What happens if you damage a rented car in an accident?
Sep 07, 2021 09:11 PM EDT
Traveling is fun but also necessary for some people. Millions of people fly to California every year to check out the beautiful coast, the breathtaking national parks, and to visit major entertainment centers. However, with almost 200,000 car accidents in the state every year, drivers of rental cars are sure to be some of those drivers included. This begs the question of what someone should do if they have rented a car and have gotten into a car accident.
The answer to who is liable for your accident is going to depend on a few factors. In general, the driver that caused the accident is the one who is responsible for the innocent party's damages, including their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. This fact does not change depending on whether or not the responsible party was driving a rental car at the time of the collision.
Car rental companies such as Hertz, Enterprise, and others are typically not liable for the actions of drivers who are using their rental cars. Unless your attorney can prove that the car rental company was negligent, such as renting you a defective vehicle, then they are not liable.
You have to take some steps to determine who is responsible for paying for damages. First, you should read over your personal car insurance policy and find out your rental coverage. Keep in mind that not everyone has car rentals covered in their personal auto insurance policy, so it's best to check your policy before renting a vehicle. Next, you should read the details written in the rental policy if you purchased separate supplemental insurance from the car rental company. If you did not buy this supplemental insurance, your credit card may be used to pay for the other party's damages and injuries. The credit card that you placed on file when you rented the car may also be charged for damages if your personal auto policy does not cover damages, or if you did not purchase supplemental insurance.
Most rental car companies limit their liability in their contracts and agreements, and they also outline specific instructions on what to do after an accident. If you fail to follow these steps per their instructions, they may deny your insurance claim, leaving you financially responsible.
If you were not at fault for the accident, the at-fault driver's insurance company would be liable for damages.
Your personal auto insurance plan may require you to report accidents within a certain time period, typically within 24 hours. If you purchased supplemental insurance through the rental car company, they may also have a deadline to report accidents. Even if you did not purchase supplemental insurance through the car insurance company, the rental agreement may have a deadline to report the accident as well as specific instructions on how to report it.
If you have serious questions about car accidents involving a rental car, then you need to talk to an attorney who will be able to read your policy and rental agreement to determine whether or not you are liable for damages.