What Should I do After an Accident in a Rental Car?

People use rental cars for various reasons. Whether you are on vacation or a business trip, you need to understand what happens after a rental car accident. Today, we want to discuss the similarities and differences between a rental car accident and regular vehicles accidents. The last thing you should have to worry about when you rent a vehicle is being held responsible for damages.

For the latest reporting year in the United States, there were approximately 40,000 vehicle crash deaths and over 4.5 million vehicle crash injuries. There were billions of dollars in property damage. Needless to say, you need to be prepared when renting a vehicle.

Insurance options for rental vehicles

When you rent a car, you are going to sign an agreement that states you must return the car to the rental company in the same condition it was in when you first got it, even if the damage was the result of another person’s negligence. When a rental car crash does occur, we are looking at three potential insurance routes.

Rental Car Insurance

You will be asked if you want to purchase insurance through the rental company when you first rent the car. This is not mandatory unless you otherwise do not have personal car insurance. There are four types available:

  • Collision damage waiver: this means the rental company will waive any repair or replacement costs if the vehicle is damaged or lost while in your possession.
  • Liability coverage: this covers property damage and medical costs incurred by other individuals in a car accident you cause while driving the rental. This coverage will overlap with your personal insurance.
  • Personal accident insurance: this pays for any injuries to the rental car driver or driver’s passengers in an accident involving the rental.
  • Persons effects coverage: this covers damaged or lost property that was in the rental vehicle.

Your Personal Insurance

If you own or regularly use a vehicle, you are required by law in your state to have car insurance. Most personal car insurance policies will cover you when you are driving a rental vehicle (there may be exceptions if it is an extended rental). Your personal insurance will provide most of the same coverages offered by the rental company. You may have to provide proof of insurance with the rental company if you do not purchase insurance through them.

Credit Card Insurance

Most rental companies require you to use a credit card to complete the rental. When this happens, you automatically have insurance coverage. This coverage will vary depending on your credit card agreement. The credit card company may pay for any damages that occur to the rental vehicle during the course of the rental. Please know that credit card companies rarely provide liability coverage, which is usually the most important.

What are the most common injuries in rental car accidents?

Rental car crashes are no different than any other vehicle crash. Injuries vary widely, but we often see the following injuries after rental car incidents:

  • Broken and dislocated bones
  • Severe lacerations
  • Internal organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Concussions

These injuries, whether they occur to the rental driver, their passengers, or other parties involved, can become incredibly costly when combined with property damage. It is vital to have adequate insurance coverage. Call us today to speak with an experienced Portland car accident attorney.