What Happens if You Damage a Rental Car Without Insurance?

What Happens if You Damage a Rental Car Without Insurance

If you don’t have a car, why would you have auto insurance? Well, if you plan to rent a car at any point it’s definitely something to think about. When you’re renting a car, it’s usually for travel or business, so the last thing you want to worry about is getting in an accident and dealing with insurance. What happens if you damage a rental car without insurance?

Typically, rental companies will offer a temporary insurance plan when you rent a car. Since it can cost a pretty penny, many people opt out of this offer and cross their fingers hoping for the best. Another thing to look into if you have auto insurance is whether it’s going to cover a rental or not. 

It’s important to remember that while you’re saving a buck on the cost of insurance up front, it could be worse in the long run. For example, if you do get in an accident while driving a rental car without insurance, you need to be prepared on what to do. Whether it’s a fender bender in the parking lot or a full crash on the highway, G&G Insurance has you covered. Let’s go! 

6 Things to Do If You’re in a Rental Car Accident 

Alright, so you’ve been in an accident in your rental car. These tips are helpful whether you have insurance or not. So, stay calm, and follow these steps to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible. 

1: Was Anyone Injured?

First, make sure no one was injured. If anyone is hurt, call 911 immediately. This should be the first step whether you have auto insurance or not. 

2: Call 911 or the Police

The next thing you should do is call 911. Even if no one is injured, you need to call the non-emergency police to file a report. After you talk to the police, take down the officer’s name and badge number. You should also get a copy of the report for your records. 

3: Exchange Information With Everyone Involved 

While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, exchange insurance and contact information with everyone who was involved. Get their information, give them your information, and you should also collect information from any witnesses. 

4: Take Pictures and Gather Evidence 

Don’t forget to document everything. Take pictures of the damage as well as the scene. If there are injuries, take pictures and write it down. Skid marks on the sidewalk? Take a picture of it. Nothing is too small of a detail to collect in a car accident. 

5: Call the Rental Company

After you’ve gotten information, call the rental company to let them know what happened. They should have a number to call if there’s an emergency. Ask them what you should do with the car if it’s drivable, and if not where you should have it towed. 

Make sure to take down the name of who you talked to, the date and time for your records. Remember, document everything! They will create and file a report for the accident, as well. 

6: Call Your Insurance Company

If you didn’t get insurance through the rental company, call your personal insurance ASAP. Late claims are likely to get denied. It’s essential to look over your insurance policy to ensure that it will cover a rental car before passing on the insurance they offer. 

What if the Accident Wasn’t My Fault?

If the accident wasn’t your fault, you still need to alert the rental company. They’re going to figure it out when you return a damaged car, anyway! They may ask you to file the claim, or they will file a claim with the other party’s insurance company. 

This is commonly referred to as a third-party claim. If the rental company tries to charge you for any of the damages afterwards, you may need to get a lawyer involved. 

Does My Insurance Cover a Rental Car Accident?

First, if you have auto insurance for your personal vehicle, it’s possible that it covers a rental car.  Before renting, you should go over your policy in detail to make sure you don’t need the insurance through the rental company. 

When you’re looking at your policy, remember that it won’t flat out say that it covers a rental car, but it needs to include the following:

Collision and Comprehensive Coverage 

Collision and comprehensive coverage will pay for damage or loss to the rental, but keep in mind you will likely have to pay your deductible. In the case of a rental, you’ll pay it directly to the rental company since they’ll usually take care of the repairs. 

If you’re the one who caused the accident, there also may be extra fees such as “loss of use” for a damaged vehicle. More on that later. 

Liability Insurance 

Almost every state in the US requires liability insurance as the bare minimum when you buy a car. This is the type of insurance that pays for damage when you get in an accident. If you do have auto insurance, liability should cover you when you rent a car. As always, be sure to check your policy first! 

Homeowners/Renters Insurance 

Yes, we’re still talking about rental cars! Your homeowners or renters insurance protects personal items. It’s going to come in handy if you have belongings in the rental that are damaged, or if the car gets stolen. 

Health Insurance 

If the accident results in an injury, your personal health insurance should help cover medical costs. Make sure to go over your policy and see if the copays and deductibles of your policy are better than the one offered through the rental company. 

Life Insurance 

Another type of insurance to consider is life insurance. We know, this is the last thing you want to think about when renting a car, but having life insurance can help your loved ones if something happens in an accident. 

Rental Car insurance 101

Renting a car involves a lot of paperwork. One thing they’re going to offer you is an insurance policy. The rental agreement states that you’ll give the car back to them exactly as it was when you drove it off the lot. Accidents happen, so it’s important to make sure you’re covered and that the dent in the car doesn’t leave a dent in your wallet. 

If you don’t have a car, you likely don’t have your own car insurance policy. These are what’s usually offered at a rental car agency.

Liability Insurance 

This is similar to the liability insurance you’re required to have if you own a car. It will pay for medical expenses and damage when the accident was your fault. 

Personal Effects Coverage 

Personal effects are your own belongings that may be in the vehicle. It will cover paying for replacements and repairs of personal items. 

Collision Damage Waiver

The collision damage waiver is also known as a damage waiver or a loss damage waiver. When you use a collision damage waiver, the rental company will waive any vehicle replacement or repair costs if the vehicle is damaged. This also waives any cost if the vehicle is stolen.

It’s extremely important to remember that the collision damage waiver ONLY protects authorized drivers. It will not protect third party drivers. So, if you let your friend you’re visiting go for a joy ride and they get in an accident, the waiver won’t do anything. . 

Simply put, a collision damage waiver means you won’t pay for the damages in an accident that wasn’t your fault. Keep in mind you will pay a fee for the waiver, but it’s probably going to be less than the repair cost without insurance. 

Can a Rental Car Company Be Liable?

Generally, the answer to this question is no. The driver is responsible for damages to the vehicle. During unique circumstances, you may be able to consult with a lawyer on whether the rental car company is liable or not. 

G&G Insurance Can Help!

If you’ve been in a rental car accident, or want to make sure you’re covered, G&G Insurance can help! From auto insurance to life insurance, we’ve got you covered. Call us today and we will help you compare rates from the best insurance companies and get you a quote. 

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