Is there anywhere better for a road trip than Nashville? Regardless of where you’re coming from, you can enjoy serene scenes of the Southern countryside before heading into Music City to catch a concert or drink in the sights of this historic town. The people are incredibly friendly, and the transition from quiet villages to the bright, bustling city makes you feel like you’re getting a true taste of Tennessee.
Whether you’ve splurged and rented an exotic car for a touch of luxury, or you’re simply visiting Nashville on business in a corporate car, it’s crucial that you understand your responsibilities if you get into a car crash during your trip. Today, we’ll explain what you need to know about rental car accidents within this iconic Tennessee town.
Fault Applies as It Would in Your Personal Car
First, you should know that Tennessee is an at-fault state, meaning that the person who caused the accident is held responsible – up to and including revocation of their license. The police must identify the cause of the accident and determine fault, as you shouldn’t have to pay for damages you didn’t cause.
You should follow the same procedures as you would if you were in an accident in your personal vehicle: stay at the scene, call the police, take pictures of the damages, and exchange information with the other driver. Don’t promise to pay anything or claim fault – let the police and the insurance agency determine who is to blame for the accident.
The only major difference between a rental vehicle and your personal car is that if you are at fault for the accident, insurance becomes more complicated.
You Can Use Your Personal Insurance or the Rental Company’s
You then have the choice between your own car insurance covering the accident or the rental company’s covering it; this should be based on which company has the more comprehensive policy. Most of the time, your personal auto insurance has about the same coverage as the rental company’s, but sometimes they will not cover accidents in a rental car. You should check this and, if they do not, purchase additional insurance from the rental company.
Rental companies offer multiple forms of additional insurance covering loss damage, personal injury, personal effects, and supplemental liability. The supplemental liability is used if the other person was at fault, but their insurance is inadequate to cover your medical bills or other needs. Your credit card company may also offer car rental insurance that will pay out if the rental car is damaged.
Regardless of your decision, you should always report the accident to your insurance and the rental company first.
The Rental Car Company May Charge You
You may be charged for damages to the vehicle from the accident. This is why it’s incredibly important that you stay at the scene and make a police report because this determination will impact whether your insurance or the other driver’s insurance covers the damages.
If you don’t report the accident, then you’ll be charged for damages to the car when you return it, and you typically will not be able to make any insurance claim that will cover the cost. This isn’t a big deal if it’s just a minor scratch, but this can get incredibly pricey if you have a dented bumper or any body damage.
Typically, your personal auto insurance or any supplemental insurance you purchased will cover this. If the other person is at fault, their insurance will be charged for damages to the car and any personal injuries you may have suffered.
Work With a Local Lawyer if You Are Visiting From Out of Town
If you’re on a road trip when you get into an accident, you may feel rattled and want to get home before dealing with the issue, but this can be a costly error. You should always work with a car accident attorney in Nashville, as they will be intimately familiar with the laws and regulations surrounding rental car accidents in Tennessee – something a lawyer from another state may not be well-versed in. They’ll also be able to negotiate on your behalf and smooth the legal proceedings if you have to go to court, as they’ll know exactly what to do.
No one wants to be in a car accident, and it’s even more nerve-wracking when it’s not your car. Be aware that, as long as you and the other driver have insurance, it becomes a matter of negotiation between insurance agencies, who will each try their best to reduce their liability and avoid paying a fair settlement. Working with a lawyer protects your interests and can help you get the maximum payout, even if it wasn’t your fault.
Don’t let concerns about rental car accidents keep you from enjoying the beauty and vibrancy of Nashville: understand your options and drive with confidence, sure you’ll be covered no matter what may come.