Whose Insurance Covers Rental Car Costs After a Car Crash?
For most of us, going just a few hours without reliable transportation can make our lives very difficult. That is why crash victims often need to rent a car to get to and from work, to pick up their kids from school or make it to doctor appointments for their injuries. They may drive the rental for several days or longer while their car is either repaired, or while they wait for the check from the insurance company so they can start shopping for a new vehicle.
Renting a car for just a couple days can be quite expensive. Fortunately, these costs are likely to be covered by insurance, particularly after a crash. Below, learn more about how rental car costs may be covered after a crash.
Rental Car Coverage
If your car insurance policy has rental car coverage, it should cover the cost of renting a car after a crash. If your policy does not have this coverage, you may be able to obtain coverage from the at-fault driver’s policy.
Rental car coverage may only apply for a specified time, such as until your car is repaired or you have time to replace your totaled car. There may also be caps on amount per day or total amount allowed for the rental car duration of use. That is why it is important to get your car repaired as fast as possible or get a new car as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may need to pay out of pocket to continue renting a car.
While insurance is likely to cover the cost of renting a car, you may not get the exact rental car you want. You will be limited by the terms of the coverage or what the insurance company will allow. In other words, you may not be able to rent a car that is as big as your own car.
Talk to the insurance company so you are clear on how long they will cover the rental car. You want to make sure you will not receive an unexpected bill a few weeks or months later.
Coverage for Damage to the Rental Car
Fortunately, state law requires all insurance policies to cover damage to a rental vehicle and loss of use of a rental vehicle. Minnesota insurance policies must also extend basic economic loss benefits, liability insurance and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
Minnesota prohibits rental car companies from selling collision damage waivers or other insurance products unless you acknowledge in writing that your personal auto insurance must cover the cost of damage to the rental car.
Optional Rental Car Coverages
You can choose to purchase additional coverage from the rental car company. For example, you can buy a collision damage waiver that eliminates your liability for damage to the car. Another optional coverage is supplemental liability protection that covers you if you cause a crash. However, this coverage does not kick in until you exhaust your other auto insurance coverage. These extra coverages are also not paid for by the insurance company. You will owe the added costs.
Tips on Avoiding Extra Costs
It is important to remember the rental car company will expect the car to be returned in the same condition as it left the lot, aside from normal wear and tear. Other than that, they will hold you financially liable for any damage to the vehicle, even if it is not your fault.
That is why it is important to carefully inspect the vehicle and tell the rental car company about any damage. Make sure the damage is documented. You may also want to take pictures of the vehicle before you leave the lot, so you have photographic proof of how the vehicle was before you drove it.
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