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What happens if I have an accident in a rental car?

On Behalf of | Nov 5, 2020 | Automobile Accidents

You are driving along on the 405, on your way to drop off your rental car, when another driver suddenly slams into you. What happens now? 

If another driver hits you while you are driving a rental, his or her liability insurance ordinarily covers the damage to the rented car. Ultimately, however, you are still the responsible party per the rental agreement. If the other driver lacks sufficient coverage, you or your insurance company may need to sue to recoup your expenses. 

Your auto insurance

Most of the time, your car insurance covers you to the same extent as if you were driving your own car. Check your policy to be sure. Watch out for these common exclusions: 

  • Loss of use fees: Most rental companies charge you for their lost revenue while the repair service has the rental car. Insurance rarely covers these fees. 
  • High-dollar vehicles: Some policies exclude rental coverage for trucks, moving vans and/or luxury vehicles. 
  • Extended rental times: Insurance companies often exclude rental periods longer than seven days. 

Credit card coverage

Rental companies require a credit card to guarantee your rental and cover incidental expenses. Many credit cards offer some form of rental coverage; check your cardholder agreement to see what it includes. 

Loss damage waiver

Rental companies offer damage waivers as part of the rental agreement. You may want to purchase a damage waiver if your insurance does not cover rentals or your credit card does not include rental coverage. 

Before signing a rental agreement, always be sure you understand what your insurance policy and credit card cover in the event of a crash. If you have been in an accident, contact us to discuss your options.