Rental Cars And Your Liability In The Event Of A Car Accident

With car rental these days one of the hardy aspects to grasp is the accident – insurance options. One of the problems that you will be tempted by the car rental companies staff to take the collision damage waiver (CDW) cost and at the time believing that it is in your own best interests. They will call it a variety of names but at the end of the day it all amounts to the same and as they receive a commission on all CDW taken rest assured they will do anything to convince you that it is a good option.

The car rental company will most likely tell you that it is in your best interests but common sense will tell you that if it is in your best interests how can it also be in their best interest. Most of us have car insurance and complain about the cost, well car hire companies are no different they seek car insurance from insurance companies but the policies are very expensive much more than your family car insurance because the circumstances are very different. Because of this expensive option for car rental companies many of them opt to self insure their vehicles as it is a much more economical way for them to cover any damage to their fleet and the damage cost is offset by the additional fees charged to the client for CDW. The car rental staff will try their very best to get you to take this extra charged as in most cases they receive commissions for the amount of CDW they sell. In Australia the legal precedent is that the liability lies with the owner or a person acting as an agent for the owner and this is unlikely to be the hirer.

You should consider this offer of excess reduction carefully. Do you want to be driving a hire car with the knowledge that in the event of an accident you will be liable for hundreds or thousands of dollars? The cost of CDW may be worth it just for peace of mind or you may decide to take your chances. The car rental companies often inflate the excess amount to pressure you into accepting the CDW.

One of the major misconceptions with car hire excesses today is that a number of people believe that their credit card insurance will cover them in the event of an accident. Many credit card companies will NOT cover the excess if their client has been offered excess reduction by the credit card company. You must be absolutely positive that you have it in writing from your credit card company that you would be covered in the unfortunately event of an accident.

At the time of booking is when you should be giving thought to all these things and make a decision as to whether you take the CDW. The car hire company will be doing their best to encourage you to take this option afterall it is in their best interests.

If you are involved in a car accident there are several things you should do. First of all make contact with the other driver or drivers no matter who you believe is at fault so that particulars can be exchanged i.e. Full name, Drivers license number and his or her current address. Depending on the severity of the accident and the attitude of the other drivers and the location of the accident you may have to move the vehicles if it is in a busy location but it is always better to leave the cars where they are if possible. You should check with the car hire company the procedure you need to follow after an accident and take note of the person you reported the accident to from the rental car company. Many car hire companies provide accident forms in the glove box but always call to report your accident. The police will want to be informed should the accident be severe and if anyone has been injured.

When a car accident happens it defies explanation but tow trucks arrive instantly from nowhere. All tow truck drivers – operators receive commissions from panel beaters for any work that may be channelled in their direction. The other problem is you will need to confirm with the car rental company their requirements at this point and whether or not they wish the car to be towed and by whom. If the car is towed by the first tow truck at the police’s request the cost of the tow is very high and will eventually have to be borne by someone. Whether or not you advise the police seems to be a matter of the severity of the accident. This is very difficult for a layman to determine as if there is no personal injury then how does one assess the extent of the damage involved.

Your next problem to deal with will be paying the excess to the car rental company and then attempting to recover it in the event that you were not at fault. This process may take a very long time and to some extent depend on the honesty and integrity of everyone involved.

In concluding all that has been said is the worst case scenario and should not deter you from renting a car as a fact a percentage of car renters involved is in fact very small. That is considering the mileage that the cars actually do. So good renting a have a safe trip.

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