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Sacramento Car Rental Accident Attorney

Sac Car Rental Accident Lawyer

Have you or a loved one suffered injuries in an automobile accident in which a rental vehicle was involved? If so, reach out to a Sacramento car rental accident attorney at AutoAccident.com to talk over the details of your claim. Our legal team can be reached at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.  We always offer free, friendly advice with an emphasis on compassion.

California Car Rental – It is Up to You to Confirm Insurance Coverage

California has different rules than other states when it comes to renting a car.  Rental car companies are not required to automatically issue liability insurance protection under their standard rental agreements.  What that means is that a person renting a car who opts not to purchase the insurance offered by the car rental company will need to make sure that he or she has their own valid liability insurance that will transfer to the rental car.  

Here are a few possible insurance scenarios for car rentals in California:

You Have Your Own Insurance

If you already have an automobile insurance policy on your own private vehicle, the policy will cover you equal to the policy limits while you are driving the rental car.  Be aware that if you are driving a rental car that is much more valuable than your own car, your property damage limits (those that go toward repair of a vehicle) may not be enough to cover any damage caused to the vehicle if the accident is your fault.

You Buy Insurance from the Rental Car Company

If you do not own a vehicle and/or do not have your own automobile insurance policy, you should purchase the insurance offered by the rental company with at least the minimum policy limits required by law to drive a car in California.

You Do Not Have Insurance and You Do Not Buy Rental Insurance

This is a terrible choice, but we are including it because, in California, it is the responsibility of the car renter to ensure that he or she is lawfully covered by insurance.  It is not the responsibility of the car rental company to verify that you have insurance coverage.  The rental car company cannot force you to buy their insurance, and they are under no obligation to ensure that you have a valid automobile insurance company.  What this means is that you could drive away in a rental car without having legally required liability insurance. Do not do this – it is a horrible idea, and this mistake could be costly.  If you cause an accident without any liability insurance on the vehicle, you would be personally responsible for damages you cause to another person’s car, as well as monetary damages related to any injuries and medical treatment that resulted from the accident.

Not to mention, if you get into an accident and the police respond to the scene, you will be subject to an infraction for driving without valid insurance, as well as fees, penalties, points on your driving record, even potentially suspension or loss of your driver’s license.  

In California, even if you are not a resident of the state, it is the vehicle renter’s responsibility to understand and follow the law concerning automobile insurance.

A Word About Credit Card Rental Car Insurance

If you use a credit card to pay for the car rental, many have secondary collision damage protection.  This means that if you cause an accident, and there is vehicle damage, the credit card company will pay for damages above and beyond what your primary insurance (either your own or that which you purchased from the rental car company) has paid.  In other words, the credit card damage protection kicks in only if the collision policy limit on the primary policy has been exhausted.  This means there must be a primary policy.  You cannot rely on coverage from your credit card to be the only insurance.

Things to Do Before You Rent a Vehicle

Before you head to a rental car counter, make sure the insurance policy on your regular vehicle is paid and remains valid.  Bring your insurance card with you in your wallet.  Often we rely on keeping our important vehicle documentation in the glove box, so take a moment to make sure you have proof of insurance with you in case you are stopped while driving the rental car.  Ensure that the claims and customer service numbers for your insurance company are listed on your insurance card and if they are not, make a note of those phone numbers to keep with you.

If you do not have an automobile policy, purchase the coverage offered by the rental company.  If it is an expensive car you will be renting, take into account that repair costs could be higher than average. 

Below is a video from the Today Show with advice on how to save money when renting a car.

If You are Involved in an Accident in a Rental Car

Much of the advice regarding what to do following a car rental accident is the same no matter what type of vehicles are involved:

  • Stay calm.
  • Assess for injuries and, if necessary, administer first aid.
  • Call the police and inform them of the accident and any injuries.
  • Obtain the name and contact information of the other driver(s).  Write down the vehicle information of all involved vehicles (makes, models, license plate numbers).
  • Obtain names and contact information from passengers and independent witnesses.
  • Take photos of the vehicles and the scene.
  • Keep communication brief with other involved parties and do not admit fault.
  • Ask the investigating officer when and how to obtain a copy of the police report.
  • Call your insurance company claims department as soon as it is feasible.
  • Consult with a personal injury attorney who has experience with rental car accidents.
Sacramento Car Rental Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a car rental accident lawyer in Sacramento, California. If you or a family member suffered injuries caused by a driver operating a rental vehicle, you will need assistance that an attorney experienced in rental car accident cases can offer to receive the monetary compensation to which you are entitled.  Call my office at (916) 921-6400 if you are in the Sacramento region or toll-free at (800) 404-5400.  We can provide free, friendly, and compassionate advice.  We also have an online contact form available at AutoAccident.com.

I have been dedicated to assisting injured Sacramento residents for nearly four decades.

I am proud to be a member of the legal associations:

Million Dollar Advocates Forum and National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

To view our case successes, please look at the verdicts and settlements page of our website.  Many of our prior clients have written reviews on  Yelp, Google. and Avvo

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay 

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