Insurance and Liability's Roles in an Accident in a Rental Car

If you are in an accident while driving a rental car, the first few steps you’ll take are the same as you would for any other accident. You’ll need to check for injuries, tend to any injuries, move the car or yourself to a safe location, and call the police.

At that point, what you need to do varies slightly from what you’d do in an accident involving your own vehicle. As soon as you're able, you’ll need to contact your rental car agency, report the accident and ask them what your next steps should be. You’ll also want to call and inform your insurance company.

Below, we’ll discuss some of the basics of rental car insurance and how liability might be handled if ever you’re involved in a wreck.

Who covers the rental car accident?

If a driver of another vehicle was completely responsible for the accident, his or her insurance company would need to foot the bill. But who pays for the damages if you were at fault or if the other driver doesn’t have enough insurance? It depends on both your personal auto insurance policy and any coverage you purchased at the rental car agency.

Rental car companies usually offer the following types of coverage.

  • Collision Damage Waiver  (essentially comprehensive coverage for your rental car)
  • Liability (pays for others’ damages when you’re at fault)
  • Personal Accident Insurance (covers you and your passengers’ medical bills)

They are optional though, and you may or may not have purchased them.

In most cases, your own auto insurance policy will kick in first. This is, of course, supposing that your policy covers accidents in rental cars. Most policies with collision and comprehensive do cover them; if you’re unsure of what your coverage includes, contact your insurance agent.

If you purchased rental car insurance when you took out the rental, it will usually kick in next. Much depends upon the types and limits of the coverage you purchased.  And in some situations, your credit card company might pay for any deductibles you are obligated to pay.

You will want to review your personal policy, the rental car policy and your credit card policy carefully to determine how they work together. If the technical details are confusing, you can discuss them with a lawyer in your area.

Need legal advice after an accident in a rental car? Call Walker, Billingsley, & Bair

If you have been hurt in a rental car accident, the insurance policies and how they work can be exceptionally confusing. When you call our office to speak to a lawyer about your accident, we'll review your policies, explain the best way to move forward and then help you with any legal tasks necessary.

Call Walker, Billingsley & Bair in Des Moines today at 515-440-2852 for a free consultation.

Corey Walker
With 19 years legal experience, Corey has been recognized for his work as an injury attorney.