I was hit by someone driving a rental car. What should I do?

Here’s the good news: most reputable rental car companies won’t let a driver get behind the wheel without some kind of insurance. If the renter does not own a car or have their own car insurance, the rental company should have sold them insurance. Make sure to get:

  1. The person’s name and contact information
  2. The person’s insurance information, if they have car insurance
  3. The name of the rental car company

If the person who was driving owns a car of their own, they should have insurance. Liability coverage actually follows the driver, not the car, so that person’s car insurance should cover you even though the vehicle they hit you with wasn’t the car they own.

If the person who was driving does not own their own car, they may not have their own car insurance. The rental company should have sold them insurance when they rented the car. If the driver at fault can’t remember the details of that plan, get in touch with the rental car company directly to figure out what to do. Even easy-to-use services like Zipcar and Car2Go must make sure that drivers have some liability coverage. Be aware, however, that Zipcar’s insurance and Car2Go’s plan have the bare minimum liability coverage.

It’s possible that the person who hit you has a non-owner’s auto policy if they’re a frequent renter. Non-owner car insurance can be more robust in its liability coverage than the bare-bones plans that rental car companies tack on. Ask the person who hit you if they have any form of non-owner insurance.

If you’re hit by a rental car, one thing you can’t do is sue the rental car company. Federal law protects car rental companies from liability in situations like this.

Some credit card companies will also offer secondary rental car insurance, including collision protection, if certain conditions are met. Ask the driver who hit you if they have any sort of alternative insurance that might cover a rental car.

Chris Davis
Top-rated, award-winning, attorney practicing wrongful death & serious injury law in Seattle.