GOING OUT OF TOWN FOR SPRING BREAK?
ARE YOU COVERED WHEN YOU RENT A CAR?
In general, if you own a car with insurance in Minnesota, your auto insurance will cover you if you damage a rental car in an accident. This insurance coverage will apply even if you rent a vehicle in another state. If you are at fault in the car accident and damage another vehicle or injure someone, your auto insurance will cover you for that as well. However, you should always read your auto insurance policy and ask your insurance agent to verify your coverage.
If you do not own an auto with insurance in Minnesota, and happen to be renting a car in Minnesota, Minnesota car rental agencies must provide the minimum liability insurance ($30,000) for the rental car if you cause an accident and damage another vehicle on the road or hurt someone. The rental car company cannot require the renter to provide that insurance. However, the rental car agency is only required to provide the minimum $30,000 of liability insurance, and it is generally not responsible for any liability beyond that. So if you cause a serious accident and other people are injured, you will be personally responsible to pay compensation for their injuries beyond the $30,000 in liability coverage from the rental car company if you don’t have your owner auto insurance. In addition, the rental car company’s insurance will only cover liability to other cars and drivers, so if you do not have your own insurance and you damage the rental car, you are responsible for that damage. Therefore, if you are renting a car and you do not own a car with insurance, you should discuss purchasing insurance from the rental car company.
It gets a bit more complicated if YOU are injured in an accident while you are driving a rental car, particularly if the other driver is at fault and is uninsured or underinsured.
The bottom line is that if you own a car or truck in Minnesota and you have insurance on it, you should be covered for a rental vehicle to the same extent as your personal coverage. However, if you do not have your own auto insurance, you should consider buying separate coverage if you rent a car.
If you are ever in an accident while driving a rental car or a passenger in a rental car in MN, please call our office and a lawyer will explain your rights to you. We will provide you with a free consultation, answer your questions and advise you on how to proceed.