Florida is home to 825 miles of coastline, exciting theme parks, tropical weather, and world-renowned national parks. Its no wonder then, that the sunshine state attracts so many tourists, in 2019 alone 61 million visitors came from within the United States, and 7.6 million came from other places around the globe. Many of these people will rent a car.
Having such a large number of people who are unfamiliar with the roads may be one of the reasons for the high number of road traffic accidents in Florida. According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Department (FHSMV), around 400,000 road accidents happen every year.
If you have been in an accident with a rental car, then you might be concerned about the possibility of paying out for damages. The good news is that most of the time, you will be covered by the car rentals insurance policy, your credit card, or your personal auto insurance policy. However, the steps you take following an accident could be essential to protect your coverage. Furthermore, in the event that you are not covered, the car rental company will have lawyers on their side fighting to save them money.
Therefore, following an accident with a rental car, it is a good idea to speak to a car accident attorney. At The Law Place, we a wealth of experience dealing with road accident claims in Florida. We understand the intricacies of the law and are accustomed to dealing with insurance and car rental companies. Contact us today on (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation.
Steps to Take if You Have an Accident in Your Sixt Rental Car
Assess the situation – After any car accident, the priority should be making sure everyone is safe and out of harm’s way. If anyone is injured, then call 911 immediately. In accordance with Florida Statute 316.062, you are required to call the police to the scene if there are injuries or substantial property damage.
Gather evidence – If a claim is brought against you, the more information you have, the better. Get the other driver’s vehicle, insurance, and personal information.
Take photos of all vehicles involved in the incident, as well as any road signs or conditions that could have contributed to the accident.
You should also get contact details for any witnesses as well as the police officer at the scene.
Call your rental company – When you rent a car with Sixt, they should have given you an emergency phone number. Contact them and find out what you should do with the car, they may ask you to drive it somewhere or have it towed if the car is not drivable.
Avoid talking about the accident at this stage, including if you are hurt or how the crash happened. You should take time to reflect on the incident first, and anything you say could affect you later.
Call your insurance company – You have a limited time frame to contact your insurance company. Therefore, contact them as soon as you can to let them know that there was an accident. Again, you may want to avoid giving too many details at this stage. Who you phone depends on your coverage, it could be your credit card company, personal auto insurance company, or your travel insurance.
Take care of the car – Remember that you are responsible for the rental car, so make sure it is taken care of.
File a report with the rental company – You will need to file a report with the car rental company. However, you may want to speak to a car accident attorney first so that you can be prepared to make a report. A report may be used against you if you are not careful.
Is the Rental Car Company Liable for Damages?
More often than not, rental car companies cannot be found liable for damages. This is because of a decision made by the Florida Supreme Court, in Vagas v. Enterprise 2011, rental car companies were found not to be liable for actions of people driving their vehicles.
Therefore, Sixt or any other rental car company is not responsible for the actions of drivers. They can only be found liable if they were in some way negligent, such as if the car was in a dangerous condition, to begin with.
What Does My Sixt Car Rental Policy Say?
You should always read your car rental policy. Most will try to limit their liability further through the language that they use in their agreements. For example, taking the right steps after an accident might have a big impact on whether you end up out of pocket.
Sixt rental policy will have measures in place for how and when you should report the accident. If you are unsure, then speak to a car accident lawyer who will be able to assist you.
Your Sixt rental policy will be tailored to what coverage you purchased.
Who Pays After a Rental Car Accident?
If you rent a car and are involved in an accident, then your insurance coverage and rental agreement will determine your next steps.
You Bought Collision Insurance from the Rental Car Company
When you decided to rent a car with Sixt, it should have included a collision damage waiver (CDW). This should protect you if against the costs of repairing the rental car unless you breached the rental agreement. You might have breached the rental agreement if you broke road traffic laws, such as driving under the influence of alcohol.
However, CDW only covers a damage waiver and does not cover your medical expenses. For medical expenses, you could be covered by supplementary coverage with Sixt, or you could be covered by your personal health, car, or travel insurance.
You May Already Have Coverage
If you are from the United States, your own car insurance policy could also apply to your rental.
As an international tourist, you might be covered by your travel insurance. Or, if you paid with a credit card, this may cover you for a damage waiver. However, credit card insurance rarely covers you beyond a damage waiver.
