We know that Florida’s driving problems are more than a little caused by the heavy volume of out-of-state visitors. Out-of-state visitors often opt out of long road trips and simply drive a rental car when they’re. Unfortunately, getting into an accident involving a rental car can be confusing, whether you’re the rental car driver or not.
If you or a loved one has been injured, seriously injured, or even killed in a car, truck, bicycle, or motorcycle accident in Florida, immediately contact an experienced Florida auto accident attorney at Searcy Denney for your free consultation.
Rental Car Quick Tips
- Stay With Your Car. This is a (hopefully) familiar tip whether an accident involves rental cars or not. Obviously, if you are in an accident in your own car, you need to stay with it. But this is also true if you are driving a rental car because your name will be attached to the license and rental information within the car. Leaving the scene will make it harder for you to get the compensation you need, and may carry criminal liability.
- Collect Information. Again, this is a familiar tip whether an accident involves rental cars or not. Collect all of the same information you would after a normal accident. That means contact info, insurance info, law enforcement officer statements, and the like. Also, take detailed pictures/video and ask for witness testimony so that you have thorough evidence if your damages bring you to court.
- You should find insurance information in the glove box of any rental car. If you are renting, read it before you leave the rental car center, and if the other party is driving the rental car, be sure to get the contact information of the rental car center. Your insurer or attorney can contact the rental car company with any questions or information they may need.
- Due to Florida’s statutes and case law, any potential liability is avoided by the car rental agency. The agreement you sign when you rent a car also holds the company harmless for any damage you cause. The one exception to this is if the car rental company was negligent. For example, if the company failed to adequately maintain the vehicle, this may create an unsafe situation that could lead to an injury accident.
- Contact an experienced Florida auto accident attorney at Searcy Denney before you speak with your insurance company. The state of Florida’s PIP (“no-fault”) insurance is in a state of flux, and this affects most types of relevant insurance.
How to Protect Yourself in a Florida Rental Car
- Check your personal auto insurance policy before you rent. If you have personal insurance with comprehensive and liability coverage, it may already cover your rental car. Check with your insurance agent to understand the specifics of your coverage before you leave on a trip.
- Learn the limits of your personal auto insurance. If you have changed certain types of coverage, for example, to save money, then your rental car may not be protected if it is stolen or damaged. Again, check with your agent.
- You may have additional protection from your credit card. If you use a credit card to pay for your rental car, your credit card company may cover your losses. Most major credit card brands often offer rental insurance. You should check with your credit card company for the details of their rental insurance coverage before you travel.
- Furthermore, check on the limits of your credit card protection. Credit card rental car insurance can be either primary or secondary. If it’s primary, it pays out first. If it’s secondary, your credit card insurance pays only for costs not covered by your primary personal auto insurance. Again, check with your credit card company to confirm what level of protection you have.
- When you rent, use your credit card to rent the vehicle. To be sure of protection from your credit card company, you must typically charge the full rental on the card and decline the waiver offered by the car rental company.
- Take photos of any pre-existing damage to your rental vehicle before you leave the lot. Don’t rely on the rental company to properly document pre-existing damage. Inspect the rental vehicle and photograph any dents or scratches you see. This guarantees you have visual proof if the rental company later tries to make you pay for damage that didn’t happen while you had the vehicle.
- If you need emergency roadside assistance after you rent, use your personal resources if you can. Roadside assistance through the rental car company is typically overly expensive. Use your personal auto insurance or services like AAA if you have them.
- Reject the arbitration provision in your rental agreement, because it will commonly lock you into a private arbitration if a dispute occurs. This arbitration process is heavily weighted in the company’s favor and does not allow for any meaningful appeals process. With some rental companies, you can opt-out of forced arbitration if you email them a rejection within 30 days of renting.
Contact a Florida Auto Accident Attorney For More Information About Rental Car Injuries Florida
The uncertainty of Florida’s PIP insurance scheme makes it difficult to decipher the complicated rules and regulations of rental cars in Florida. We’ll stay updated on the current state of the law and help you with any rental car claims in Florida you may have. Contact a Florida auto accident attorney at Searcy Denney to schedule your free consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis.