Thursday, June 16, 2022

What Happens If You Damage A Rental Car With Insurance

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So Your Rental Car Is Damaged Now What

Why You Should Purchase Rental Car Damage Coverage

When it comes to rental-car damage, you wouldnt believe what I hear. Theyre true stories with unhappy endings, for the most part.

Its amazing I survived, he says.

After he totaled the car, DiBellos car-rental company added him to a do not rent list, where he remains to this day.

Most car rental accidents are less dramatic, but they can also have serious consequences for the driver. This is the perfect time to talk about what happens when a rental car is damaged. The U.S. car-rental industry collected a record $28.63 billion in revenue last year, according to research by Auto Rental News, a trade publication. Thats with 2.1million rental vehicles on the road, up from 1.8 million a decade ago. Were talking a lot of cars and a lot of opportunities for something to go wrong.

Its important to know what your insurance will and wont cover when your rental car is damaged. Also, you need to know what happens if you slam into a guardrail while driving down the wrong side of the road.

Thats not just a random example. Its what happened to Jennifer Melroy of Glen Allen, Va., the author of a blog about national parks, when she rented a car in Iceland recently.

Fortunately, Melroys story has a happy ending. Her credit card offered car-rental insurance, and after several months of paperwork, it cut her a check for the full amount of the damage.

Your regular car insurance policy may already cover you, as might your travel insurance policy.

What Happens If You Mess Up A Rental Car

If the rental cars bodywork gets damaged during your rental, your Collision Damage Waiver will cover it. It wont cover damage to other parts of the car, though, and youll have to put some money towards the cost. Most of the time, theyll just take this out of the deposit you left when you picked the car up.

How Enterprise Determines If You Damaged A Rental

So many readers have accused Enterprise of running damaged rental car scams that Ive lost count.

But something interesting has happened lately. The complaints have slowed to a trickle.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Southwest Airlines.

Why? I asked Roger Van Horn, Enterprises vice president for corporate loss control, what was behind the decline. Van Horn has gone on the record before to defend the huge volume of loss claims. I expected him to tell me theyd stopped pursuing as many cases, but I was wrong.

Before I go any further, a few disclaimers: My perspective on damage claims is distorted by the crush of complaints I receive from readers like you. It pains me to hear about a frivolous $495 claim for a few dings and dents. Like you, when I see enough of them, I smell a scam.

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Find Cheap Auto Insurance Quotes In Your Area

In most cases, your own car insurance policy applies when renting a car, so you may not need to buy additional protection from the rental car company. Well compare the types of protection rental companies offer with whats available from an insurer, and which gaps you might need to fill.

Note: this guide is about using your own car insurance to protect the car youve rented at a company like Enterprise, Hertz or Avis. For the car insurance coverage that pays for a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired, see our guide on rental car reimbursement coverage.

Does My Credit Card Offer Rental Car Insurance

What Happens if You Have an Accident With a Rental Car?

Many credit card companies offer rental car insurance as one of the benefits for cardholders. However, rental car insurance provided by your credit card company is usually secondary insurance. That means if you get into an accident or the car gets stolen, your auto insurance company will get billed first. If that is the case, your deductible will apply to the claim.

There are some credit card companies that offer primary rental car insurance, although it is less common. Primary insurance does not go through your personal auto insurance, so you do not have to pay a deductible. You can call your credit card company to determine if your card offers rental car insurance and what type of insurance they offer.

Most major credit card companies, like Visa, MasterCard and American Express all offer some form of rental car insurance for their cardholders. To take advantage of the coverage, you usually have to pay for the rental car using the card and rent the car in your name.

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You Are Responsible For Your Rental Car

If you rent a car, whether from Enterprise or another rental car company, you are contractually obligated to return the car in the same condition in which you rented it.

If you fail to maintain the rental car in the condition in which you received it, you will be billed for any damages. This can be expensive even small scratches can cost hundreds of dollars.

So, it is important to give the car a thorough examination before you leave the lot. Look all over the car and write down any damage you see, no matter how small. Enterprise will provide a form on which you can note all damage, and you should do so as thoroughly as possible.

If possible, get a copy of the damage report before you get behind the wheel of the rental car, and take pictures of the vehicle, so no one can say you caused damage if you didnt.

How To File A Claim If You Get Into An Accident In A Rental Car

When you call the rental car company after an accident, theyâll tell you how to proceed. Sometimes rental cars have emergency numbers on a sticker inside the glove compartment, along with the car insurance policy.

