Do I need to buy the insurance offered by the rental car company?

My last blog post dealt with whether you could hold a rental car company responsible for accidents caused by drivers of rental cars in Florida. This blog post deals with the insurance you need to protect yourself if you rent a car.

As discussed in my last blog post, rental car companies used to be responsible for injuries caused by the negligence of the drivers of their vehicles. Thus, if you rented a car and you were negligent and injured someone, the injury victim could pursue a claim against the rental car company-a known “deep pocket.” That is no longer the case. Nowadays, the rental car company is usually off the hook for injuries caused by drivers of their vehicles. Due to this, it is more important than ever to make sure you are properly covered if you rent a vehicle.

If you own a car, your personal policy will generally cover you when you rent a car in the United States or Canada. If you have good coverage, which includes healthy limits for bodily injury liability and property damage liability, then you probably don’t need the additional coverage offered by the rental car companies. Your bodily injury liability coverage will protect you if you are at fault and you injure someone else. Your property damage liability coverage will protect you if you are at fault and you damage another vehicle. If you have comprehensive and collision coverage, that will usually cover any damage you cause to the rental vehicle itself. In the event you have a deductible, if you charge the rental to a credit card that covers rental cars (many do), then the credit card company will usually cover your deductible.

When is it wise to purchase the insurance offered by a rental car company? There are several situations when it may be worth the money. First, if you do not own a car then it makes sense for you to purchase the insurance offered by the rental car company. Without the rental car insurance, you are uninsured and both an injury victim and the rental car company can pursue claims against you for any damage you cause. The second situation where it makes sense for you to purchase the insurance is when you have a personal automobile policy that provides very limited benefits. For example, if your policy does not have bodily injury liability coverage or collision coverage, neither of which is required in Florida, then it may make sense for you to spend a little bit extra to purchase the insurance offered by the rental car company as it will cover you for damages not covered under your personal policy. The third situation where it makes sense for you to purchase the insurance is if you are using the vehicle for business purpose and you are unsure as to whether your company has coverage to protect you. Most personal policies have exclusions for business use, so you should assume that your personal policy will not cover you if you rent a vehicle for business purposes.

If you have been involved in an auto accident and you need help with your claim, please feel free to contact the Law Offices of The Law Office of Eric H. Luckman, P.A. at (561) 737-3133.