Texas is an at-fault state for car accident insurance payouts, meaning the party most responsible for causing an accident must pay the damages through their insurance policy. As long as an accident victim is less than 51% at fault in the accident, they may recover damages. But what if the driver who hit your vehicle was driving a rental car? How do liability and insurance payouts work in Texas when a rental car driver was at fault? Insurance coverage is a more complex issue when it comes to rental car agencies.
Common Problems With Insurance in Rental Car Accidents
Texas requires all drivers to carry at least the minimum car accident insurance with property damage and personal injury coverage. In some cases, a rental car customer may choose to pay extra for collision coverage on the terms of their rental car agreement. If the driver had full coverage through their rental car insurance contract, the terms of the policy should provide compensation for your property damage and the costs associated with your injury as well as an amount for pain and suffering if appropriate. While this is the best-case scenario for a rental car collision in Texas, often drivers save costs by forgoing the extra insurance on their rental car, especially if they’re already on a pricy vacation. In that case, the driver’s personal insurance policy should cover your damages, since these policies are meant to follow the driver, regardless of what vehicle they drive. Unfortunately, insurance companies are in the business to make a profit and profits depend on minimizing the amount of money they pay out by undervaluing or denying claims. A rental car collision offers “wiggle room” that can result in the denial of your claim.
If the driver doesn’t hold rental car insurance and their private car insurance policy refuses to pay out on your claim, your own car insurance may have to provide compensation for your damages.
What Happens if a Rental Car Driver’s Insurance Denies the Claim?
It pays to have a car accident attorney on your side defending your right to benefits after any accident, but especially for an accident with a rental car when insurance issues often become muddy. Some common problems with rental car accident claims include:
- All relevant insurance companies in a rental car accident deny the coverage and point to the other companies’ policies
- The rental car driver didn’t pay for rental car insurance and has an inadequate private policy
- Your own insurance company refuses to pay damages because you were not liable for the accident according to the Texas comparative negligence laws
In some cases, a skilled personal injury attorney can negotiate with all involved insurance companies to pay out on portions of your claim in order to maximize your compensation.
What Should I Do If My Car is Hit by a Rental Car in Texas?
If you’re in an accident with a rental car, and the rental car driver was at fault, you can help reinforce the strength of your own claim through the following actions:
- If you’re seriously injured, you should remain in place and wait for help
- Give comfort and reasonable aid to other victims if you’re mobile
- Use your phone—or ask an uninjured person to use it for you—to call 911 and then take photos of the involved vehicles, the accident scene, and your injuries
- Get the contact information and rental car information of the other driver
- Collect contact information from any eyewitnesses
Once you arrive at the hospital, tell the doctor about every symptom, undergo a complete evaluation, and follow all instructions. Gather your medical records, medical bills, and the accident report, and call a personal injury attorney with experience in rental car accidents before speaking to any insurance representatives.