Who Is Responsible in a Rental Accident?
The moments following a car accident are always confusing. When you’re in a car accident with a rental car, however, the confusion can be even greater. You will still need to determine who was at fault for the accident. You will also need to determine what insurance coverage will apply. Do you have to go through your own car insurance company? Or will the coverage provided by the rental agency cover you? What about the insurance provided by the credit card that you used to pay for the car rental?
These are just a few of the questions that will likely run through your mind in the aftermath of an accident involving a rental car. We provide the answers below. To discuss the specific facts of your case, make sure to contact our experienced car accident attorneys at Englander Peebles. We will provide a free consultation.
Determining Fault in a Car Accident
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Fault in any car accident is always established by determining which driver breached his or her duty of care. All drivers have a responsibility to act with a certain of duty of care on the road. When a driver breaches that duty by speeding, driving while impaired, driving while distracted, failing to obey traffic signs and signals or engaging in other types of careless and reckless behavior, the driver may be considered negligent.
After a crash, it is not only drivers who can be at fault. Auto manufacturers and auto parts manufacturers can also be fault if any part of the vehicle is faulty or defective. For instance, defective brakes can cause an accident. This type of fault is not always evident right away after a car crash. However, after a Florida car accident attorney from Englander Peebles investigates the accident, we may find that an automotive defect served as the cause.
In some cases, the rental car agency may also hold partial blame for the accident. Under Florida law, a rental agency is shielded from liability which is based solely on its ownership of the car involved in an accident. However, a rental agency is not immune from any liability due to its own negligence. If the company failed to maintain a vehicle, knew a vehicle was unsafe before renting it out (or should have known that the vehicle was unsafe), the rental company could be liable for a crash.
Can I Use My Personal Car Insurance?
It is illegal to rent a car in Florida without having mandatory insurance. So, unless you have this insurance, you will need to get insurance provided by the rental company or your credit card company.
Under Florida law, one type of mandatory insurance is personal injury protection (PIP). This insurance will cover your medical bills and lost wages up to the policy’s $10,000 limit. The other type of mandatory insurance is $10,000 in property damage liability coverage. This covers the property damage that you may cause another driver to sustain in an accident when you are at fault.
Should You Get the Car Rental Company’s Insurance?
A rental insurance company may offer you many different types of insurance at the checkout counter. Many renters think this insurance is mandatory when renting a vehicle, but it is not. If you have your own auto insurance coverage, or if you are using a credit card that offers rental insurance, you may not need to pay the additional costs for insurance offered by the rental company.
Some different types of insurance that the rental company may offer you are:
- Collision damage waiver – This type of insurance protects you in case the rental car is damaged or stolen while you are in control of it. However, you may already have this insurance through your personal insurance policy.
- Supplemental liability insurance – This insurance will protect you if you should cause an accident. If you do not have liability insurance, then you should get this coverage. Most rental insurance policies will provide up to $1 million in coverage.
- Personal accident insurance – This insurance will provide medical benefits in case of an accident. If you have PIP coverage, then this coverage may not be necessary.
- Personal effects coverage – This insurance will cover losses that you suffer if someone steals your personal items from your rental car. However, if you have homeowners’ insurance, this may simply be duplicate coverage.
What Is Credit Card Company Rental Insurance?
Some credit card companies offer car insurance if you use the company’s card to pay for the rental. This type of insurance varies widely between different credit card companies. So, it is always best to speak with the company and determine what exact coverage it provides before you rely on this insurance.
Using credit card insurance is convenient because you already have the card. So, you should be automatically insured. However, these insurance policies may cover only cover collision damage and theft protection. This will help you with the rental agency as – regardless of who was at fault for the accident – you may be responsible for any damage to the vehicle. Credit card rental insurance often does not include PIP. So, make sure you have this coverage in the event of an accident, either through your own insurance company or the rental agency.
Get Help from a Florida Car Accident Attorney
After a rental car accident in Florida, you may not understand what to do next or which insurance company to turn to for help. At Englander Peebles, we understand the many different insurance laws, and we are here to help you. If you have been involved in an accident and are now wondering if you are covered and how you are going to claim insurance benefits, contact us today for your free case evaluation. We will go over the many different types of insurance that may cover you and pursue all compensation that you are entitled to receive. If an insurance company refuses to pay what you are owed, you can count on us to fight for you.
At Englander Peebles, we understand the pressure people face when they are seriously hurt in an accident and are facing off against a large insurance company. As the bills mount, so does the stress. And the most frustrating part is that you can be victimized a second time if the insurance company refuses to pay in full, putting your financial future in jeopardy.