Auto insurance can be confusing, but when you rent a car or a truck, it’s even more confusing.
When you drive a rental, how can you know that you are adequately covered?
Are you covered if you injure someone, or if you are injured by an uninsured or an underinsured driver?
Almost everyone has to rent a car at some time, so keep reading, and you’ll get the answers you need about rental cars, liability, and your rights if you are in an accident while driving a rental car.
The answers offered here, of course, are general answers that will apply to anyone who rents a vehicle in the state of Indiana.
Of course, because every traffic accident is different, if you are injured by another motorist while you are driving a rental car in Indiana, you’ll need the personalized legal advice and aggressive representation that an experienced Evansville personal injury attorney will provide.
If you are injured by a negligent motorist while you drive a rental vehicle, who pays for your medical treatment?
The answer will hinge on the answers to two other questions: who is at fault for the accident, and what does the insurance coverage provide?
Before you rent a vehicle, determine if your own auto insurance covers a rental vehicle – the policy may use the term “substitute vehicle” – and determine in what ways your coverage for a rental vehicle is limited.
HOW DOES A SUBSTITUTE VEHICLE CLAUSE WORK?
Most automobile insurance policies include a “substitute vehicle” clause which provides coverage for a temporary vehicle when the insured vehicle is not in “normal use.”
When you carry such a policy and your rental car meets the policy’s definition of a “substitute vehicle,” the car is covered when you rent and drive it as if it were your own.
In deciding who pays for what when a rental car is involved in a traffic accident, the key question is which driver caused the accident.
If you are driving a rental car in an accident, and if the other driver was negligent and is deemed liable, that driver’s insurance company should pay for the rental car damages as well as your own personal injury or injuries.
But if the at-fault motorist was driving without insurance, you may face a tougher circumstance.
If you were driving a rental car and your own auto insurance policy will not pay for the rental car damages and for your personal injury or injuries, you can pay those costs yourself and sue the at-fault driver for reimbursement.
WHY IS UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE SO IMPORTANT?
Of course, it may not be practical to sue someone who would not or could not pay for automobile insurance.
That’s why it is imperative to have uninsured motorist coverage – whether you are driving your own vehicle in Indiana or driving a rental.
If the other party is at fault but uninsured, you will need to make a claim with your own insurance company under your policy’s uninsured motorist provisions.
If you are the at-fault motorist in a collision and you are driving a rental car, you are responsible for all of the damages and injuries, so be certain that you have the proper coverage before you drive any rental vehicle.
If you are injured by a negligent driver in any accident involving a rental car – whether it was you or the other motorist driving the rental – discuss your case and your legal options as quickly as possible with an experienced Evansville personal injury attorney.
At the accident scene, handle an accident involving a rental car just as you would handle any other traffic collision.
Make sure everyone is safe, summon medical care if it’s needed, and call the police.
Exchange insurance information with the other driver, take photos of the scene and the damages, and if eyewitnesses are on the scene, try to get their names and contact information.
IF AN ACCIDENT HAPPENS WITH A RENTAL CAR, WHO SHOULD YOU CALL?
Ask the police officers how you will be able to obtain a copy of their accident report, because you’ll need it.
If you are driving the rental car, you will also need to call the rental car company to notify them about the accident.
Ask the company how you should proceed and how the company handles accidents.
Within 24 hours, you should have a medical exam – even if you don’t think that you’ve been injured – and you should notify your own auto insurance company that you’ve been in an accident, but until you’ve consulted a lawyer, make no statement regarding the accident to any insurance company, don’t sign any document, and don’t accept a settlement offer.
Most rental car companies offer collision and liability insurance, personal accident insurance, and other options.
This insurance may cost you up front, but you’ll need it if your own insurance policy doesn’t cover substitute vehicles and if the other motorist has no insurance.
If you’re not certain what type of insurance coverage you have, or what type you need, talk to the car rental company itself, your own auto insurance agent, or an experienced personal injury attorney.
HOW CAN AN EVANSVILLE PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY HELP?
What’s imperative is making absolutely certain that you are sufficiently covered whenever you drive any vehicle in Indiana.
If you are injured by a negligent driver in or near Evansville – or anywhere in Indiana – while you are driving a rental vehicle, or if you are injured by a negligent motorist who was driving a rental car, speak at once to an experienced Evansville personal injury attorney.
Your attorney will examine the details of the case, protect your rights, explain your legal options, help you file an injury claim, negotiate on your behalf for an acceptable settlement, and if necessary, take your personal injury case to court.
In the state of Indiana, the injured victims of negligence are entitled to complete compensation for their medical treatment, lost wages, pain, suffering, and all other losses and damages arising from the accident and injury.
If a victim has suffered catastrophic, disabling, and/or permanent injuries, that victim will need the maximum possible amount of compensation to cover medical care for years into the future.
He or she will also need an attorney who knows how to prevail on behalf of injured clients, someone who will fight tenaciously and accept nothing less than the full compensation amount that an injury victim deserves and needs.