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rental car accident liability

Legal Liability for Car Accidents in Rental Cars

Are you covered for an accident in a rental car?

When you rent a car, you are in an unfamiliar vehicle, often driving in an area you don’t know. Unfortunately, this can be a recipe for accidents. If someone else causes the accident, you can sue that person for damages. When you cause it, though, you will often depend on liability insurance to help pay the costs. Depending on your circumstances and your coverage, this can present its own problems.

Rental Company Insurance

Rental car companies want you to sign up for their insurance coverage, because it helps protect their investment in the car you are driving. In some ways, it can seem like a great deal; it removes the worry of having to pay for damage to the car you rent. Still, these policies are not just passports to a worry-free experience. They carry details and exclusions that may keep you from being fully protected. If you cause damage that the policy does not cover, or more damage than the limits provide, you can be liable to the rental company or another driver for the difference.

Rental Coverage from Your Insurer

Your own car insurance plan often includes liability coverage for rental vehicles. Here too, you need to look at the fine print. Understand what the policy covers and what it does not. If your liability limits are lower for rental cars than in your own vehicle, you may want to supplement with the rental company’s policy. 

Loss of Use

One category of damages that can create problems is loss of use coverage. Every day that the rental company can’t use a car, it loses potential rental fees on it. Beyond the damages that you can owe for the vehicle itself and injuries and property damage for another driver, this can create a significant, expensive liability for you–even if you did not cause the accident. Your personal policy may or may not include it, though the rental company’s policy usually will.

If you have been in a rental car accident, contact Eisenberg Law Offices online or at 608-256-8356.