Make sure you read the fine print of the insurance policy, or any extra coverage you bought. You should then contact your insurance company. Itâs a good idea to contact your insurance company even if you did purchase rental car insurance. Insurers typically want to be notified any time you get into a car accident, even if you wonât be filing a claim with them.

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When Your Car Is Totaled

If your car is not driveable, this coverage begins immediately after the accident. It will end upon settlement of your property damage claim, so it is a good idea to start shopping around for a replacement vehicle as soon as possible.

Once the insurance company makes you an offer to pay for your totaled vehicle, you may have to return the rental car even if you dont accept that initial offer. Dont allow the insurance company to pressure you into accepting a lower offer if that offer does not adequately compensate you for your cars fair market value. In this type of situation, it can be especially helpful to have purchased rental car coverage on your own car insurance policy. The cost of renting a car for a few extra days may be worth it if you are able to negotiate a higher amount to compensate you for what your car is worth.

Does Collision Damage Waiver Cover Third Party Drivers

What Is Rental Car Damage Protector?

Car rental companies offer a wide variety of alternatives to secure a rental car. There is insurance that is necessary to take, and others that are optional, depending on the use that we are going to have for the vehicle, the budget we have and the personal tranquility we need when driving a rental car.


Collision Damage Waiver or Loss Damage Waiver insurances cover damages for thefts or accidents that we may have during the time of the rental of the vehicle. These insurances are offered with and without franchise. In insurance with franchise, the insurance company is responsible for covering up to a certain amount and after that amount, the difference is charged to the insured. In the coverage without franchise, it is the insurer that covers all of the damages.

You may be wondering: What does CDW insurance not cover? What does LDW insurance not cover? CDW and LDW insurance do not cover damages caused to third parties.

It is important to know that the coverage offered by insurers is void in cases where the person who rents the car has shown negligence in the use of the vehicle, which includes driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, loading the wrong fuel, etc.

This additional insurance costs an average of $27-$30 per day when purchased directly at the rental companys counter.

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Gather Evidence And Contact Information

Just as you would after any collision, you can gather evidence that shows how the accident happened and who was at fault. Evidence can include accident photos, witness statements, physical evidence, and other relevant details.

Exchange contact and insurance information with the other drivers and involved people. Ask the police officer on the scene for their name, badge number, contact information, and the accident case number so that you can secure a copy of the accident report.

Enjuris tip:

What Is Property Damage Car Insurance And What Does It Cover

Property damage insurance covers you for any financial liability that occurs should you get into an accident and cause damage to someone else’s property. Coverage for your own property falls under comprehensive and collision coverage, which you pay for separately.

Like bodily injury coverage, property damage coverage helps to ensure that any driver will be able to assume some financial responsibility for damage caused in an accident where they are deemed at fault. This type of coverage operates on a per accident basis, with the insurance company willing to cover costs up to the amount of your coverage.

Examples of what is covered:

  • Repairs for damage caused to the other party’s vehicle, including auto body shop labor or replacement parts
  • Fixing up damage or destruction to other businesses, houses, fences, lampposts, mailboxes, etc.
  • Attorney, court and other legal defense fees incurred for the property damage claim
  • Lost income from a business closure that your accident was deemed to cause
  • Other recurring expenses from that damage

Each state sets its own minimum limits for property damage coverage:


Doubling or tripling your coverage limit does not lead to a corresponding increase in your premiums. The company we obtained quotes from for our example only charges about 1.07 times the rate of the lowest limit for an increase to the highest limit.

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What To Do If You Get Into A Car Accident In A Rental Car

If you get into an accident while driving a rental car, donât panic. As always, the first thing you should do when you get into a car accident is check yourself and passengers for injuries, and get to safety by pulling over to the side of the road if possible.

You should then follow these steps:

  • Exchange and collect information – If the car accident involves another driver and vehicle, exchange information with them. Details like your names, addresses, license plate numbers, vehicle information, insurance companies, policy numbers, and the information of any witnesses who were present

  • Document the accident – Photograph all the damage to both vehicles, as well as any injuries you or your passengers have. Documenting the accident will make filing a claim easier

Once youâve done all of the above, normally you would contact your car insurance company. But if you get into a car accident in a rental car, you might want to contact the rental car company first. They may provide towing or roadside assistance, depending on the company.

Ready to shop car insurance?

Help I Crashed My Rental Car

Quick Answer: What Do I Do If I Damage A Rental Car ...

As already mentioned most rental cars will have basic insurance to cover damage to the car and they will all have CTP insurance to cover for any injuries. If you have an accident you should follow the same steps but there are a couple of additional things you will need to do.

