Traveling often involves renting a car. Arriving at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport gives you ample opportunity to choose between different vendors. While the prices and options might differ, there is one thing that remains constant. Car rental companies will urge you to obtain accident insurance from them on top of the liability insurance you carry. Whether you need to do that or not, it is important to know what to do if you have an accident with a rental car and do you need a lawyer.
What Needs to Be Done If an Accident Occurs?
As with any motor vehicle accident, the first thing you should do is see if anyone was hurt. Calling the police is another good choice. It helps you document the accident later. Although technically, unless someone is hurt or the damage exceeds $500, it is not necessary to call the police in Florida.
It is important to exchange vital information. Taking a picture of the area is also a good idea. It can be used to depict the damage to the vehicles. It can also be a record of the position of the vehicles. In addition, the pictures can show if the accident occurred at an intersection, if there are skid marks on the pavement and what the weather conditions were at the time. This can be useful if the cause of the accident is disputed. The accident is reported to a local police office or county sheriff’s office. If it is not local, you should call the highway patrol. An auto injury attorney in the Fort Lauderdale area will know how to protect your rights and help you do what is needed after the accident.
Calling the Insurance Company
Knowing who to call after an accident in a rental car helps. Call both your insurance carrier and the rental company. If you have both comprehensive and collision on your own car, your insurance company will probably cover the accident. In addition, if your insurer charges you a deductible, you will owe that amount. The deductible varies according to your policy. Your out-of-pocket expense may be covered if you paid for the rental with a credit card. The claim must be submitted within a 45-day window on most occasions.
Who Gets Charged?
In most cases, your automobile insurance is primary. In the event that your own insurance limits are less than the damage that is done, the rental company often has to cover some liability. There might be a few instances where the rental company insurance pays for damage such as backing into a concrete wall. However, this coverage is restricted to only a few instances.
First Party Coverage
If your policy has first-party coverage, it means your insurance company will pay the rental company for fixing or replacing the car. Your deductible will be paid to the rental company. If you were not at fault in the accident, your insurer will go after the person who was.
Some other potential problems can exist and you need a lawyer. The first is when you are not covered for loss of use. If the rented vehicle is out of use for three days being repaired and the rental company is not able to rent it out, you will be liable for that money. Even if your policy does have this covered, if there is a discrepancy between the amount for which you are covered and the loss the rental company suffers, you are liable for that. Secondly, make certain that the rental car insurance has complete coverage. If it does, it will pay for the rental car and the other driver’s car. You may still be liable for your insurance deductible since it will be the secondary payer in this case.
So do you need a lawyer? Sifting through the insurance nuances when renting a motor vehicle in Fort Lauderdale may be complex, and you need a lawyer as having local counsel is beneficial when an accident happens. Calling the law firm of Kaiser Romanello for a free case evaluation with an experienced auto injury attorney can help. Our attorneys can review your insurance policy, the rental car company insurance and your credit card protocol for renting a vehicle with the card. The attorneys can help ensure that your rights are protected.