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Accidents in Rental Vehicles — Will You Be Insured?

Car rental signI get calls frequently from people who have rented a vehicle and are involved in a crash.  Most of the time, they have put themselves into a difficult situation without even realizing it.  When you rent a vehicle, your insurance may not cover you!

Here are a few scenarios to consider if you plan to rent a car or other vehicle.

"I Just Let My Boyfriend Drive it for One Block… and He Hit a Parked Car"

I did get a call the other day from someone who had rented a truck for moving purposes.  The vehicle was rented in the girlfriend’s name.  But the boyfriend drove the truck “only for a block or so.”  He still managed to strike a parked vehicle.

What happens in this situation?

You should start by making a claim with both the rental vehicle’s insurer and your own auto insurer.

The problem is that most likely both claims will be denied.

Why?

Because your rental coverage only covers the drivers you disclose.  If an “unauthorized driver” (boyfriend) is not specifically identified in the leasing documents, you’re probably out of luck.

Similarly, unless your auto coverage specifically covers rental vehicles, and/or you specifically informed them of this, you might also be denied coverage.

 "Does My Credit Card Cover Me in a Rental Car Accident?"

If you used a credit card to rent the vehicle, perhaps your card covers rental vehicles.  Some do, but not all.

"My Daughter Is Driving to Spring Break with Her Friends and They are Sharing a Rental Car"

Without getting into the myriad of ways this could turn into a disaster (teens driving, distracted by other teens, perhaps inebriation involved) on its face, let’s just look at the problems with insurance coverage.

As stated above, not everyone in the vehicle will be covered by insurance unless the rental agreement specifically identifies each one.

And yet, if you properly list everyone, you will likely face other issues.   

If the drivers are young, many policies will restrict the number of passengers in the vehicle.

Rental car companies also typically limit rentals to younger drivers, often charging more for those under 25.  The rules vary by company and by state. 

In short, this would be a bad idea on multiple levels.  Perhaps pay for a plane ticket instead.

"I Only Drive Once in Awhile, So I Rent A Car"

Same rules apply as before.  It doesn’t matter if you are renting a vehicle for an hour, a day, or a block.  Coverage will be denied if a non-specified driver is driving, doesn’t have a valid license, or otherwise violates the leasing agreement.

Contact Chicago Auto Accident Lawyer Stephen Hoffman

As in all cases involving injury and potential liability, immediately get medical treatment, report the crash to police and your own insurance company, and contact an auto accident lawyer.

If you've been in an auto accident and have questions, contact Chicago personal injury attorney Stephen L. Hoffman for a free consultation at (773) 944-9737. Stephen has nearly 30 years of legal experience and has collected millions of dollars for his clients. He is listed as a SuperLawyer, has a 10.0 rating on Avvo, and is BBB A+ accredited. He is also an Executive Level Member of the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce.

Stephen handles personal injury and workers' compensation claims on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything upfront and he only gets paid if you do. Don’t wait another day, contact Stephen now.

Categories: Auto Accidents

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