  • Before you hire the car, its important to look at what type of excess you will be charged if you have an accident. Most rental companies charge a high excess no matter who is at fault. You may be able to pay a fee to reduce the excess. In some instances, travel insurance or credit card insurance may cover the excess.

  • Make sure to check if there are any exclusions or actions that breach your rental agreement. Car companies often wont allow unauthorised drivers or driving off road, etc. If you breach any of their conditions you may be liable for all the damage and related costs.

  • After an accident, you must contact the car rental company as soon as you safely can and inform them of what has happened. They will be able to recover and replace the car for you in most instances.

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Liability Insurance Supplement Vs Your Liability Insurance

Liability insurance for bodily injury and property damage is almost always required nationwide, so if you have car insurance, you’re likely already covered. Additionally, car rental companies are required by law to include at least the state minimum coverage, so you don’t have to worry about driving off the lot without coverage.

When deciding whether to purchase a rental company’s liability insurance supplement, consider the fact that you may be driving more while you’re on vacation than you would normally, in an unfamiliar car on unfamiliar roads. We recommend carrying at least $25,000 of bodily liability insurance per person, $50,000 of bodily liability per accident and $25,000 of property liability , as lower limits may not cover the full costs of a crash.

Damaged A Rental Car From Enterpriseworry About Charges


i6s1 wrote:Repair it yourself. Even if they don’t rip you off, they can still charge you lost revenue and make you fill out a bunch of paperwork.

Does the rental contract allow you to work on their vehicle? Doubt it.

Actually no. But I just assumed that replacing the part does’t make it look different.


billford wrote: Sounds expensive especially if its a memory mirror, heated with blind spot indicators and needs to be painted.If its a plain mirror, may not be too much.Sometimes the mirror covers are separate and can be replaced at minimal cost.

Does the rental contract allow you to work on their vehicle? Doubt it.

rebel_rfd wrote: Do you own a car with insurance?I’m not sure how much the quote is, but if its more than $300, I would use your personal insurance under comprehensive.Most insurance companies transfer your insurance over to your rental, since its assumed you car is parked.This is assuming your comprehensive deductible is $300 and you can afford this small hit to your record, and the quote is over $300, like $700 or more.

Making a claim is super expensive in a long term and there’s deductible there.

Why don’t you have Credit Card insurance?

rebel_rfd wrote: Just a suggestion, you have to figure out what your best choice is, regardless, get it fixed before you return.


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Record What Happened And Exchange Details

Exchange your personal details with those affected after ensuring everyone is safe. This applies whether you crash into someone else property or another vehicle. If the car owner is not present at the scene at the time of the accident, ensure to leave a note with your details under their windscreen wiper.

If the accident involves more than two vehicles or people, ensure everyone exchanges car registration numbers, telephone numbers, or addresses. Take photos of the scene if possible as well as any damages and note the following:

  • The make, color, and model of the vehicle involved
  • The date and time the accident took place
  • The weather conditions description, state of the road, and street lighting, if any.
  • Damage that occurred to property or any vehicles.
  • Injuries sustained by drivers, pedestrians, and passengers
  • Youll Pay Up Front For All Damage

    What happens when your car is damaged on Turo ?

    You can cover your major damage responsibility by relying on your own insurance, a credit card with insurance, or a third-party policy. But in all of those cases you have to pay a damage claim up front, then recover as much as you can by filing a claim afterward. That means signing a credit card bill for hundreds or even thousands of dollars when you return the damaged car, and not knowing if youll get that money back.

    Thats why many rental companies wont accept rentals via debit card, or a credit card with a small limit. If you can pay the initial rental fee with a debit card, youll still need to provide a credit card to cover a possible damage claim, which would be filed before you can leave the return counter.

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    The Damage Evaluator Determines If You Damaged A Rental

    The solution: The Damage Evaluator .

    Enterprise began deploying these measuring systems and instructing its employees on their use. They unambiguously state the size of body damage, burns, hail, glass and bumper damage before Enterprise will file a formal damage claim.

    For example, Enterprise defines body, wheel and metal bumper damage as:

    • Any dent, scratch or scrape larger than the largest circle
    • Holes and tears, regardless of size
    • A dent, scratch or scrape smaller than the largest circle is wear and tear

    And that, my friends, is why the Enterprise complaints are on a downward slope. They finally defined important terms like damage and wear and tear.

    I think theres a sense that theyve managed to eliminate many, if not most, of the frivolous claims, thanks to training employees to use the Damage Evaluator. But how do you eliminate the rest?

    First, it may be a good idea to circulate these Damage Evaluators to customers. Specifically, in the envelope of their rental agreement. Why would you share this only with employees? Travelers need to know what is and isnt damage, too.

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