You are standing at a rental car counter and the rental agent asks you if you want to purchase car insurance on the vehicle you are renting. Should you purchase the insurance? Does the insurance you purchase for your personal automobile cover a rental car?
The car rental company will likely tell you that buying additional insurance will give you “peace of mind” or that the insurance you purchase through them has “no deductible” which can save you in the case of a car accident.
It is a good idea to check with your insurance company about your own policy because policies can vary from state-to-state and you want to make sure you are adequately insured. Sometimes even your credit card company will reimburse you for your deductible if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident in a rental car.
Non-Owned Car Coverage
When checking with your insurance agent, be sure to ask the question, “Do I have Non-Owned Car Coverage.”
We were reading a court decision, Chandler v. Geico Indem. Co, 2011 WL 5864808 (Fla. Nov. 23, 2011) in which the case decided the question, “Does Geico’s Non-Owned Car Coverage cover motor vehicle accident injuries caused by the negligent use of a rental car even though the driver of the rental car was not an authorized driver under the rental car contract?”
In this case, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the rental car was a “temporary substitute auto” under the insured’s automobile insurance policy and therefore Geico was liable for injuries.
The case arose when Kutasha Shazier rented a car from Avis because her auto was in the repair shop. The rental car contract stated that Shazier was not authorized to allow additional drivers of the rental car unless Avis provided prior written approval.
Shazier’s personal car insurance with Geico provided “Non-Owned Car Coverage” to cover a temporary substitute auto not owned by Shazier but temporarily used with the permission of the owner.
Shazier lent the rental car to Tercina Jordan who was involved in a single-car accident in which one passenger was killed and several others were injured. The injured passengers and the deceased passenger’s estate filed a lawsuit against Shazier and Jordan. Geico, Shazier’s insurer argued that they did not have to cover damages because the rental car was not a temporary substitute because Jordan did not have Avis’ permission to drive the vehicle.
The court ruled that the rental car qualified for insurance under Geico’s “temporary substitute auto” policy and even though it was not owned by the insured person it could be considered an “owned auto” and the insurer must cover the insured and any person using the vehicle that Shazier had given permission to.
How a Personal Injury Attorney can Help You in a Car Accident
Even though you may large insurance premiums, your insurance company may not one to pay a legitimate claim or they might want to lessen your award. A Seattle personal Injury attorney can help you fight insurance companies after your accident. You will likely receive a greater award if you hire a qualified and experienced lawyer to represent you. And, in a complex case like the one we described above, hiring a personal injury attorney is absolutely essential.
This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We are a personal injury law firm representing clients with car accident injury claims throughout the greater Seattle-Bellevue-Tacoma metropolitan area and throughout the Pacific Northwest. We provide FREE and CONFIDENTIAL case evaluations so contact us today.