Ahhhh the rental car. Everyone at one point may use a rental car. Whether it’s for family trips, business trips, adventures with friends, or the occasional getaway a rental car can be a key component of some lifelong memories. The one thing that no one plans for when renting a vehicle is getting into an accident. Did you decline rental car company’s insurance? You bet you did to save a few bucks. Does your credit card that you booked the car with protect you in an accident? It might, but you have no idea you did not really check. Regardless if you accepted the rental company’s car insurance or you opted to rely on your credit cards protection or even your own car insurance if it covers rentals you need to understand the basics of who pays for a car rental after an accident. Who pays for a car rental after an accident is the most important question that you can have when it comes to being in a fender bender while renting a car and we have you covered. The answer turns on different inquires, the first being who is at fault and the second depends on what level of insurance coverage you have.
First Steps After the Accident
Being in a car accident in a rental car is pretty much similar to being in an accident in your own car. Your first steps after an accident should consist of making sure everyone is safe at the scene and to promptly call 911. Next, you should notify your rental car company, ask the company how they wish for you to proceed, such as if they want you to file a police report. There are also important “Do’s and Don’ts” you should follow after a car accident as well. Such as not indicating who is at fault, taking important pictures, making crucial notes etc.
Who Messed Up? AKA You Or The Other Person? Who Pays?!
When it comes to the most important aspect of a who pays for a car rental after an accident, the most pivotal question is of course which party caused the accident in the first place. If it was the other party who caused the accident, their insurance company will likely be on the hook for any repair damages that are needed to the rental car. Nearly every state requires some form of liability insurance be carried by every driver that will offset the total property damage done to the other car (as in your rental car). If the other party at the time of the accident had been driving without insurance than the situation becomes more complex. If they did not have insurance and your insurance company (or credit card) does not cover rental car damages than you may have to pay out-of-pocket. This is especially true if you did not opt for the rental car insurance that rental companies tend to attempt to sell you during your pick up of your rental. If you have to pay out-of-pocket it is best that you sue the other driver to recover for your financial loss. Still, if that other driver didn’t have insurance in the first place, collecting just compensation from them may prove difficult if they do not have any assets. Of course, if you find a very good car accident or personal injury attorney than you still may be able to recover. Of course, if you are the one at fault then you will be responsible for the rental car damage as well as the other party’s car. This is where your car insurance coverage will (fingers crossed) protect you. Most credit cards also have some type of minimum protection, which will help you answer the question of who pays for a car rental after an accident easier.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If the other party is at fault and is uninsured you will of course have to make a claim with your own insurance company through your uninsured motorist benefits. Don’t fret to much of ending up in an accident with an uninsured motorist, as the Insurance Research Council has indicated that there are only about 13% of drivers in the United States are uninsured.
What About Rental Car Insurance?
Well if you have rental car insurance its likely not going to be you, unless you were negligently at fault. Rental car representatives constantly attempt to have renters purchase car insurance. Most people actually tend to decline, which is fine if their credit car or their insurance policy protects them. If you are renting a car for a long period or time or under your company, it might be best to opt for the insurance.
Different types of rental car insurance:
- Collision Damage
- Liability Insurance
- Personal Accident Insurance
- Personal Effects Coverage
- Supplemental Liability
It is best to determine your credit card policy/personal insurance before purchasing the rental car insurance. If you are not positive about what insurance, you need you can always reach out to all such parties and even an experienced attorney.