You should check your coverage limits and any deductible that you could be expected to pay. If the damage goes beyond your liability coverage, then you should get help from a car accident lawyer.
What if You are Not Covered?
If none of these options apply to you, then you may not be covered. This could be a scary thought, but if you were not responsible for the car accident, then the other driver’s car insurance company may cover the cost. However, you may be expected to pay initially before being reimbursed.
Most of the time, you will have some insurance coverage when you rent a car. In accordance with Florida Statute 627.736, every car rental is required to carry minimum liability coverage of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and $10,000 in property damage. When damages go beyond this coverage, you should seek help from The Law Place.
Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Laws
According to Florida Statute 627.7407, Florida runs under no-fault insurance regulations. This means that regardless of who was at fault in the accident, everyone should seek coverage from their personal auto insurance company.
As a result, if you were in an accident with a rental car, the other driver should be covered by their personal insurance, up to the limits of their policy. However, if the driver is uninsured or if their damage exceeds their policy limits, you could be found liable.
When Is Sixt Negligent in Florida?
In order to claim damages from Sixt after an accident in a rental car, you need to prove negligence. Some examples of negligence on behalf of a rental car company include:
- Failure to maintain a rental vehicle.
- Failure to properly supervise workers.
- Hiring the car to someone who shouldn’t have been allowed to drive it.
- Failure to adequately train staff.
If you cannot prove negligence on behalf of Sixt, then you cannot claim damages from them. Furthermore, they will have experienced lawyers on their side to try and prove that they were not negligent. If you think you have a case against Sixt or another car rental company, then contact The Law Place today.
Additional Charges if You Crash Your Sixt Rental Vehicle in Florida
If you were at fault for the accident, then beyond damages such as medical expenses, you could be charged for:
- Administration fees – Sixt may charge you for processing your claim, and this should be around $50 – $150.
- Loss of use fees – If Sixt needs to pull your rental vehicle out of circulation while it is being repaired, they may charge you for any money they are losing while it is being repaired. The cost will depend on the value of your vehicle but is usually around $20-$40 per day.
- Diminution of value – If your Sixt rental vehicle is damaged, it could lose value even if it is repaired. They could charge for this, and the amount will be dependent on the extent of the damage and value of the vehicle.
If the accident was not your fault, then you might still have to pay this initially, but you should fight for compensation. You may get this from the other driver’s insurance firm or the driver themself. They could make a settlement with you, or you may have to go to a small claims court. Either way, you will benefit from having The Law Place on your side.
Do This Before You Rent a Sixt Car
- Take names and numbers – Read your rental agreement and make yourself aware of Sixt procedures. They should give you an emergency number, make sure you have this to hand.
- Research your insurance coverage – Make yourself aware of the extent of your liability coverage before you rent a car.
- Consider extra coverage – If your liability coverage is insufficient, then you should purchase additional liability insurance from Sixt.
Why Should I Consider Extra Coverage?
When you rent a car in Florida, the rental company is rarely liable for any accidents. Therefore, it is a good idea to have sufficient liability insurance to protect yourself from hefty medical bills or property damage.
The minimum personal injury insurance in Florida is $10,000. However, medical expenses can often go beyond this. Therefore, you should find out what coverage you have from your own car insurance company and credit card and make sure nothing is missing.
Sixt offers extra insurance coverage, which may be worth investing in. Your options are:
- Liability Insurance Supplement (LIS) – This covers you for $1,000,000 in third party liability protection. This covers you if the other driver claims for personal injury damages or property damages.
- Partial Damage Waiver – This will cover the first $500 of damage to your vehicle.
- Loss Damage Waiver (with or without theft protection) – This covers you for damage to your vehicle up to a specified amount but may include a deductible.
- Personal Accident Insurance – This covers you if you yourself are injured.
- Roadside Assistance Protection – This covers you if you need roadside assistance.
- Emergency Sickness Protection – This coverage is designed to cover you if you become sick while in a rental agreement.
If you are unsure what coverage you need, then speak to a customer service representative at Sixt who should be able to help you.
The Law Place
The Law Place represents victims of accidents involving rental companies such as Sixt in Florida. You shouldn’t go up against car insurance and rental companies alone; you need a qualified attorney on your side.
We offer a free, no-obligation consultation, and our phone lines are open 24 hours a day. Phone us now on (941) 444-4444 and see how we can help you.