Will Rental Car Insurance Protect You When Renting a Car in Florida?

While you are not required to purchase insurance from the rental company, it might be a good idea to do so. Insurance can cover car damage or injury, in the event that you are involved in an accident.

If you have auto insurance already, you may not need to pay for additional coverage from the rental company. Most personal insurance policies cover rental cars, as well. However, check your policy or call the company to confirm and to determine if there are any limits or exceptions – for instance, renting certain types of vehicles or renting for extended periods of time. You may also want to fill in any gaps in your personal insurance with rental insurance. 

Types of insurance coverage

Insurance policies have multiple coverage options. In Florida, “full coverage” requirements are quite low and therefore do not offer much protection in the case of a serious accident. Your own policy may or may not include these common options, or you may have chosen a low dollar amount.

  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – minimum of $10,000 required – covers 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages if you are injured in an accident AND if you are examined by an approved medical provider within two weeks of the accident
  • Property Damage Liability (PDL) – minimum of $10,000 required – covers damage caused by your car (if you run into a tree or a mailbox, for instance) and the cost to repair the other person’s vehicle, but not your own
  • Collision and Comprehensive – covers repairing or replacing your vehicle in case of accident or theft or other covered damages
  • Bodily Injury Liability – covers compensation for injuries caused to others as a result of the accident
  • Uninsured Motorist – covers compensation for injuries or damages for you or your passengers if the at-fault driver has no insurance 

If you are renting a car, look at your own policy to see what holes may exist and consider adding coverage, especially if you are renting a car that may be more valuable than your own or you are traveling in an area in which you are unfamiliar. Florida has the dubious distinction of being one of the states with the highest accident rate, due to the high traffic volume around attractions and the significant number of visitors to our beautiful state who are not familiar with our roads. 

You may also want to get rental insurance so that your own personal insurance does not have to be tapped, which could possibly increase your rates. Types of rental coverage include:

  • Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) – covers your rental car if damaged or stolen. Without CDW, the rental company could charge you for diminished value, loss of use, or towing.
  • Supplemental Liability Insurance – covers property damage and bodily injury you may cause others while renting the car.
  • Personal Accident Insurance – covers medical bills for yourself or passengers if you are injured in an accident while driving the rental. This covers accidental death and dismemberment, ambulance, and medical expenses.
  • Personal Effects Coverage – covers your personal property if it is stolen from the rental car or damaged in an accident while you are renting.
  • Roadside Assistance – covers help you might need while renting: changing a tire, running out of gas, jumpstarting, towing, or locksmith services. 

If you’re injured while driving a rental car

In any vehicular accident, the at-fault driver is generally responsible for financial losses to the victims, including property damage and injury. This does not change because you are in a rental. If you are injured in an accident caused by someone else, the other person is liable. Generally, that person’s insurance company will get involved. If you are responsible, your insurance company will get involved.

Prior to 2005, injured parties in various states were permitted to sue the rental companies, as owners of the vehicles. However, that year Congress passed the Graves Amendment, which stated that rental car companies cannot be held automatically liable for injuries caused by their renters. That said, rental companies can be held liable for negligence or criminal acts. For instance, if the rental car rents a vehicle that has been recalled and an accident occurs due to the recalled issue, the rental company may be held liable.

In Florida, your PIP will cover your medical expenses up to the limit you have on your policy. (Again, IF you see an approved medical provider within two weeks of the accident.) Any additional coverage you have from your own insurance and the rental insurance will help to cover your expenses. 

But what if your injuries and your loss of income exceed what your insurance covers? What if the other driver’s insurance is offering to settle your claim for less than you believe is just? And what if you believe something was wrong with the rental car, contributing to your injuries?

As a Florida personal injury attorney, I am committed to helping Florida residents throughout the state receive just and fair compensation to help them cope with the injuries they have sustained through someone else’s negligence. Contact me from anywhere in Florida at (954) 448-7288, 24/7, to discuss your case. I leave no stone unturned to help my clients receive the compensation they deserve. 

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