If you rent cars in America, you may find yourself in one of many Hertz rental car accidents.
In a previous piece on rental car accidents, we spoke at length about Enterprise Rent-A-Car accidents. Founded in 1918 (nearly half a century before Enterprise), The Hertz Corporation also has thousands of offices both in the United States and across the globe. The Hertz Corporation also owns several smaller subsidiaries, including Dollar and Thrifty.
Much of what we wrote about Enterprise insurance and accidents will also apply to Hertz, and we encourage you to read our Enterprise guide for a general overview of how Hertz rental car accidents work. This article will provide an overview of the differences between the two companies.
Like Enterprise, Hertz offers all its customers supplementary rental car insurance. However, the precise types of insurance offered by Hertz differ slightly from those offered by Enterprise:
First, Hertz offers liability insurance, which protects against third-party claims for medical bills and property damage. This will protect you if you are in an at-fault accident and another party is injured.
Next, Hertz offers personal accident insurance and personal effects coverage, which must be bought together. Personal accident insurance covers your medical bills, while personal effects coverage pays for any damage to your property.
Finally, Hertz offers a damage waiver, which absolves you of responsibility if you damage the car. A damage waiver is not technically insurance, but it has the same basic purpose of protecting you financially. There are a few variations on the loss damage waiver, including the limited loss damage waiver and the partial damage waiver, which only cover you up to a certain point ($1,000).
These, in short, are the different types of Hertz insurance. Read this detailed list of Hertz’s insurance offerings for specific information on each plan.
Do I Really Need to Buy Insurance for Hertz Rental Car Accidents?
Most of the time, when you go to the Hertz office to rent a car, the Hertz agent will tell you your best option is to buy Hertz’ insurance, because if you don’t buy it, then you will have to pay for damages out-of-pocket.
In fact, for many people who rent a car from Hertz, there is no need to buy the extra insurance. In many cases, your own personal car insurance already covers rentals; your credit card may also cover rentals.
If so, you can feel safe in declining the insurance, despite what your salesman may say.
You should find out exactly what your auto insurance and credit card cover before declining, though. Some minor damages may only be covered by the Hertz damage waiver. Your personal auto insurance or credit card insurance may not cover certain types of large or luxury vehicles, of vehicles, or certain types of damages. Credit cards often provide only secondary coverage, which kicks in once other forms of insurance have expired, and they often provide only collision and not liability coverage. They may not cover rentals in certain foreign countries, or when driving on dirt roads, and you must use a card filed under your name; and you may need to use a business card for business travel.
What to Do After Hertz Rental Car Accidents
After Hertz rental car accidents, drivers should take the same steps you would take after any car accident, including calling 911 and getting help for anyone who is injured; exchanging contact and insurance information with the other parties; and gathering basic evidence, such as witness contact information and photographs of the accident.
You should report the accident to your insurance company (whichever insurance company is covering the costs of your rental car, whether that be your regular insurer, your credit card, or Hertz). You should also report the accident to Hertz as soon as possible.
After a collision with a Hertz vehicle, you should file an incident report with Hertz immediately. You can download the report here, along with some basic information about how to file the report.
What Else to Remember When Renting from Hertz
When renting a car, there are a few important things to keep in mind.
Before renting a Hertz car, make sure you record any damage. Hertz can bill you for damage, including minor dents, that occurred to the car while you were renting it, and these damages can be surprisingly expensive. So, take very clear records (including photographs) of any damage to the car before it leaves the rental lot, and keep these records for yourself, even after turning the car back in. You might not receive the bill until weeks or months after the rental.
Take the time to get familiar with the car’s features and functions. You’ve never driven the car before, and there may be many little things about the car that are different from what you are used to.
If you are in a rental car accident, it matters who is at fault. If the other party is at fault, their insurance will be held responsible; you may be billed by Hertz initially, but you can still file a claim with the other party’s insurance company, to recover the full amount of damages you were billed. However, if you were at fault, then the financial burden will fall on you.
When renting a car, planning is the most important thing. Learn what your personal insurance policies cover, as compared to what is offered by Hertz, and you should be able to make an informed decision about the best option for you.
And if you are in an accident with a rental car, don’t panic. If you were fully covered by insurance, then the situation should not be beyond your ability to handle. And if you need legal representation, TorkLaw is here for you.