On any given day, hundreds of thousands of motor vehicles traverse the roads of Texas. While many of these vehicles are privately owned, a significant percentage are rental cars. In the greater Houston area, which is a major economic hub, visitors arriving at William P. Hobby Airport or George Bush International Airport often rent cars. With so many rental cars on the road, it’s possible to find yourself in a car accident in Sugar Land involving a rental vehicle.
As of 2021, there were over 1.8 million rental cars in the United States. Because the driver and owner of a rental car are typically two different entities, people often have questions about whose insurance applies and how this differs from a typical car accident. In this post, we will address the most frequently asked questions regarding car accidents involving rental cars.
When renting a car from a rental company such as Enterprise or Alamo, the rental car agent will typically ask if you would like to purchase auto insurance. You have the option of buying collision coverage for property damage and/or liability coverage for personal injury caused to others. If the driver chooses to purchase liability coverage, this insurance will often be the first applied in the case of an accident.
In some instances, the driver may have personal insurance that also covers them in a rental car. In such cases, if the auto insurance is exhausted, the personal insurance will usually cover any personal injury damage. To have a comprehensive understanding of how insurance works in rental car accidents, it is advisable to seek the guidance of an experienced auto wreck attorney without delay.
Your first priority should be to assess your physical well-being and that of the other driver. If either of you has sustained serious injuries, call an ambulance immediately. If you don’t require urgent medical attention, exchange insurance information with the other driver and take photos of their insurance card and driver’s license.
In any accident where you’ll be making a claim, it’s essential to call the police, even if there is only property damage. A police report will document the accident and help determine fault. If you experience pain in the hours or days following the accident, see a doctor right away to rule out any serious conditions such as internal bleeding or fractures.
In a rental car accident, fault is determined in the same way as in other car accidents. If you are hit by someone driving a rental car and their negligence caused the accident, then they will be held responsible for the damages. As with other accidents, insurance companies often pay for the damages. However, it is important to determine how each insurer will be involved in the case.
The majority of rental car companies provide insurance coverage for these situations. However, there are occasions where the insurer may deny coverage. For example, the coverage may only apply to drivers who are listed on the rental agreement. If the rental car driver lent the car to a friend or spouse, the rental company’s insurance may not apply.
Personal insurance coverage often follows the driver on any car he or she drives. If the driver had such personal coverage at the time of the accident, the insurance company will step in on behalf of their insured for this claim. However, the coverage may have a certain limit that it can pay for personal injury claims based on the insurance policy. Additionally, the insurance company may require additional proof to show why the rental car company’s insurance does not apply.
If the driver who caused the accident does not have any applicable car insurance policy, you may need to use your own Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage to recover your losses. Insurance companies typically do not increase premiums when drivers use their own UM coverage since they were not at fault for the accident.
If you have been injured in a car accident involving a rental car, it is important to seek the advice of an attorney. Our team at Lone Star Injury Attorneys specializes in helping those who have been injured recover their losses. We do not charge a fee unless you receive compensation for your injuries and losses. Call us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your options for pursuing compensation in the event of a rental car accident.