• What Happens If the Rental Car Is Involved in a Hit and Run

    Being involved in a hit-and-run accident in a rental car can be just as disturbing as an accident in your own car, and it definitely involves more paperwork. However, being aware of what you need to do and the rights that you’re entitled to will help keep you from being further victimized in this situation. Unfortunately, in your typical hit-and-run accident, the other driver is never found and you are usually left to deal with the damages by yourself, regardless of whether or not you were at fault. 

    Your Existing Insurance Coverage 

    The amount and type of paperwork needed to deal with a rental accident, as well as the expenses involved, all boil down to one thing: your insurance coverage for the rental car. One of the main things that a rental company will ask you to provide before you rent is proof of insurance. What they are concerned with when it comes to your insurance is the collision and comprehensive that is covered in your policy, as these will apply to the rental car should it be involved in an accident while you are driving it. 

    Declining Extra Insurance from the Rental Company 

    After checking your insurance, the rental company will likely ask if you want extra insurance. Should you decline this offer, your insurance company will basically be held responsible to pay for the damage to the rental car. However, this will be subject to the terms of your policy, and you will probably still end up having to pay a large sum up front to cover your deductible. Unfortunately, fault for the accident isn’t much of an issue at this point. The rental company has the right to demand that the car be repaired as soon as possible, and in the case of a hit-and-run accident, it may take forever to find the person responsible. On top of that, the restrictions of your policy may mean that you could end up paying even more than just the deductible. If your policy does not cover the rental car, you may be forced to pay for the rental company’s rental expenses for the damaged car while it’s being repaired. This is known as the loss of use expense, and it represents the money that the company would have earned from the use of the car had it not been damaged. 

    Accepting the Rental Company’s Insurance 

    Alternatively, if you buy the extra insurance that the company offers you when you first rent the car, that insurance could potentially cover all these expenses. The terms of this policy will ultimately determine how the company handles your rental accident. You could, of course, still have a deductible for this policy, but your own insurance policy could also be used as secondary coverage if the rental company’s policy is unable to cover the entire expense. However, in this situation, a comparison of the two insurance policies together is the only way to know for sure which policy will pay as the primary and which as the secondary. 

    Buying a Collision Damage Waiver 

    If, when the rental company offers you extra insurance, you choose to buy a collision damage waiver, you will basically no longer be responsible for the rental car whatsoever. This may seem like the safest route, but it’s also the most expensive. When you rent a car, part of the agreement is that you return it in the same condition it was given to you. A collision damage waiver will free you from this agreement; thus, it should more or less cover the price of the car. 

    No one can plan for the most simple car accident, much less a hit-and-run in a rental car. However, knowing how to prepare for the worst and getting the most out of the insurance policies available to you will help you at least minimize the expenses involved.