The claims, settlement, and legal processes for a car accident can get quite complicated — and all the more so when you were driving a rental car. Many people do not pay very much attention to insurance at the rental car counter. You might not know what coverage you have available, how much you are liable for, where to file a claim, or what damages you can collect.
Below we will look at little more closely at applicable coverages, what they may cover, and how to collect damages. To learn how to best move forward with a claim, reduce your liability, and recover your losses, contact our rental car accident lawyer in Pittsburgh at Berger and Green for a free consult: 412-661-1400.
Why is a rental car accident so complicated?
One of the factors that makes rental car accidents so complex is the number of potential parties/policies that may be involved. Some of the insurances that may come into play include:
- Your own auto insurance policy
- Extra coverage you purchased with the rental company
- Coverage with your credit card company
- The other driver’s insurance policy
Your Personal Auto Insurance Policy
Depending on your car insurance policy, your own insurance may cover the damages in a rental car accident. Collision coverage will likely pay for damages to the rental car, but this coverage is optional. You will need to check your policy to see if you carry it. Your medical benefits may cover your medical bills.
If you were responsible for the accident, your liability coverage on your auto policy will cover the damages to the other cars involved, as well as the medical bills and lost wages of anyone involved up to the limits of coverage. You will need to rely on your own medical benefits coverage and/or health insurance to pay for your medical bills.
Rental Car Company Coverage
When you rented the car, the rental car company likely offered you several types of coverage, including:
- Loss-damage waiver: Shields you from financial responsibility if the rental car sustains damage or is stolen.
- Liability coverage: Protects you from lawsuits; it pays for others’ losses in accidents you cause.
- Personal accident insurance: Pays for your medical costs if you are hurt in a rental car accident.
- Personal effects coverage: Insures your personal items that are in the car if someone steals them or they suffer damage in an accident.
You may or may not have needed/purchased these coverages, depending on what other insurance coverage you had. Some people purchase too little coverage when renting a car, while others waste money by double-covering themselves.
In either case, it can be challenging to identify the proper policy under which to file a claim and determining in which order to file multiple claims. Call 412-661-1400 for help.
Credit Card Company Rental Car Insurance
Some credit card companies offer rental car insurance to their cardholders either at a premium, and/or when they use the card to rent the vehicle. You will need to check the fine print of your credit card agreement closely. Most credit card company rental car insurance policies only include collision coverage — which pays for vehicle damage, not medical and other associated costs.
Credit card companies often stipulate that coverage will only be applicable if you declined the collision damage waiver at the time of rental.
Other Driver’s Auto Insurance
If the other party was at-fault for the accident, then you can likely file a claim with their insurance company to recover your damages. Their bodily injury liability and property damage liability should cover your costs, up the policyholder’s limits.
How much can you recover? Pennsylvania requires drivers to carry at least $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident of bodily injury liability, and at least $5,000 of property damage liability. These are the maximum amounts their insurer will pay you if the driver only carries the minimum requirements. In some cases, the other driver may have more than minimal coverage.
This coverage is pretty minimal though, particularly if you sustained substantial damages. If your damages exceed the at-fault driver’s policy limits, you will need to seek supplementary recover via other types of insurance, or by filing a lawsuit.
Note: If you attempt to recover from the other driver, you will need to be able to prove fault. You will have to be able to show that the driver’s negligence is what caused your accident, such as if she was texting while driving or driving under the influence. Your Berger and Green attorney cane help you gather evidence necessary to establish you claim.
If another party caused your accident but fled the scene, you obviously cannot file with their insurer. Instead, you will have to turn to your auto insurance policy for compensation. Your uninsured motorist coverage (UM) will cover any damages you sustain in hit and run situations.
I am confused! How do I tackle my rental car accident claim?
Insurance coverages and claims processes for rental car accidents can seem as clear as mud, and the fine print of insurance policies is enough to make anyone cross-eyed with confusion.
If you are confused about how to move forward, we can help. Our attorneys at Berger and Green have over 40 years’ experience helping accident victims with claims and litigation. We have helped numerous people navigate the claims process and recover sizable settlements for rental car accidents. Perhaps we can do the same for you.
When you work with us, we will help gather your policies, determine coverage and liability, and then file paperwork with the appropriate parties. This reduces stress and legwork on your part, and ensures you do not inadvertently make costly mistakes. And if the case goes to court, we will provide staunch representation as we negotiate and litigate the case.
Contact us today for a free case assessment. After reviewing your case, we will be able to explain exactly what your options are and help you settle matters quickly and in your favor.
Call 412-661-1400 to speak to an attorney in Pittsburgh.