I was renting a car and did decline the Supplemental Liability Insurance. I had an accident. Am I not protected against small claims from the rental?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Sep 14, 2012

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Insurance Question from Manhattan, NY

Asked on 09/14/2012

I was renting a car and did decline the Supplemental Liability Insurance. I had an accident. Am I not protected against small claims from the rental? I was renting a car from Budget Rental Car. I had an accident, which lead to another car beeing damaged in the state of New Jersey. Their Leaflet says the normal liabiility protection protects anyone driving the car up to the minimum financial limits required by the law of the jurisdiction in which the accident occurs. The damage of the other car is below 3000$, but rental is still claiming this money from me. They are arguing that this liability does not protect me from them having a claim on me, but it would only prevent the other car owner to have a claim. Seems strange. Thanks a lot!

Answer given on September 16, 2012

If you rent a car and do not take their supplemental insurance coverage, then you are providing your own liability insurance from your insurance policy. Most auto insurance companies will cover a rental car as if it is your own, and the deductibles that you have on your car, such as collision and comprehensive coverage will apply ss well as liability insurance.If you cause an accident, then your insurance company will pay to repair the other parties car, and the rental car less your deductible. However, if the rental car is out of use while being repaired, you are responsible for the lost time of use for that car. Check with your insurance company and be sure they have settled with the rental car company for the damages to their car, less your deductible. If so, then you need to contact the rental car company and see what they need from you. If your insurance company has not paid for any repairs, you need to work with them to get that part settled.

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