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The last thing you want to do is get into an accident when you’re in a rental car or to get hit by a rental car. You know the rental driver pays for insurance with the car, and you know the company has auto insurance, but no one wants the hassle. If you’re driving the car, you never know what you’ll be liable for. If you’re hit by the rental car, you might not be sure who you’ll recover from. While accidents in rental cars are handled like any other crash, a third participant – the rental car company – is added to the mix.
In general, someone who rents a car is responsible for property damage they cause to the rental vehicle and for paying for the vehicle during the agreed upon rental period. If they cause an accident and the rental car only comes with liability insurance, they’ll have to see if their personal insurance will cover the damage. If it won’t, they’ll end up paying a lot out of pocket.
The rental car company will have liability coverage, as required by law, but whether there is comprehensive or collision insurance depends. In many cases, a renter has to purchase additional insurance or a collision waiver when renting the car. If they have complete insurance coverage, they’ll just have to file a claim – like they would with their own insurance – and pay the insurance premium. The rental company takes care of the rest. If they bought a collision waiver, they’re released from being responsible for paying for the damage to the car.
A driver should also inform their own insurance company of the collision. If the driver has their own personal collision or comprehensive coverage, it may cover the rental car. The driver’s deductible may need to go directly to the insurance company to cover damage to the car beyond the company’s policy limit.
The stakes are raised if the driver or someone else is hurt in the accident. The victim will need to file a third-party claim with the rental company’s insurance and/or the driver’s insurance company. If the driver doesn’t have their own car, they won’t have their own liability policy and the victim will have to go to the rental company. However, issues can arise because some rental companies only carry small liability policies. The victim’s injuries could exceed the policy’s limit. If neither the driver’s personal insurance nor the rental company’s policy covers all of the victim’s damages, the victim may file suit against the driver personally.
If you were hurt in an accident that was caused by someone driving a rental car, contact an Illinois attorney right away. You’ll likely deal with the other driver’s insurance, the rental car company, and the company’s insurance. Navigating whose insurance to file a claim with and keeping track of the process can be confusing. An experienced lawyer will help you file all necessary claims, appeal any denials, and recover the assistance you need to move on. Our car accident attorneys serve clients throughout the Chicago area, including Aurora, Elgin, Hinsdale, Joliet, Naperville, and Waukegan. Contact Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. today at (312) 236-2900.