Coverage for Injuries in a Rental Car Accident

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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: Jul 16, 2021

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If you are involved in an accident with a rental car, your own car insurance policy should cover your injuries, but other coverage may be available as well. Your insurance often pays your medical costs from a car accident whether you were driving your own car or a rental car. The policy usually carries a cap on medical expenses per person, such as $10,000.

If the accident happened in a fault state (a state that has adopted a fault-based system of insurance) and another driver was responsible for the accident, that driver’s insurance may ultimately reimburse you for medical expenses. If the accident occurred in a no-fault state (a state that has adopted a no-fault car insurance system), generally your insurance covers your own injuries; however, consult an auto accident attorney for how the laws of your state apply to your situation. If you bought personal accident insurance (PAI) from the car rental company, it may duplicate some of the medical coverage you already have.

Other types of rental car insurance do not pay for injuries. Collision damage waiver (CDW) covers damage to the rental car. Personal effects coverage (PEC) pays for luggage and other personal items damaged in the car accident. Like the PAI, these other kinds of insurance may duplicate what you already have. Your car insurance probably covers damage to the rental car and your homeowners or renters insurance should cover your personal belongings.

You may want to check your own personal car insurance policy before traveling and jot down the following information if you think you will be renting a vehicle at your destination:

  • Deductible
  • Property Damage Coverage
  • Bodily Injury Coverage
  • Coverage for Accidents that Happen Abroad
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Knowing this information will help you make an informed decision about whether or not you need rental car insurance.

Related Content:

Fault and No-Fault Car Accidents: Understanding State Liability Laws
Who Pays if You’re in an Accident in a Company Car?
Who Is Responsible When Your Friend Causes an Accident Driving Your Car?
Was the Car Accident Your Fault? Don’t Panic

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