With the holidays around the corner it’s helpful to review what you need when you rent a car at the airport. Rental car companies want to sell their version of rental car insurance. The reality is if you have full coverage on your personal car you likely don’t need to buy anything additional. The last thing anyone expects on their vacation is to be involved in a car accident. However, if you are involved in any kind of accident in a rental car, here are the steps you can take to ensure that your health, safety, and rights are protected.
If additional rental car insurance was purchased at the time of your rental you should closely inspect the details of that additional insurance. Depending on the insurance you purchased, you may owe absolutely nothing with respect to your accident for your rental car damage. If you purchased insurance coverage for your rental car, you likely chose from one of these four options:
- Loss-damage waiver “LDW” typically means all financial responsibility for damage to the rented car is removed from the renter if the car is damaged in an accident. No liability coverage as to other parties is included here.
- Liability coverage ”LIA” typically offers $1 million in liability coverage with the rental car, and includes uninsured motorist coverage. Ascertain the limits before you make this relatively expensive purchase. This may duplicate coverage you already have on your own car insurance policy. This is another reason that you should always know the limits and coverages in your own policy.
- Personal accident insurance “PAI” insurance covers medical costs following an accident. This could duplicate the “medical payments” coverage on your own car policy, but many people have no “med pay,” and/or aren’t even aware of this type of coverage.
- Personal effects coverage includes any personal property damage of an individual inside of a rental car due to an accident. Never leave things of value in rental cars, which are major targets for thieves.
In many cases, a person’s own personal car insurance policy will cover accidents involving a rental car. It’s best to contact your insurance company to determine if your car insurance will cover rental car accidents. Additionally, many credit card companies offer protection when used to purchase rental cars. These are obviously very specific to every credit card company, so you should contact the number on the back of the credit card you used to rent your car to see if you have any additional insurance coverage through the credit card.
The steps following an accident involving a rental car are the same as to those involved when you are in your own personal car and these can help you when you’re involved in an accident in a rental car away from home.
- Contact the Police.Contacting the police should be your very first step following an accident in any car, including a rental car. Answer questions, but avoid volunteering too much information.
- Have a Medical Evaluation. If an ambulance was called take advantage of having a medical professional evaluate and assess your injuries. Even with minor injuries it’s important to receive a medical evaluation. Some injuries do not appear until days later. Injuries such as whiplash, a traumatic brain injury or any internal injuries that could be serious or life-threatening may not be readily apparent.
- Collect Documentation.Make sure to obtain the names and contact information of all other drivers and witnesses, if possible. Use your phone to take photos of the person’s license and license plate.
- Contact the Rental Car Company.Contact the rental car company and let them know that you were in an accident involving one of their rental cars. They will advise you how to proceed with the car.
- Contact Your Insurance Company.Contact your insurance company and let them know that you were involved in an accident. Do not assume any fault or blame regarding the accident, and do not say anything such as “I feel fine” or “I feel terrible, this was all my fault.” Anything you say can be used by the insurance company to validate a lower settlement offer. Simply give them the basic information they need regarding the accident. Never allow yourself to be recorded, and never sign an authorization allowing an insurance company to have full access to your entire medical history.
We represent people who are injured because of the careless and reckless acts of others. At the end of the day your case can only be settled one time and you need to know all of the facts beforehand. The reason that insurance companies have paid our clients in excess of $130,000,000.00 is that we get the facts and are not intimidated at the prospect of going to trial when insurance companies fail to offer full compensation. We help with serious injuries that require serious representation. We are the Law Offices of Guenard & Bozarth, LLP. Our attorneys have more than 60 years of experience specializing in only representing injured people.. Call GB Legal 24/7/365 at 888-809-1075 or visit www.gblegal.com We would be honored to represent you!