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Legal Issues Following a Rental Car Accident

Car accidents of any kind are both stressful and unfortunately common in the United States. Due in large part to the increased number of distractions that drivers face today (hello, smartphones), we are seeing more car accidents take place on a daily occurrence than ever before. Being involved in an auto accident with your own vehicle is overwhelming enough, let alone if you are in an accident with a rental car. Vacations are supposed to be carefree and a time to relax and recharge from our hectic lives. Whether it is your fault or the fault of another driver, if you are in a car accident with a rental vehicle, it is important that you understand your rights and what steps should be taken immediately following the collision.

Renting a car – whether for business or personal reasons – means that you will likely be driving a car that is unfamiliar to you. In addition to having to learn how to safely navigate a car that you have never driven before, you will probably be driving in a location that you are also unfamiliar with. These two factors combined can often spell disaster. Even the safest of drivers may find themselves involved in a car accident when renting a vehicle. If you’ve ever rented a car before, you are likely aware of how strongly the car company recommends rental insurance. For many people, the high price of rental insurance hardly seems worth it, especially if you are a ‘good driver’. However, as soon as you find yourself sitting on the side of the road waiting for the police to arrive following some sort of collision, you will probably be wishing you had taken the plunge and accepted the rental insurance fees. This point aside, the majority of the steps following an accident with a rental car are the same as with your own vehicle – but not all.

Let’s take a look at some of the top legal issues that may arise following a car accident involving a rental vehicle:

  • Make sure you report the accident immediately. As with any other car accident, it is imperative that you report the accident to the police right away. Where a rental car accident differs is that the reporting you must do hardly ends with the police. Depending on which car company you used, you should have documentation about how to report an accident in the paperwork from the rental company. It is of the utmost importance that you follow the terms of agreement with the rental company following an accident, so it may be a good idea to ask a company representative for clarification before you drive the car off the lot.
  • Your personal insurance may not be enough. Many people believe that their personal auto insurance is sufficient when renting a car. While this is true in many cases, it is not always the case, unfortunately. Before you rent a car, be sure and contact your personal insurance company to see what is covered. If need be, you may need to purchase additional coverage before you rent a car, just to ensure all your bases are covered.
  • Is collision coverage through the rental company necessary? As mentioned above, many car companies will try and pressure you into accepting their rental insurance. It is important to note that you do not need to purchase this additional coverage, as long as your personal plan covers you. Be sure to review your coverage before you rent, just in case. There is typically a lot of fine print involved with renting a car, which can contain loopholes which could get you in trouble in the event of an accident.

One last thing to consider is that your credit card company may provide extra insurance and coverage for rental car accidents. This may be worth looking into before you head out for vacation, just to make sure you will be covered in the event of an accident. Rental car accidents are often times tricky, especially when insurance companies get involved. If you are in need of rental car accident attorney in Dallas, please contact Rad Law Firm today. We are here to answer any questions you may have and will do our best to help you understand your rights following any sort of collision involving a rental car.