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Dealing with a rental car accident is one of the last things you want to do when you’re on vacation. But between driving a car that isn’t yours and navigating unfamiliar roads, don’t overlook the possibility that you could be involved in a car accident.
Rental Car Insurance In New York: Do You Really Need It?
In many ways, handling an accident in a rental car is similar to what you would do if you crashed your own vehicle. But with the added layers of your car rental contract, rental insurance can be a little more complex for you to arrange.
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Although it may seem like a normal situation, make sure everyone in the vehicle is okay before doing anything else. Check the surrounding area with other cars involved.
As with car accidents, stay on the side of the road if possible. If the accident is more serious, call 911 if someone is injured. And if the explosion is dangerous, clear the area.
Once you have determined that the area is safe, exchange contact and insurance information with other parties involved. The information to be exchanged should include:
If law enforcement is involved, be prepared to show them your driver’s license, vehicle registration card, proof of financial responsibility and your current address.
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When interacting with other parties involved in the accident, do not tell other drivers or the police that the accident was yours (even if you think it was). Be nice, but avoid saying things like “I’m sorry” or “I should have paid more attention,” as they can be used against you later, and sometimes without protection from your insurance company. . Instead, use phrases like “Are you okay?” to show love without admitting wrongdoing.
If there are other groups in trouble, it is best to wait for the police to arrive before joining. You don’t want to end up arguing with other drivers or passengers.
Be careful when joining other groups. Don’t sign statements of fault or promises to pay for other parties’ damages – and if they offer to pay for your damages or take them away, don’t sign anything.
Most importantly, do not tell other parties that you are driving a rental car, as some may try to take advantage of the situation and blame you.
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Take the time to gather information about the incident. Take notes (using the notes feature on your phone is fine), and take lots of photos.
Although the steps listed here reflect the steps you would take if you were driving your own vehicle, rental car accidents and other paperwork.
If possible, call your car rental company and inform them of the incident. There is usually a sticker with an emergency number in the glove box or an emergency number written on your car rental contract.
Ask the company how to proceed. Usually the car rental company will fill out their own version of the incident report, which is the same information you collected above.
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If you rely on your auto insurance policy as your primary source of coverage, notify them of the accident to prepare a claim for the damage.
For example, if your deductible is $400 and the damage costs $10,000, you will have to pay the first $400 for repairs and your insurance company will pay the rest. Be sure to check with your insurance company for any additional insurance you may have purchased or leased.
Find out what your claim is covered, what your insurance company covers and what the car rental company covers. If you booked your rental car with a credit card that offers rental car payments, it may help pay for any damage to the rental car in the event of an accident.
Collision Damage: If you have your own insurance policy with collision and comprehensive coverage, this also extends to your rental car. If your policy doesn’t cover that, you may want to consider purchasing it from your rental car company. Otherwise you will pay for the damages.
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Damage to others: If you have liability insurance, this also extends to rental cars. If not, you can buy it from the rental office, and you will pay for the damage to other people’s vehicles and property.
Don’t rely on your credit card for this. While some credit cards offer rental car coverage, liability insurance usually doesn’t cover it. If you don’t have auto insurance, it’s a good idea to buy this – if you’re on the hook for the medical and auto repair costs of other people involved in the accident.
Additional dates for car rental: If you do not have rental coverage on your policy, you may still owe the rental company for additional days as if you were still renting the car. If the car needs to sit for a week for repairs, you may have to pay an extra week to “rent” the car. You can avoid that expense by purchasing additional insurance or collision damage waivers from your car rental company.
Primary insurance is the type of insurance that kicks in first if you file a claim. Some insurance policies provide full coverage for an accident as long as you pay the money, which means you pay the costs of the car you were hit by (if you were at fault) and damage to your rental car.
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Secondary coverage can cover costs and expenses that your primary insurance policy won’t cover, such as refunding your deductible. Even if you are using secondary coverage, you must still file that primary insurance claim, which may increase your insurance rates.
Some credit cards, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, offer premium coverage — a great benefit that can adjust the card’s annual fee because the meaning that you do not have to file a claim with yourself. insurance company.
If your card offers primary insurance coverage, you’ll usually have to waive the collision damage waiver or similar coverage offered by your rental car company to qualify for primary coverage – if the coverage is secondary. .
Many other travel credit cards offer secondary coverage. Savings can still be beneficial if you’re involved in an accident, even if it’s not very generous.
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Keep in mind that most travel credit card rental copays do not cover private vehicles such as RVs or luxury cars, loss or damage covered by your own auto insurance, long-term rentals, rentals or in foreign countries.
Regardless of whether it was your fault or not, your towing company must still be paid, as the company is obligated to repair the car as soon as possible. Your insurance company is in charge of following up with the responsible party, and you may be reimbursed.
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Not only is one of the best things to do when planning a fun road trip, but planning how you can handle an accident in a rental car is expensive, rather than waiting until you arrive. take a vacation to think it through.
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Check if your credit card offers rental car insurance. Although there is an annual fee involved, paying for your rental car with a credit card provides a second – or better yet, first – option that ends up saving you money.
Consider purchasing rental car insurance on your own. If your insurance policy does not cover car rentals, and you do not want to buy insurance from a car rental company, there is a third option: buying rental car insurance through a third-party rental car insurance company such as Allianz Global Assistance or Bonzah.
Make sure you have some type of insurance. Regardless of where you got your insurance from, you need some type of insurance to drive to the U.S. If you are involved in a crash even though you are not covered by insurance, your license will be suspended.
One more thing: This guide only applies to vintage rental cars. For rental trucks and trailers – let’s say you’re looking for U-Haul insurance – standard rental policies may not apply.
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Your primary car insurance will cover your rental car if you are using it for personal use, but it depends on the policy. The coverage limits and deductibles specified as part of your primary insurance also apply to the rental car.
Some credit cards offer rental car coverage if you’re in an accident
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