As summer approaches in beautiful Connecticut, many travelers are looking forward to a vacation here in New England or perhaps a road trip across the country. Having an accident in a rental car is the last thing anyone wants to experience while on vacation. The best medicine is prevention. However, accidents happen, even when driving a rental. Follow these tips to help ensure you are prepared for your summer vacation to be memorable for all the right reasons.
Graves Amendment and liability
Every vehicle renter should be aware of the Graves Amendment. In 2005, this was a crucial amendment to a federal highway bill that made “vicarious liability” claims against car rental companies virtually non-existent. The renter or driver is the one that is liable in case of an accident and not the rental company. Since most car rental companies operate in more than one state, they fall under the Graves Amendment as inter-state commerce.
Your insurance or mine?
Renters should take the time to review their own car insurance policy to verify if they are covered when renting a car. Although most policies do include coverage for rentals, it is a good time to check coverage limits and deductibles. If not, the small expense of adding the “temporary rental insurance” offered by the rental agency is the best preventive measure. If the “collision damage waiver” was purchased at the rental counter, be aware that damage waivers do not exclude liability for damage to property or medical expenses for those involved in the accident. To be completely covered, rely on personal insurance or buy the rental companies “supplemental liability coverage.”
Documentation at the time of renting
It is important to make both printed and digital copies of important documents when traveling. Being prepared for the worst-case scenario includes having access to necessary documents: insurance policies, phone numbers, account numbers, passwords, etc. In addition, take photos or videos when inspecting the rental car inside and out. Be sure to include the mileage and the fuel gauge as evidence upon return.
When planning a family vacation, it is important to expect the unexpected. Although it is impossible to eliminate all perils, preparation is the key to confidence. These simple steps might make all the difference in your upcoming summer vacation.