What canI do ifI had an accident with a rental car but was not listed on the rental agreement or rental insurance?

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What canI do ifI had an accident with a rental car but was not listed on the rental agreement or rental insurance?

We had a car accident wherein my insured rental car was hit by another car which skidded and lost control. The police/ranger did not issue a ticket to any party and mentioned that this was due to weather conditions. However my rental car was rented and insured by a friend who was not in the car at the time of accident. Now the rental insurance company is asking me to pay for the damage to the car. Actually, earlier the rental manager had agreed that the insurance will cover it in spite of the fact that I was driving the car and was not on the rental and insurance. Now he is backing out.

Asked on March 2, 2011 under Accident Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You will probably have to pay.

1) If you were not a covered driver on the rental, then the insurance does not extend to you--period. An insurance policy is a contract; if the insurance purcahsed only covered your friend, it will not cover you, too, and the rental manager cannot change or alter that.

2) Notwithstanding the above, IF you can show that the rental manager's statement caused you to drive and take an action to your detriment, you *may* be able to sue him and/or the rental for reimbursement; BUT (a) you'd have to sue and win--it's not automatic reimbursement, like with insurance; (b) you'd have to prove what the manager said; and (c) you'd have to prove it was reasonable for you to rely on that statement--i.e. that you had no reason to know or suspect you'd not be covered. This means you'd have to spend the money to sue, you'd have to prove your case, and you would not at all be guaranteed to win. In particular, (c) could be challenge, since it you knew your were not on the insurance, it might not be reasonable to have relied on what the manager said.


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