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Rental car insurance, accidents and things you should think about

Many people choose to rent a vehicle when they are going on a trip. This saves wear and tear on a primary vehicle since the mileage will be put on the rental car. Before you get on the road, you have to think about some important points about rental vehicles.

As unpleasant as it is, you have to consider what will happen if you are in an accident in the rental. Even if you are a safe driver, others on the road might not be as responsible behind the wheel.

Insurance concerns

What insurance you will have while you are in the rental car? There are several ways that you might be protected.

A car rental company will ask if you want to purchase insurance on the vehicle when you rent it. This increases the cost of the rental, but the peace of mind in knowing that you are protected with this insurance might be worth the expense.

Your own insurance may provide some protection for rental cars. Review your policy or ask your insurance agent about the coverage because this varies by policy.

Some credit card companies provide protection for rental cars. Debit cards usually don't have these protections. Coverage varies by card, so find out what is offered in your case. Also, remember that only the card used to pay for the rental will matter if you need coverage for an accident.

When an accident occurs

When there is an accident, the primary focus is getting medical care for injured parties. Once that is done, you can think about how to handle an insurance claim. This depends on who was at fault. If the other driver was at fault, you turn to that person's insurance for coverage. Drivers in Illinois are required by law to have at least the following insurance:

$20,000 for property damage for other people

$25,000 for injury or death of a single person

$50,000 for the death or injury of multiple people in an accident

This may not be sufficient to cover the costs of a crash and some drivers do not have insurance at all. When this happens, you might have to turn to the underinsured/uninsured driver coverage on your own insurance or the rental car policy. You also have the option to seek compensation from the at-fault driver through the civil court system.

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