Anyone who has ever rented a car has wrestled with the decision when asked the question: “would you like to add comprehensive insurance with your rental?” You maybe were expecting to pay $40 or $60 a day to rent a car, but find that number has sharply increased at the counter. You are faced with a tough decision because the rental car company is telling you that you will personally be responsible for any damage without the expensive coverage.
The fact of the matter is, the “policy” that you are purchasing from most rental companies is not even insurance (in so far as it is not regulated by the Department of Insurance). What you are typically buying is a “CDW” or a LDW” (a “Collision Damage Waiver” or a “Loss Damage Waiver”) which is actually just an agreement from the company that they will not hold you personal responsible for damage done to the car.
While the damage waivers offered by rental car companies will protect you from being personally liable for damage to the the rental car, they do not provide comprehensive insurance coverage (which would additionally cover your Personal Injury Protection as well as liability coverage for any property or personal injury that is caused by the accident).
Even in a “normal” (not involving a rental) auto accident, it is not uncommon for insurance companies to delay, deny or devalue a claim for an injured person. Having an experienced auto accident lawyer on your side can force the insurance companies to take your claim more seriously. When the auto accident involves a rental car (which may bring in multiple, overlapping policies) there is even more of an opportunity for the insurance companies to avoid their responsibility to their insured, and there is likely an even greater need for you to get a lawyer to protect your interests.
In many cases, it does. All four of the major credit cards (Visa, Discover, American Express & Master Card) offer some form of rental car coverage. MasterCard has a few cards that do not include insurance. Contacting your credit card’s customer service is a great way to find out what type of policy is available to you.
Unfortunately, the answer to this is “it depends”. Most policies do offer some level of coverage while you are in a rental car. However, the policy limits, type of coverage and ease of dealing with your insurance company after a car accident in a rental car may vary greatly.
In any auto accident, there is a chance that the insurance company will delay, devalue or even deny your claim. With the added complexity of a rental car and the different (sometimes overlapping) insurance policies involved, having a lawyer on your side can make a big difference in the outcome of your case. Michael Cerasa offers a free initial consultation either in my office or over the phone. I can serve as your local counsel and handle all of the communication with the insurance company and rental car company for you. You pay nothing to have me handle your claim, and I am only paid if I secure a settlement on your behalf.
Even in a normal auto accident, the insurance companies may try to pay you less than your claim is worth. With the additional complexities of a rental car and overlapping insurance policies, don't risk it. Talk to an experienced lawyer who can help you understand your options under Florida law. If you decide you would like me to handle your case, there is no up-front fee; instead I am paid a percentage of the funds I secure on your behalf, which means if we don’t win, you don’t pay.
450 S. Orange Avenue, Suite 300
Orlando, FL, 32801