The New York Personal Injury Blog

In a Rental Car Crash, Who's Liable?

If you've ever been involved in a rental car crash, you may have been left wondering: who's liable? Questions about liability are circling after a New York rental car accident on the Sprain Brook Parkway early Sunday claimed four lives, reports Westchester County's The Journal News. The New York state police authorities reported that a rental vehicle veered off a New York parkway, drove up the grassy shoulder, and then collided into a bridge abutment.

The four victims ranged from the ages 18 to 20, and although police confirmed no evidence of drugs or alcohol thus far, authorities are still awaiting autopsy results, reports The Journal News

This tragic accident leaves many questions still lingering. In seeking to answer "who is liable in a rental car crash in New York?" here are things to consider.

Your Auto Insurance Policy Matters

As a general rule of thumb, you should check your own automobile insurance policy before renting a car. Your exposure to liability will usually depend on your auto insurance or rental insurance policy. Your own auto insurance policy may sometimes provide coverage for any automobile that you drive, including a rental car. This may eliminate the need to purchase extra coverage, but you should call your insurance company to confirm you are covered.

If that's not the case, you may want to consider purchasing rental insurance or additional coverage to your personal insurance policy to cover your rental car, in case of an accident. When a driver has collision coverage, the insurance company pays for damages to the insured's vehicle, even when the insured driver is at fault.

Vehicle Protection Not Guaranteed

Even with coverage, however, vehicle protection may not be guaranteed with rentals. Under New York state law, a rental vehicle company has the option of voiding optional vehicle protection in certain situations. Here are some common ones:

  • Damage is caused intentionally, or as a result of reckless conduct of the driver.
  • Driver was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
  • Rental transaction was based on fraudulent information supplied by the driver.
  • Damage occurred while the driver was engaged in the commission of a crime other than a traffic infraction.

Remember, if you are ever involved in a rental car crash and you have questions about your liability, you can always consult an experienced, local attorney.

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