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Who pays when injured in a rental car accident?

For tourists and locals alike, Colorado can be a year-round destination for recreational activities. This is especially true as we get closer to the winter months, when skiing and other snow sports attract many to the mountainsides.

People from out of state often need to rent a vehicle to get from the airport to their final destinations. So what happens when you get into an accident with a rental car? Who pays for vehicle damages and any injuries that may have been sustained?

After the accident As with any other motor vehicle crash, the first priority is to get emergency medical treatment for those who need it. Also, it is a good idea to contact your rental car company right away and ask them how they want you to proceed. In most cases, it is also necessary to report the incident to your own insurance company.

Who covers what?

With rental car accidents, there are often a lot more potential sources for coverage, depending on who is at fault for the accident. The potential players typically include the following:

  • Your own insurance company - Most states require that you carry a minimum amount of liability coverage to cover property damage to a rental vehicle. If you are at fault, it also may cover the cost of damage to the other vehicle. Depending on your coverage, you also may have coverage for injuries as well.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage - If you have this coverage, it will kick in if the other driver is uninsured or underinsured. Otherwise you will have to pay for these expenses out-of-pocket.
  • Rental car insurance - Anyone who has rented a car knows that the agent will ask if you want rental car insurance. Although you have the option to deny coverage, it might be worthwhile opt in, particularly if your own policy has exclusions for business-related rentals or long-term rental usage.

The bottom line

The last thing you want is to have an accident while on vacation - particularly in a rental car. If these unfortunate circumstances do occur, it is best to plan ahead to ensure you have proper insurance coverage.

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