Your own automobile insurance policy most likely covers you while you are driving a rental vehicle. Nonetheless, you should double check how much coverage you have and how much of your policy applies to a rented vehicle. Read through your personal auto insurance policy prior to picking up your rental car. If your own coverage does not fully extend to a rental car, you have the option to purchase additional coverage from the car rental company.
Also keep in mind that if the other driver causes your accident, his or her liability insurance should cover your injuries.
Liability Insurance and Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI)
If, while driving the rental car, you cause an accident and someone else is injured as a result, you are legally responsible. Therefore you want to be sure you have enough liability insurance on your personal insurance policy and that it extends to a rental car.
In the event that your own insurance does not cover rental vehicles, you have the option of purchasing Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI). SLI is also referred to as Liability Insurance Supplement (LIS). This can cover you if you cause an accident.
Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)
Most car rental companies give the option of purchasing what is called a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) from the rental company at the time you pick up the rental. This waiver covers the cost of damage to the rental vehicle. It is important to know that this is not insurance.
Rather, the rental car company is offering to waive the portion in its contract stating that you are legally liable for loss or damage to the rental car. This is sometimes referred to as a Physical Damage Waiver (PDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW). Some credit cards also provide collision insurance coverage, provided you charge the rental car on the credit card. The type of coverage will vary by the type of credit card you have. Check with your credit card company to find out if they offer this protection.
Additional Rental Car Accident Insurance Coverage
Rental car companies may also provide the following options:
- Personal Effects Insurance (PEI) or Personal Effects Coverage (PEC), which covers loss or damage to your personal belongings; and
- Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) in the event of accidental injury or accidental death.
The Ohio Department of Insurance now requires rental car companies to provide customers with a brochure thoroughly explaining the terms of each of the insurance packages they offer.
Is the rental company ever liable for damages?
There is a special duty placed upon a rental company to ensure that the vehicles delivered to its customers are in a roadworthy and safe condition. If the vehicle is unsafe and contains defects or was not properly maintained, then the rental car company or even the car manufacturer may be liable. An attorney can help you determine if the rental company was negligent and therefore liable for damages.
If you think you have a claim against a car rental agency or you are involved in a rental car accident and need legal assistance, speak to a personal injury attorney. For a free case evaluation, call Ryan, LLP in Cleveland. Call us at 877-864-9495.