Do You Have to Get Insurance for a Rental Car?

Whether you are visiting another state or just got into a car accident, renting a rental car comes with some important questions. The most important one being, “do I have to get insurance for a rental car?” It is always better to be safe than sorry when operating any vehicle. Here in Florida, there are a few things you should be aware of whether you are a Floridian yourself or if you are visiting for vacation! Our Florida car accident lawyers are available to help you if you find yourself victim in a rental car accident.

Family in the car on vacation, smiling and looking happy and excited

Different Types of Rental Car Insurance

There are usually 4 different types of rental car insurance that rental car companies offer.

  1. Collision/Loss Damage Waiver
    • This coverage technically isn’t ‘coverage’ at all. This waiver just states that the rental car company cannot come after you if there is any damage done to the rental car or if there was theft of the car
  2. Liability Insurance
    • This covers damage that you do to someone else’s vehicle or property
  3. Personal Accident Insurance
    • This covers you and your passengers’ medical expenses
  4. Personal Effects Coverage
    • This protects any of your belongings if they are stolen from the rental car up to a set amount

Do You Already Have Coverage

A lot of car insurance already covers rental cars!

The main thing you need to remember is when you are renting a car you are contractually obligated to bring back the rental car in the same condition you received it in. You just need to make sure with your car insurance company you have the correct coverage for rental cars. If not, using the rental car insurance provided as an option is better! There are a few things to think about and look for when seeing if your car insurance will cover a rental car.

When you look at your own car insurance, checking to see if you have comprehensive and liability coverage is a good indicator that you have enough coverage for the rental car. Comprehensive insurance covers repairing or replacing your vehicle which is similar to the collision/loss damage waiver that car rental companies have as an option.

The next thing you need to think about is the type of rental car you are getting.

If you have an older car that you’ve based your car insurance coverage on and you are renting a newer, more luxurious car, your coverage might not be enough! It is important to make sure you have enough coverage for whatever rental car you are renting. You do not want to be stuck in a situation where your own coverage isn’t enough and paying out of pocket is the only option. Purchasing the proper car insurance from the rental company would be your best option at this point!

A third option for rental car coverage. 

Something not a lot of people know, especially people new to the rental car process, the credit card you use to rent the car might have coverage for you. For this, you just have to call your credit card company and ask what type of coverage they offer for rental cars.

Involved in a Rental Car Accident

What happens when you find yourself involved in a rental car accident?

The first thing you should do is file a report with the police and get any passengers or yourself checked for any injuries that may have come from the accident. The next thing you should do is file a report with the car rental company. Depending on whether or not you were found at fault for the accident will affect how you handle the situation.

If you are at fault: 

If you are at fault for the accident, the rental car company will hold you accountable for repairing the rental car back to the condition it was rented at. They will provide you with information on who to call to get it towed if it is not drivable and where to take the rental car to get fixed. The rental car company is not liable to pay for the damages caused to the rental car if you were in a car accident. The Florida Supreme Court made this decision due to the amount of rental car accidents that occur in Florida each year. However, if you can prove that the rental car company is somehow negligent for the accident then they would be liable for the damages to the rental car.

Not at Fault: 

If you were not at fault for the accident, then the person who caused the accident would be responsible to cover damages. It is good to note though, if you purchased the collision damage waiver from the rental car company, you would be covered for damages regardless! Keep in mind that this will not apply to an accident that was caused by reckless driving or breaking the rental agreement. The collision damage waiver only covers the rental car damage, so all medical expenses would need to be covered by either your PIP or the at fault driver’s insurance. When you are found victim in a rental car accident and want to go after the at fault driver for compensation, having a Steinger, Greene & Feiner car accident lawyer fighting for your justice is powerful!

If you are injured in a car accident in Florida, reach out to our team of experienced accident lawyers. We will review the details of your rental car accident and advise you of the options available to you under current state law. You may be able to seek compensation for property damage, injury, and more. Call us today!

About The Author

Michael Steinger

Michael Steinger

The Florida BarFlorida Bar Young Lawyers DivisionMillion Dollar Advocates ForumMillion Dollar Advocates ForumBest Workers Compensation Attorneys in MiamiBest Car Accident Lawyers in MiamiLawyers of distinction

MICHAEL S. STEINGER, founding partner of Steinger, Greene & Feiner, believes in representing real people, not big businesses. Since the firm’s creation in 1997, Steinger, Greene & Feiner has never represented an insurance company or large corporation, and he vows to keep this promise. Over the course of his career, Michael has handled thousands of Florida accident cases, recovering millions of dollars for his clients and earning him membership into the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Staying up-to-date on the ever-evolving laws protecting injury victims and their families, Michael is an active member of the American Bar Association, the Palm Beach, and St. Lucie Bar Associations, and sits on the Auto Insurance Committee of the Florida Justice Association.