What if I Got Into a Car Accident in a Rental Car?

If you had an accident while driving a rental car, your auto insurance policy should cover damages to the vehicle or injuries suffered by your passengers or the other driver involved in the wreck.

If you do not have auto insurance, you may have coverage if you accepted the insurance the rental car agency offered when you rented the vehicle.

Liability Insurance Might Pay Toward Damages from the Accident

Your liability insurance should pay up to your policy’s limits for any injuries or damages that you caused with the rental car. Tennessee requires all drivers to carry a minimum auto insurance amount of:

  • $25,000 for each injury or death per accident
  • $50,000 for total injuries or fatalities per accident
  • $15,000 for property damage per accident.

The State of Tennessee is a fault state which means that a driver who caused an accident is responsible for paying for damages associated with the crash. So, you are on the hook for paying damages if there is proof that you caused the rental car accident.

Collision and Comprehensive Coverage Might Help Pay for Damages

Collision and comprehensive coverage may help if you have these optional insurances in your policy. Unlike liability insurance, Tennessee does not require drivers to purchase collision and comprehensive coverage.

Collision insurance pays for the rental car repairs. Comprehensive coverage pays if the rental car was stolen or damaged by theft, fire or natural disasters. Your auto insurer will expect you to pay your deductible first before using these coverages.

Credit Card Benefits and Rental Car Damages

Some credit cards provide car rental insurance as benefits, but the coverage is usually limited to collision insurance. While collision covers damages that you did to the rental car, it does not cover damage that you did to someone else’s car.

Rental car insurance from credit cards also does not provide liability coverage. So, if you caused a car wreck with the rental car and the other driver suffered injuries, you are responsible for paying for the driver’s damages. Before you use your credit card to rent a car, review your benefits to determine whether you should opt to use your own auto insurance coverage instead.

Purchasing the Rental Car Company’s Insurance

There is no need to if you already have auto insurance and optional policies. A rental agency’s insurance usually provides the same coverage as your own coverage, except for Supplemental Liability Protection. This coverage provides about $1 million of extra liability protection to supplement your minimum liability auto insurance amount that Tennessee requires.

Rental Agency Fines for Damaging the Car

If you are at fault for crashing the rental car, the company may bill you for “loss of use” and administrative fees. The loss of use fee repays the rental agency for the money it would have made had the vehicle been available for rental. If your insurance company does not cover this cost, you will have to pay the loss of use fee out of pocket.

If the Other Driver Threatens to File a Claim

You should contact your auto insurer, and the police, to report the rental car accident and provide details. If the other driver had property damage, that person might ask your auto insurer to pay for the car repairs.

The accident becomes more complicated when the driver has serious injuries and files a personal injury lawsuit. Should this happen, speak to a motor vehicle accident attorney. The Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC have years of experience handling auto injury cases. We can help you in this tough situation.

Protecting Yourself if You Did Not Cause the Rental Car Accident

If the driver files a personal injury claim against you and your auto insurer, then the driver has the burden of proof to show that your negligence caused the accident and the driver suffered damages because of the crash. Without evidence, your auto insurer may deny the driver’s claim.

If you believe you are not at fault for the wreck, our firm can investigate your accident to find out who caused the crash and which party should be held liable for damages.

We may find that the other driver’s negligent actions contributed to the accident. If so, the driver’s total amount of compensation might be reduced based on the driver’s percentage of fault. We will also handle any dealings with auto insurance companies— including your own—and negotiate any settlements on your behalf.

Contact Us Today for Help with Your Rental Car Accident

The Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC has years of experience handling car accident cases, including those involving rental cars. Call our law firm today at 865-999-0868 for a free legal consultation. We do not collect payment unless you obtain a settlement.