What happens if you’re hit by someone driving a rental car? Do you need to do anything different at the accident scene? Whose insurance covers the damage?
These are common questions that our car accident attorneys get asked when a driver is injured in an accident caused by someone driving a rental car. Overall, rental car accidents are very similar to other car accidents, and you should take the same steps after the accident. The major difference is the insurance coverage issues, which can be more complex in a rental car accident case.
What Do I Do If I’m Hit by Someone Driving a Rental Car?
If you got hit by a rental car, your initial steps are largely the same as with any other type of car accident. On the scene, call for emergency help if needed, obtain a police report, take lots of photographs of the scene and any visible injuries (if you are well enough to do so), get the names and insurance information of the drivers, and obtain any contact information of witnesses. In addition, for a rental car accident, get the name of the rental car agency and if possible, the exact location the other driver rented from.
Who Pays for the Damage If Someone Hit Me in a Rental Car?
The main way car accidents involving rental cars are different from other car accidents is in who pays for the damage. The answer will depend on your situation, but the following are the main parties who may be responsible for paying if the other driver was at fault.
Other Driver’s Insurance
The other driver’s personal vehicle insurance may cover the claim since their coverage follows them regardless of what car they are driving. This means that even though they were driving a rental car, their regular insurance covers them.
Rental Car Insurance
If the other driver didn’t have their own policy, there is a good chance that they were required to purchase liability insurance from the rental car agency. Unfortunately, people often chose the lowest policy possible (or avoid purchasing the insurance at all) to save money, which could leave a big gap between the amount covered and the amount of damages.
If none of the other options for payment are viable, you may need to rely on your own personal car insurance to cover some or all of the costs of the accident.
In car accident cases involving rental cars, it is common to have to rely on a combination of the applicable insurance policies to ensure that all damages are covered. What policies cover what damage and in what amounts depends on the terms of the insurance agreements, which are considered contracts in the eyes of the law.
Insurance Coverage Issues in Rental Car Accidents
From a liability standpoint, rental car accidents are like other car accidents. The negligent or otherwise at-fault driver is responsible for the damage they caused, but it is the insurance company that usually has the financial obligation to pay.
The main difference between the two is that insurance issues in rental car cases are often more complicated. Some common insurance issues that arise after you’ve been hit by a rental car:
- The driver of the rental car had zero or minimal insurance coverage through their personal or rental insurance.
- The driver of the rental car was not authorized to be driving the rental car.
- The rental company did not have insurance on the vehicle.
- All insurance companies point the finger at another insurance provider or party.
- Involved insurance companies give low-ball offers that do not cover all of the damage.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer
As a top California personal injury law firm, Gomez Trial Attorneys is used to dealing with insurance companies on our clients’ behalf. Insurance companies do not like us — and this is a good thing for you.
Insurance companies know that our car accident attorneys are experienced advocates who are willing to take a case as far as we need to in order to receive full and fair compensation for our clients.
Not sure if you have a case? Not sure if an attorney is right for you? Contact us for a free case evaluation.