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Rental Car Accident Coverage — And What To Do if You’re In a Car Accident

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

Do you need additional car accident coverage? Don’t wait until you have an accident in a rental car to find out.

No-Fault Coverage

In Michigan, every driver of a car must get basic no-fault insurance coverage in order to get a license plate. This insurance covers your lifetime medical expenses if you are in an accident when driving a rental car, but it does not, necessarily, cover property damage or theft.

Before paying for additional insurance, contact your insurance provider and find out if your no-fault policy covers rental cars, including property damage and theft. If it doesn’t, you may want to purchase the extra coverage offered by the rental car company in the rental agreement.

Many credit card companies provide insurance coverage for damage and theft, as long as the card is used to pay the rental fees. This coverage might exclude certain types of vehicles. Also, to be eligible for this coverage, you’ll have to turn down the coverage being offered by the rental car company

Collision and Comprehensive Coverage

If you have collision and comprehensive coverage on your personal vehicles, then this coverage will probably transfer to a rental vehicle. But even if your personal collision and comprehensive policy covers accident-related damage to a rental car, it probably won’t cover the loss of use and diminished value costs that the rental company will seek to collect. Loss of use is the cost of having the vehicle unavailable for rental while it is being repaired, and diminished value is the loss of vehicle value because it has been damaged and repaired.

These additional costs and potential liabilities can add up quickly. By purchasing a collision damage waiver from the rental car company, you will be protected from being held liable for paying these costs.

Without reading the policy language and exclusions to see if your existing collision and comprehensive policy will cover damage to a rental car, it is always better to be safe than sorry in these situations and get the additional coverage.

Think Ahead

The best thing to do is to take a little time before your trip or vacation, contact your insurance company, ask the questions you need to ask about liability coverage, and get something in writing that says your current auto insurance policy and collision coverage extends to a rented vehicle, or does not.

You should consider purchasing rental car insurance under these three conditions:

  • If, for some reason, you aren’t covered under your Michigan auto no-fault policy.
  • To cover property damage and theft, if not already covered by your collision and comprehensive insurance.
  • If you don’t have a credit card that covers property damage and theft protection for you when you rent a vehicle using that card.

One of the best reasons to get some form of rental coverage when you rent a car is that it can offer you complete peace of mind for covering damages of any kind while you are driving the vehicle.

If You Are In An Accident

Accident driving a rented vehicle

The steps you take if you are in an accident driving a rented vehicle are the same as when you are driving your own vehicle, except you need to include communication with the rental car company too.

First, take care of any injuries and contact the local police. Wait for the police to arrive and complete the accident report. In some situations, you may need to file the accident report yourself — particularly if the accident did not involve another vehicle and damage was minimal.

Take photographs of the accident scene and the positions of vehicles before they are removed. Include photographs of license plates and other details. These photographs can be invaluable in later settlement discussions and when filing a claim.

Exchange basic information with the other driver(s), and then call the rental car company — look for emergency numbers to call on your rental agreement paperwork. These numbers are often also kept in the glove box. Also call your own insurance company and give them all the accident information.

Get Legal Advice

If you have questions, or if you aren’t getting what you need from your insurance provider, it might be a good idea to contact a personal injury attorney for guidance.

The professional team at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. are available to assist you, answer your questions, keep costs down, and recover damages if necessary.

Call us toll-free for a no obligation consultation at 1-866-MICH-LAW or use our convenient online contact form.

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Mark is a freelance writer living near Concord, New Hampshire. He works with a range of businesses and professional associations in their strategic messaging and content development projects. He also provides content development services to nonprofits and government agencies, helping them distill complex topics and make information more accessible across multiple platforms. When he's not writing, he enjoys working outside and finds mowing his fields on a warm sunny day to be a peak experience.



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