Holiday Travel: Auto Accident While Driving a Rental Car

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November is here.  Even as we enjoy continued sunshine in the Sacramento area, the clock falling back and the distinct chill in the area in the morning reminds us that the holiday travel season is quickly approaching.  Planes, trains and automobiles!

Anyone who has ever rented a vehicle is all too aware of the multiple confusing options presented by the rental agents with regard to supplemental insurance.  Some rental car companies tell cautionary tales about what could happen if you do not purchase their insurance and were to get into an accident while driving their rental vehicle.  Some of the terms you may recall hearing at the rental counter are:

Collision Damage Waiver, or Loss Damage Waiver which provides for a waiver of costs if the rental car sustains damage or is stolen.  It is important to check your own automobile insurance as many policies would render this insurance duplicative.  Also, some credit card companies extend this coverage if you pay for the car rental with their card.

Supplemental Liability Protection: this coverage goes above and beyond the limits of the rental companies standard liability limits, which are usually the minimum required by the state’s law (in California that is 15,000 per person/30,000 per accident).  Before opting to purchase this coverage, check your automobile insurance again.  If your coverage amount is higher than the limit offered by the standard liability policy of the rental car company, your insurance will likely kick in to the amount of your limit if and when the limits of the rental car policy is exhausted.

There are other options offered, and it is always wise to check with your insurance agent or read your credit card perks before choosing to accept or decline the rental agencies’ supplemental policies.

If you find yourself the innocent victim in an accident CAUSED by a person driving a rental car, some of these same confusion questions may present themselves when you attempt to deal with the rental agencies’ insurance adjuster.  They may deny coverage if the rental car was being driven by an unauthorized driver, for example.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an automobile accident involving a rental car, do not hesitate to contact us at (916) 921-6400 or if you are out of town at (800) 404-5400, or reach out to well-reviewed Sacramento rental car accident attorney, Edward A Smith, at

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