Florida State or the sunshine state, as it is commonly known, attracts millions of holidaymakers and tourists every single year. Of these millions, a large percentage of these tourists will make their way through Orlando International Airport, which is home to the largest rental car hub in the world.
Unfortunately, the state of Florida also lays claim to being one of the most dangerous places across the country for both pedestrians and drivers. With numbers from the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV) shows that there are around 400,000 accidents every single year, it is worth brushing up on the complex state laws surrounding rental cars before leaving the airport. It can be an extremely stressful affair, being involved in an accident in your rental car, especially as the laws surrounding car rental accidents are so tricky to navigate.
When you rent a car in the United States and end up in an accident, you could be covered under the rental car companies’ insurance, your credit card insurance, or your car insurance coverage. However, this isn’t always the case, and a misunderstanding can lead to serious costs. This is why we highly recommend that you at least consult with a personal injury accident attorney in the event of an accident. Many law firms, like The Law Place, offer a free consultation call with no strings attached. Even if you do not intend to hire an attorney, it can be invaluable to take this free consultation as you will receive some honest, unbiased advice regarding your particular situation. If you intend to seek compensation, having an attorney ready to fight your case will really help your chances too.
The Law Place is contactable 24 hours a day, so you can get in touch at any time on (941) 444-4444.
What to Do If You Get Into an Accident in a Rental Car
The first thing you should do if you get into an accident is to prioritize everyone’s safety. This includes the other party. Make sure that everyone has moved to a safe location unless they have sustained injuries. If there are any injuries, you must call the emergency services, and they will do what is necessary.
After everyone is safe, these are things we recommend you do to protect your interests later down the line:
- Collect evidence – If possible, begin collecting evidence immediately. You should get the personal details of everyone involved, including any bystanders or witnesses. If the police have arrived at the scene, get the officers name and badge number so you can obtain a police report if necessary at a later date. You should also take lots of pictures of the damage to both cars. Finally, we advise you to draw a sketch as soon as possible of the accident; draw the road and the vehicles involved as well as the directions the vehicles were traveling.
- Inform the rental company – In the document pack you would have received at the Alamo car rental hub, you should find an emergency accident contact number. Call this number immediately and report the accident. They will let you know what you should do with the car. If the damage is minor, they may tell you where to take it to be fixed; if the car needs towing, they will sort this out and send a tow truck. Take note of the name of the person who is on the phone for later correspondence. If you do not contact your rental company right away, you could lose your insurance coverage.
- Call your insurance company – The majority of rejected claims happen because customers take too long to report their accident to the insurance company. Credit card insurance, in particular, usually has strict deadlines on how quickly you need to report the accident.
- File an accident report – In the state of Florida, it is a legal requirement to file an accident report within ten days of an accident if the accident involved injuries or damages that require either car to be towed.
Who Is Responsible for Rental Car Damage?
With a considerable number of rental car accidents that occur every year, the Florida Supreme Court has been very clear with their stance here.
The rental company is not liable for any damages unless the accident happened because of negligence on behalf of the rental company.
Who Pays Out After an Accident in an Alamo Rental Vehicle?
If you are in an accident in your Alamo rental vehicle, who pays will always depend on the level and type of insurance coverage that you have at the time. Here are the different scenarios.
Rental Car Company Collision Insurance
When you first obtained the rental car, the rental car company rep probably asked if you wanted to buy something called a Collision Damage Waiver or CDW. If you did buy the CDW, you are covered in most accident cases unless you breached the terms and conditions on the rental agreement or acted recklessly. CDW will cover you for most of the vehicle damage costs.
You Are Already Covered
Many personal insurance policies potentially cover you to drive rental cars as well as your own. You should check this and your own terms and conditions, as well as the deductible amount you might have to pay before leaving the rental company hub. If you are indeed covered under your own insurance, you may be covered for collisions and liability.
If you have a premium credit card, sometimes, they offer car rental coverage. Many of them will cover you if you have paid for the rental car on the card. Credit card coverage will most likely only cover you for the damage waiver.
What If You Are Not Covered?
If, for some reason, you crash an Alamo vehicle without any coverage and the accident is your fault, unfortunately, you will be liable for all damages.
In the scenario that an accident that wasn’t your fault, your rental company will try and deal with the other injured party. Alamo might decide to charge you up-front for things like administration fees or loss of use of the vehicle while it is being repaired. When this happens, it could be left to you to seek reimbursement from the other parties’ insurance company.
Fortunately, this is a rare occurrence. In the state of Florida, in accordance with Florida Statute 627.736, the minimum coverage for personal injury protection is $10,000 which covers the majority of cases.
Get in touch with The Law Place today if you are in a pickle because of a rental car accident. We offer a free consultation where we will give you clear and unbiased advice on what you should do next.
There are no strings attached, get in touch today on (941) 444-4444.