man behind steering wheel at dusk
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn

The rental car business in the United States currently earns about $36.1 billion per year in revenue. If you are a Texas driver or need to get around the state when visiting on business or pleasure, chances are that at some point you are going to need to rent a car. Just like other vehicles, people can and do get injured in traffic accidents in rental cars. Therefore, it is crucial to know your rights and responsibilities when you get behind the wheel of a rental car. This can help you and your car accident attorney in the event that you are hurt while driving a rental car.

Injuries when you have insurance

Most drivers have insurance. If you are a Texas resident or live out of state, your auto insurance should cover many things in the event of an accident. Texas is an at-fault state with a comparative negligence standard. This means that the driver who is considered at fault will have to pay for the property damages and personal injuries that occurred as a result of the collision. Included in the personal injuries are medical expenses, reimbursement of lost wages, and damages for pain and suffering. Most of the time, each driver involved in the crash was partially at fault. So, if the court determines that you contributed 20% to the accident and the other driver 80%, you will collect 80% of your damages for your personal injuries sustained in the crash from the other driver’s liability policy. This is the same whether you are driving a rental car or your own vehicle.

The issue becomes a little murkier when you have an accident with an uninsured motorist. Since he or she will not have any liability to look towards for compensation for your personal injuries, you will have to look at your own uninsured motorist policy. This may result in you receiving a smaller amount than you would have received had the other driver been insured with liability policy protection.

If you are concerned about the amount you and your passengers may collect as a result of your injuries in a rental car accident, you should consider paying for the additional coverage when you rent the car. Most car rental agencies offer insurance. However, people with their own policies usually turn it down. In most cases, this shouldn’t present a problem. But, if your home state requires less coverage than that of Texas, you could be left holding the bag. So, when you go to rent the car, bring along a copy of your insurance company’s declaration page and compare it to the amounts offered by the rental car company. If their policy has larger amounts, lower deductibles, and more comprehensive coverage, then it may pay to spend a little more for the extra peace of mind.

Injuries when you don’t have insurance

In some states, people who have driver’s licenses are not required to carry auto insurance if they don’t own a vehicle. If you are in this situation and travel to Texas, you may be required to  pay extra to get the coverage offered by the rental car company. Getting involved in an accident without insurance coverage in Texas could leave you personally liable for injuries to you, your passengers, and the people in the other vehicle. As a result, most rental car companies will require you to pay for their insurance if you cannot provide them with proof of insurance at the time of rental. 

Damages to the rental car

You are not required to purchase insurance when you rent a car in Texas if you already have automobile insurance. This includes paying extra for a collision damage waiver. However, if you opt out of paying for the collision damage waiver and the vehicle is damaged during your usage, you may be charged for the repairs when you go to return the car. If your own collision policy proves insufficient or if you have a large deductible, you will be personally liable for the difference. In addition, you could be personally liable for the reduction of the car’s value, any lost revenue from the inability to rent the car during the repair, and any other administrative costs of the rental car company. This is why it is crucial to read the terms and conditions before opting out of the collision damage waiver.

Call our firm today if you have been injured in a rental car

If you have been injured in a rental car accident, then you will have to deal with an added layer of complexity for your personal injury claim. In addition, you may have to deal with the rental car company on a number of different issues. The experienced car accident attorneys at Hernandez Sunosky LLP can help you navigate the claims process to make sure you get properly compensated for your injuries.