As a Clearwater car accident attorney will tell you, Florida is one of the few states that require drivers to have personal injury protection coverage. Essentially it means that if you are hurt, then your insurance policy will have a certain amount of the damages. For many people, it brings in some relief. There is less concern about under or uninsured drivers, and many people get enough coverage to handle serious injuries that can come with an accident. But what about rental car coverage?
What Should Rental Car Coverage Provide?
The popular belief is that a rental company should provide enough coverage for any damages, but that’s difficult. Many insurance companies refuse to provide information on what coverage is “right” or “enough” and, instead, allow drivers to make decisions about their coverage.
Rental companies often claim that they meet minimum requirements, but in states such as Florida where minimum requirements vary substantially, that’s not true. Many don’t realize that in Florida, a 2005 amendment called the “Graves Amendment” released rental companies of liability. That means that they don’t need to meet basic requirements such as coverage for PIP.
Many rental companies do, however, provide a basic level of insurance to cover damages to the car. Typically, these policies hover around $10,000 and will definitely not cover more than an urgent care visit.
Basically, no one can tell a rental company that they are responsible for the injuries or damages caused by a driver who rented a car. That driver takes on all responsibility for their role in the accident. Unless there is negligence from the company such as failed vehicle maintenance or defective parts or repairs.
Why are there Restrictions for Rental Car Coverage?
There are restrictions because prior to 2005 in Florida, insurance companies were paying out millions in liability claims. There comes a point where insurance companies can’t make money in states such as Florida, where each driver’s insurance covers personal injury compensation.
The personal injury protection coverage required in Florida is to eliminate many of the issues between insurance companies and drivers. Instead of trying to “pin” the fault on one driver or the other, each driver receives compensation for a percentage of their damages based on their role in the wreck.
However, many people who are renting a car are from out of state and don’t know that. Now the result is utter confusion and a lot of frustration because people cannot turn to the rental company for more compensation, and they often can’t turn to their own insurance company.
What to Do After a Crash like This?
After an accident in a rental car, you need to contact both the rental company and your insurance company. It’s likely that the rental company does have some, although small, amount of coverage available to you. Usually, that will only cover the damages to the vehicle.
However, your insurance company may allow you to access coverage under certain circumstances. For example, if you have comprehensive or full coverage and are out of state, they may allow you to use your under or uninsured motorist coverage. The differences between state laws and requirements are aspects of insurance that your company deals with regularly.
You should also contact a local attorney. Although you are from out of state, a Florida-based attorney will give you more direction in how to move forward. But they should also be there to help you explore options for resolution beyond submitting a claim and hoping for a check.
With an attorney, you may be able to gather evidence or handle the insurance companies with more authority than if you did it alone. The fact that many people attempt to resolve these claims alone is astounding, especially when they’re trying to handle legal affairs from a different state.
Instead, put someone in place to answer questions for your insurance company, provide them with the necessary paperwork, and resolve the case as quickly and thoroughly as possible. With the help of a Clearwater auto accident attorney, you may be able to reach a favorable resolution.
Get Assistance from a Clearwater Auto Accident Attorney
When renting a car in Florida, many people aren’t sure of what coverage they have. Especially for those who are on vacation and unfamiliar with Florida insurance laws. There are many major differences between Florida and most of the other states when it comes to insurance payouts and rental agreements.
Contact Winters & Yonker, P.A., a local Clearwater law office, for help with your case. As personal injury attorneys in Clearwater, we can help you while you focus on your recovery. Reach out to our offices now for a consultation.