What Happens if You Crash a Rental Car?
by Eric Chaffin | Last Updated: April 11, 2021
For many, renting a car is reserved for special evenings or adventures out of town. For others, a rental car is necessary for business or when a primary vehicle is in the shop. No matter the purpose, your life becomes more complicated if you are involved in a collision while driving a rental car.
Like with any accident, your first thought is likely– who is going to pay for this? The answer to that question is not always clear. In many cases, an insurance policy will step in to cover the damages. However, when insurance is not available, you are not without legal options.
Some sources of insurance coverage in a rental car accident could include:
- Your comprehensive auto policy. Pennsylvania is a “no-fault” state, which means your policy is required to pay for your medical bills and other expenses regardless of who caused the accident.
- The other driver’s liability policy. If the other driver was clearly at fault, their insurance policy might end up taking care of the bill.
- The rental company’s policy. Typically, the responsibility for an insurance claim will fall to your carrier first. There are cases where the rental company policy will pay, including when your policy reaches its limit or if your carrier denies the claim.
- Credit card protection. While not always available, some credit cards offer perks that will cover an accident when the card was used to rent the vehicle.
Determining financial responsibility
To determine which insurance policy– if any– is ultimately responsible for your injury claim or the damage to the rental car, you will need to determine who is at fault. Determining this in a rental car accident is the same as in any collision.
When a driver’s negligence causes an accident, they are legally responsible for the damages.
When the other driver is at fault, their insurance company will be responsible for all of the damages. This is usually the most straightforward outcome, as it eliminates any conflict between you and the rental company.
However, the situation becomes more complicated if you bear some of the responsibility. While you are in a contractual relationship with the rental company, that does not mean you are on the same side. The rental company would come after you for damages if there was not an insurance policy in place.
It is worth noting that these companies are diligent in checking for that coverage. Most drivers with comprehensive auto policies will include rental cars. When that is not the case, the rental companies usually require a driver to purchase supplemental insurance.
In some cases, there is no insurance coverage for the other driver. If that person was negligent, you are not without legal options. You have the right to seek monetary compensation for your injuries directly from that driver.
While collecting on a judgment might be challenging, an experienced attorney could help you pursue the compensation you are entitled to.
How Chaffin Luhana could help
A rental car and the intertwining insurance policies that come with it may complicate an accident, but the process for seeking compensation after the crash is the same. If you have suffered an injury in a rental car accident, you have the right to seek compensation from the at-fault driver.
In many cases, an insurance company will be available to address your claim. An experienced Pittsburgh car accident lawyer could assist you with the claim process from beginning to end. Call us right away and set up a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your options.