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Rental Car Wrecks and Insurance Explained

When you rent a vehicle, you are contractually obligated to return it in the same condition as you received it. If possible, get a copy of the company's damage report and take pictures of the vehicle in order to document any scratches or prior issues before signing a rental contract and driving off the lot. If you fail to maintain the rental car’s original condition, you will be billed for any damages.

Even if an accident is the result of someone else's negligence, you may still have to pay your deductible directly to the car rental company, as they are entitled to have their car fixed as soon as possible. If you are involved in an accident after renting a car, contact our office along with your insurance company immediately.

Your insurance should contact the responsible party in order for you to be reimbursed. Furthermore, if the negligence of someone else caused the accident, one of our professionals can help you pursue a claim.

Types of Rental Car Insurance

When it comes to accident coverage, a car rental agency usually offers several insurance options to its customers. We’ve simplified what you should know about the most common forms of coverage offered:

  • Personal Accident Insurance and Personal Effects Coverage, which cover medical bills, death costs, and personal effects.
  • Supplemental Liability Protection, which covers third-party liability claims.
  • Roadside Assistance Protection, which covers the costs of various roadside incidents which might require you to call a tow truck.
  • A Damage Waiver, which (although technically not insurance) decreases liability for an accident.

Supplemental insurance is optional and you may choose to rent without purchasing. While rental car insurance isn’t always necessary (because your personal car insurance might cover a rental car), you should still do some research of your own. Insurance plans vary from state-to-state and you don't want to be stuck with the bill.

Schedule Your Free Consultation

If you get into an accident, or otherwise damage a rental vehicle, the three primary sources of potential insurance coverage are the rental car company, your personal car insurance, and the credit card you used to pay for the rental. Here is what you need to know when you look into those policies before renting a car:

Your Personal Car Insurance

Your own auto insurance policy may cover damage to rental cars. Many policies do, but not all. Carefully read your own policy, or call your insurer to confirm whether it covers a rental car. If it does, you can opt out of the rental company’s insurance. 

Your Credit Card Insurance

If your insurance doesn’t cover rental cars, check with your credit card company and review their policy. Many credit card companies provide rental car insurance coverage when you pay for the rental car with your credit card. However, credit card coverage frequently excludes luxury vehicles or even large rentals such as SUVs or pickup trucks. 

When reviewing, be sure you have liability coverage. This is the kind of insurance your policies are most likely to leave uncovered. If rental vehicles are not covered by your personal insurance or credit card, the rental company’s insurance will be your best option.

Also noteworthy - if you have a higher deductible than the rental company is offering, you may find it prudent to buy their insurance even if your personal or credit card insurance does cover rentals.

Let us Help

If you’ve been involved in a rental car accident, call us as soon as you can! We are proud to consider our law firm a legendary presence in the personal injury landscape. We don’t expect or want you to do all the work for yourself. Give us a call 24/7 - 800.844.1712 - or connect/chat with us online. We will always answer your questions and review your case for FREE.

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