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: Feb 20, 2013

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Collecting damages after a rental car accident can be tricky, however, you generally have to pursue the driver who caused the accident and not the rental car agency. If the driver in the rental car accident is uninsured, you will need to use your own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on your insurance policy to attempt to recover any damages from your rental car accident.

There is the possibility of recovering your rental car accident damage from the company by lawsuit. If you there is proof the rental agency was somehow negligent in renting the car (e.g. – perhaps they knew that the renter was going to let an unlicensed driver drive the vehicle), then you may be able to recover your damages. This, however, is rare.

Things You Should Know About Rental Car Liability

Before you look to the driver’s auto insurance company however, there are some things you should know. While most collision policies on a driver’s auto insurance covers damage to rental cars, whether true coverage exist really depends on:

  1. Where will you be driving? A sojourn to Mexico probably will not be covered under a personal policy. Or if the accident occurred in a place prohibited in the rental agreement, you may not be able to collect from the negligent driver’s insurance company.
  2. What type of vehicle was the driver driving? If they rented a U-Haul, pickup, motor home or passenger van, there probably will not be covered either.
  3. Who is driving? Even if the primary driver is covered, if the damage occurs while someone who is not a member of their immediate household is driving or someone underage, the personal auto policy may not cover an accident. If the driver is not listed as an authorized driver on the rental agreement, you may be out of luck.

When you cannot collect from the responsible driver’s insurance company, or if the insurance company attempts to deny coverage for one of these reasons, you should contact a skilled automobile insurance claim lawyer to assist you with recovering the damages to yourself and/or your vehicle. State laws regarding insurance can get quite complicated and if you are serious about recovering damages, you will need to hire a the best possible legal help to protect yourself.