What happens if you damage a rental car? Do you have to pay for the damage sustained or will the rental car company cover it? Keep reading to learn the answer.
The car rental market made $86 billion in 2020 despite the impact that COVID-19 had on the industry. The industry is expected to reach a CAGR of 7% from 2020 to 2026, reaching $131 billion.
We can assume from the data that more and more people are going to use rental cars from now through 2026. Unfortunately, this means a higher risk of car rental crashes.
What happens if you damage a rental car? Read on to find out.
You Are Responsible
What happens if you damage a rental car? In short, you are responsible for the damages.
Before leaving the rental car company, you sign a contract that says you must bring the car back in the same condition. Because of this, you’ll always want to examine the car before driving it yourself.
Some car rental companies will provide you with a form where you can note any damages you see. It is essential to write down even the smallest scratches or dents because these alone can cost you a pretty penny.
Always ask for a damage report before taking the rental car from the company. It may also be a good idea to take pictures of any damages you see to have additional evidence.
Rental Car Insurance
To avoid paying for damage to a rental car, it is essential to opt for an insurance policy a car rental agency should offer you. The common options include:
- Personal Accident Insurance
- Personal Effects Coverage
- Supplemental Liability Protection
- Roadside Assistance Protection
- Damage Waiver
The first two coverages pay for medical bills, personal effects, and the cost of death. Supplemental liability protection will only cover third-party claims.
Roadside assistance protection helps if you have a car accident in a rental car and need to call a tow truck. It covers the cost of various other incidents as well.
Last, we have the damage waiver. This is not technically insurance, but it can help decrease the liability in an accident if one were to occur.
Before opting for an insurance policy through a rental car company, be sure to read the fine print. Most rental companies will offer these policies or something similar.
You don’t have to leave the lot with insurance coverage, but it is always recommended as accidents do happen.
Why Do Rental Car Accidents Happen?
One of the most common reasons for a rental car accident is that the driver is unfamiliar with the car. There are subtle differences in the brakes, accelerator, turning radius, and control panel even if the rental car is the same make and model as your own.
What Happens if You Damage a Rental Car?
You are obligated to return the car to the rental company in the same condition you rented it in. If you damage a rental car, you will get billed for damages unless you have insurance.
Should You Call a Lawyer if You Damage a Rental Car?
If you are in a rental car accident, you should follow the same steps you would in a regular car accident. This includes taking information from the other driver, getting a copy of the police report, and contacting a lawyer. Call the Falkowitz Law Firm today to speak with a New York City car accident lawyer.
So, what happens if you damage a rental car in a car accident? You should contact us for a free and confidential consultation.
Gary P. Falkowitz is the Managing Partner and Founding Attorney of the Falkowitz Law Firm PLLC‚ one of the premiere personal injury law firms in New York. Gary received his J.D., in 2005 from St. John’s University School of Law and served as an Assistant District Attorney with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.