ClickCease Car Accidents While Driving a Rental Car

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California Car Rental Car Accident Insurance Compensation

How to Deal With Car Insurance Claims for Car Accidents

If you’ve fallen victim to a car accident while driving a rental car, follow through with this step-by-step process to solve this problem:

  • Stay calm.
  • Check if you and other individuals in the car have suffered any injuries.
  • Contact the authorities and notify them about what just happened. Include the injuries you and the other individual(s) suffered. Regardless of the condition you are in, report the accident to the police right away.
  • Get information from drivers involved in the car accident including: names, phone numbers, addresses, and license plate numbers.
  • Get information from key witnesses and passengers, as well. For each key witness, you should attain the same information stated in the previous step.
  • Avoid admitting fault for the accident.
  • Photograph the accident as evidence.
  • Get a copy of the police report. You may request it from the investigating officer.
  • Inform your insurance company or agent about the accident immediately.

Aftermath of an Accident

If your vehicle was damaged due to the other driver’s negligence, their insurance company is expected to cover your rental car costs. If your rental car was totaled, several companies will cover your rental car expenses as a courtesy. However, they are not strictly required to do that.

If you are interested in filing a claim with your own insurance company, the expenses of the car will be paid if you purchased a premium that involves rental reimbursement coverage in your policy.

Considerations on Car Rental Insurance

Car rental companies provide various types of insurance options including:

  • Liability Insurance –  Pays for medical bills and damages to another individual’s property due to an accident resulting from a negligent driver. If you already have insurance on your own car, you do not have to go with this additional protection.
  • Collision Damage Waiver/Loss Damage Waiver –  If you have comprehensive and collision coverage for your own car, this would be unnecessary. This protection typically costs an extra $10-$20 a day.
  • Personal Effects Coverage –  Covers both the renter and passenger(s) for medical expenses from the car accident. If you already have health insurance, disability income insurance, or even personal injury protection under your car insurance, you do not have to get this additional insurance.
  • Personal Accident Insurance – Pays for any theft of personal items that were in the rental car. If you have a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, it will already cover this. If you happen to be traveling on a frequent basis with expensive objects such as jewelry, clothing, or sports equipment, it may potentially be more effective to buy a floater either under your home or renter’s insurance policies. This will ensure that your items are protected when you are traveling. This coverage typically costs about $2-$5 a day.

Additional Car Rental Insurance Advice

  • If you do not have a policy that offers coverage for a rental car, check to see if an insurance rider could be included for a small fee.
  • Get additional details on your long-term rental from an insurance agent or company. If you have a long-term rental then you might expect some limitations on your coverage for what your auto insurance policy offers.
  • If you are not a car owner, take into consideration buying a non-owner auto insurance policy. It offers benefits along with coverage for rental cars.
  • Make sure you pay close attention to your auto insurance policy. Check in with your credit card issuer about the types of benefits that come along with getting auto insurance. There are credit cards that incorporate a specific level of collision and theft protection. In some instances, the credit card company may potentially buy claims after other types of insurance coverage is exhausted.

Uninsured Drivers, Repairs, & Total Loss

If a negligent, uninsured driver caused the accident, then your insurance company is responsible for paying the damages your vehicle has sustained. Your insurance company must have collision or uninsured motorist property damage coverage for this to be applicable. If the damage is repaired because of your collision coverage, there is still a chance you might have to pay a deductible.

For repairs, regardless of the adjuster’s recommendations, you have the right to choose any body shop to have your car repaired at. To get clarification on the process, it is recommended to speak with the claims adjuster about the repair process before making any final decisions.

Lastly, with total loss, if you encounter severe damages from a vehicle collision and the claims adjuster determines the car repair expense is higher than the value of your car, the insurance company may consider declaring your car as a total loss. If this occurs, your insurance company has the decision of taking the title of your car when it issues payment on your claim.

The insurance company is expected to use the Kelley Blue Book value of the car. It is also mandatory for them to cover for what your vehicle is worth before the incident took place. The claim adjuster will review similar cars like yours, including the same make, model, and year, and will also consider your area.

Consequences of Filing a Claim 

Filing an accident with your insurance company may cause your rates to increase. Premium increases are expected when the accident is primarily your fault. However, an insurance company might also increase your premiums if you have additional not-at-fault accidents within a policy period.

Available Damages

Economic Damages
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.

A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss Of Enjoyment Of Life

Punitive Damages
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact are only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help

Our personal injury attorneys will not charge you for a consultation. Our clients are represented on a contingency fee basis. If we do not win, you owe us nothing. There is no financial risk to prevent you from reaching out. Our qualified personal injury lawyers are highly-trained and have extensive experience with cases that are similar to yours. We are committed to helping you resolve your legal issues as quickly as possible while receiving the best results.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of emotional distress from an injury, reach out to our legal team 24 hours a day by calling us at (213) 927-3700 or emailing [email protected].

Read More About Car Accidents 
Our excellent team of car accident attorneys have created several other resources for you to read through concerning car accidents. Feel free to browse these topics and read the ones you would like to learn about more.


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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