to see if they use a specific tower. Make sure when you call that you note the time of day and the customer service agent with who, you spoke. This could be helpful when filing a claim later on. When you get to the rental office, you will need to file an accident report.

Contact Your Insurance Company

The next step is for you to file an insurance claim, just as you would with any other accident. Your timing on this could impact the amount of coverage, as some insurance companies will claim a report was not filed quickly enough.

Who pays for a rental car after an accident involving a rental?

First, you may have to pay out several fees after an accident, including loss of use fees, diminution of value, and other administrative fees. Furthermore:

  • If you were not at fault: you will end up dealing with the other driver's insurer and your rental company. Depending on your bank, your credit card company could possibly offer financial protection.
  • If you were at fault and do not have insurance: you are responsible for any of the losses or damages.
  • If you were at fault and are covered: most personal policies cover some amount of rental car damages. Make sure to look up your limit and deductible. Also, if you bought the rental car companies Collision Insurance, you are covered.

Got In an Accident Involving a Rental Car?

In any form of a car crash, you must always know your rights and your claim. The attorneys at Schwartz Law Firm handle any and all cases including car accidents. Visit one of our convenient locations in Metairie and Baton Rouge, or call us today at 504-837-2263 for your free initial consultation.

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Schwartz Law Firm LLC attorneys bring over 25 years of combined experience securing personal injury recoveries and workers’ compensation successes in New Orleans and southeast Louisiana.