Renting a car is a very common occurrence when one travels. And in each state, the requirements for renting a car are somewhat different. As it goes to insurance, some states make you show proof of insurance, while others do not. Some states make you purchase the car rental insurances, while others do not. Thus the question one asks oneself when one does not purchase the additional insurance coverage is “Am I covered under my own insurance policy?” or “Am I covered under the insurance policy of the primary person who is renting the car?” or “Am I covered by my credit card?” All good questions that a Kentucky car accident lawyer can answer for you.
As per the below video suggests, it is always good to get car rental insurance.
Recently in Kentucky, the Stacy family had a car rental insurance case decided by a Kentucky court. Mr. Donald Stacy and his daughter Kim Szajka rented a car from ABC Rent-A-Car while on a trip to Arizona. The car rental contract was with Kim as the primary driver and Mr. Stacy as an additional driver. Both refrained from purchasing additional insurance coverage. Mr. Stacy was insured by Shelter Mutual Insurance Company (“Shelter”) and Kim was insured by Allstate Insurance Company (“Allstate”). Allstate was the only insurer listed on the rental agreement.
While in Arizona, Mr. Stacy was driving the rental car while Kim was not in the car. He was rear ended by an uninsured driver. He sustained bodily injuries and incurred medical expenses. The property damage to the car was $13,237.26.
After the accident, Kim filed a lawsuit against both Shelter and Allstate for the amount of the property damage. Mr. Stacy joined in the suit and sued both insurance companies as well. Eventually Kim’s suit was resolved, but Mr. Stacy’s lawsuit continued with his Kentucky car accident lawyer.
Allstate at trial moved for summary judgment claiming that Mr. Stacy did not qualify as an insured person or a resident relative of an insured person who would be protected by Allstate’s coverage. The trial court reviewed the Allstate policy regarding who an “insured person” was and what an “insured auto” was and came to the conclusion that Mr. Stacy was in fact not an insured person and that the rental car was no in fact an insured auto. Mr. Stacy appealed. The appellate court agreed with the lower court. (Stacy v. Allstate Insurance company, 2009 WL 1349228 (Ky.App)).
Mr. Stacy argued that he should be protected under his daughter’s insurance policy with Allstate because her policy should provide coverage to him as a driver of an automobile that she rented. He argued that under the doctrine of reasonable expectations, his daughter’s uninsured motorist insurance should provide the same coverage on a rental vehicle as would be provided on her personal vehicle. Id. The Court stated in order to apply the doctrine of reasonable expectations, it first must look at whether an ambiguity exists in the policy language. It looked at the definitions of an insured person and of an insured auto. In both, it found no ambiguities and thus found that Mr. Stacy was not a covered driver. He and his Kentucky car accident lawyer were obviously not happy with this decision.
Thus, I strongly recommend to all my clients that when renting a car, that you do buy the car rental insurance offered to you at the car rental agency. Even if you have car insurance that covers the car rental, you may come across a situation where someone else might need to drive the car and if at that time, like in the case above, that person is involved in a car accident, your insurance may not cover that driver and you may not even know if that driver has his own insurance. Thus, you could be personally liable for the damages to the vehicle and maybe even the damages to the driver or to the driver of the other car even if you are not even in the car.
So, if have not checked with your car insurance company before your trip or with your credit card company before you rent a car, and if you are not 100% sure on who is going to be driving the car at all times, then getting the insurance and spending an extra $10 or $20 a day is worth it. It is better to be safe than sorry and having extra car rental insurance is better than not being covered at all.
If you have been the subject of a Kentucky car rental accident case, please call and speak to a Kentucky car rental lawyer at the Law Offices of Andrew S. Alitowski at 888-ASK-ANDREW (275-2637) or contact us online. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you are injured…Ask Andrew!!!