Here in our blog, we try to provide as much information as we can on updates to laws and ordinances in California to keep you safe. As personal injury attorneys, that information generally relates to pedestrian and bicyclist safety, but we’ve talked about schoolyard bullying and safety for your kids as well as e-scooter rental policies and defective products. Today we want to talk to you about rental cars and some new legislation already in effect and what it might mean for you if you get into an accident with a rental car.
Assembly Bill 901
Assembly Bill 901 makes modifications to rental passenger vehicle transactions, namely fees.
Rental car companies can now add a fee to your rental if you let an unauthorized driver drive your car. This means renters must take extra caution and add all drivers who might drive the car to the rental agreement at the time of renting. There are exceptions to the penalty for family members like a spouse, parent, or sibling, but be cautious about letting someone not on the rental agreement drive your rental car. Not being on the rental agreement can also mean this other driver is not covered by insurance.
Rental car companies can also raise the cap on damage waivers to $25 per day or partial day for small vehicles and beginning in January 2023, the cap can be adjusted “according to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.” And while many may believe the optional insurance of a rental vehicle to be optional, and want to take the newly-more-expensive damage waiver, there are new disclosures that must be outlined to the renter to make sure they are aware they are liable for damages that can reach the full value of the vehicle (just in damage to that vehicle, not including damages to other people and/or vehicles). Check with your car insurance company to find out if they cover rental cars and how much of the damages they cover if so, before you plan to take the damage waiver.
Assembly Bill 901 was produced by the American Car Rental Association, Avis, Enterprise, and Hertz, alongside the California Travel Association and the state’s Teamsters union. It was introduced in 2021 while rental car companies were struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic and went into effect on January 1, 2022. Read Assembly Bill 901 here.
What This Means if You Get into an Accident with a Rental Car
Collisions happen. It’s an unfortunate truth. And collisions can happen with rental cars. If you are a driver, pedestrian, or cyclist and you get into an accident with someone driving a rental car, first check for injuries and call 911 if needed, then get as much information from the driver as you can at the time of the collision. You’ll want to get both their renal agreement insurance and their personal driving insurance information because you may have to navigate through claims with one or both. There is a chance that they are not insured through their rental agreement, are not an authorized driver, or are underinsured. Take a picture with your phone of their rental documents for a fast way to save the information. Make sure you get their name and phone number, too.
If you have damages such as vehicle or bicycle damage, or have injuries needing medical care resulting in loss of income (those are damages, too), contact the lawyers at Rahman Law. We are here to help you. Navigating through insurance companies’ paperwork is a tough job (especially if there are 2 companies involved) and you don’t have to do it alone.