If you plan to rent a vehicle on your vacation, there are some things you
need to keep in mind regarding the rental contract, your insurance coverage,
and how an accident is handled. While they are convenient for traveling,
there can be serious legal repercussions if you are involved in an accident
with your rental vehicle.
Shopping for Your Rental
It is important to not only shop around for price, but also what is included
in your rental. Some rental car agencies might charge you for a secondary
driver, or mileage beyond a certain amount. If you plan to drive in a
different state, you need to know the insurance coverage requirements
as some states will differ on the requirements and liability limits that apply.
What is Rental Car Coverage?
You should familiarize yourself with what your personal insurance will
cover when you rent a car for leisure. Call your agent or insurance company
and ask what specific coverage you have, and whether it will provide coverage
for a rental car in the state in which you will be driving. You may also
have some coverage through travel insurance or a credit card, but you
should call to verify.
There is an option to purchase different coverage at the rental agency.
The most common coverages you might see include:
Collision Damage Waiver or Loss Damage Waiver (CDW or LDW): This will cover damages to the rental car itself if you are involved
in an accident. You may be responsible for a deductible, as you would
with your own insurance coverage.
Personal Accident Insurance (PAI): This will provide coverage in the event of injury or death caused by
a rental car accident.
Supplemental Liability Protection/Insurance (SLP): The supplemental liability protection covers property damage and/or injuries
to someone besides the renter and passengers in the event the rental car
driver is the one at fault.
Rental Car Contract Breach
Pay close attention to your contact and what it includes. If you plan to
pick up at one location and return to a different state, do not be shocked
when you find out there is a hefty drop-off fee. If you breach the contract
in another way, like taking the car to an unauthorized state or to Mexico,
the rental car company might pursue you directly for damages in the event
of an accident. If you breach the rental contract, whatever rental car
coverage you purchased will be voided and you could be on the hook personally.
In the event your own insurance denies coverage, the rental car company
may come after you for vehicle damages as well as anything paid out in
a liability claim. This can result in a judgment against you, and the
judgment creditor might apply to garnish your wages, levy your bank account,
suspend your driver’s license, or even place a lien against your
property in a big claim.
Retaining a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been in an accident involving a rental car, you need to speak
with a knowledgeable
Maryland car accident attorney right away. The Law Office of Robert R. Castro can help determine all
available coverages and help ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Contact our office at 301-870-1200 to schedule a consultation.