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Rental car accident
Old 07-23-2007, 07:11 PM   #1
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Rental car accident

The bad news:

On vacation with friends in Santa Fe, NM today driving a very new Saturn VUE (600 miles on the odometer) and I get rear-ended while stopped for a traffic light. A construction worker talking on a cell phone slams his 20 year old work truck into us at ~ 15 mph, including his large steel front brush guard. The rear bumper of the Vue is cut into three separate pieces and the rear hatch door bent substantially out of shape and will no longer latch.

The good news:

No one is injured, the guy who hits me has insurance, doesn’t try any funny business, the cops are reasonably prompt and courteous, and Enterprise Car Rental is very responsive when I call to report the accident. In less than 2 ½ hours we’ve done all the police paperwork, got an accident report completed, are in a new (larger) rental vehicle, and on our way.

The unknown:

I didn’t take the CDW insurance from Enterprise, so I may be in for some future hassle. I did use the Pentagon FCU Visa Card, which offers rental coverage. I called Visa to report the accident and was given a web address to use to fill out an accident report. I was informed I had 90 days to file the report, so I plan to wait and see if Enterprise goes through the other guy’s insurance company for restitution before I file with either Visa or report my accident to my carrier (USAA).

Anyone have any experience they would care to share? Should I be doing something differently?
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Old 07-23-2007, 07:19 PM   #2
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I'm glad no one was hurt. The other guy's insurance should cover it, but you should report it to USAA anyway in case they give you a hassle. I've never had to use USAA for rental car accidents (never had one) but I called them once to find out if I'm covered and they said I was, under my standard car policy. I never checked the details, though. Here is an excerpt from their web site that shows maybe there's a lot they don't cover:

If I Rent a Car, Is It Covered?

In most states you are covered for the cost to repair or replace a damaged rental vehicle. However, this does not cover administrative fees, the loss of a vehicle's use, or the reduction in a car's value due to damage. If you're renting you can buy optional coverage from the rental company. If you rent a car with Avis, Budget or Hertz through USAA Alliance Services Company you will be covered for administrative fees, the loss of a vehicle's use, or the reduction in a car's value due to damage. In addition, you can save up to 25% on your rental.
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Old 07-23-2007, 07:21 PM   #3
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Might depend on the state and the insurer, but sometimes just calling your insurer to report an accident that they dont cover or do anything about still counts as a "claim". Which might affect current or future discounts.
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Old 07-23-2007, 07:33 PM   #4
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Sorry to hear you got rearended, REW!

I had a similar experience about 10 years ago while visiting the US, except that my rental car was legally parked at a relative's home at the time. In the predawn hours, a neighbour leaving for work, not anticipating the presence of another vehicle, didn't look around and reversed into my car, causing several hundred $ worth of damage. She left the scene without admitting it, but another neighbour witnessed the event and notified me. IIRC, I got a statement from the witness. That turned out to be fortuitous, as the culprit hid her car till it was fixed and denied everything.

I was leaving for the airport that morning and got the paperwork underway before departing to Canada. Like you, I had used the rental insurance on my gold VISA. I don't recall which car rental company I used, but it wasn't Enterprise. As I recall, VISA paid for the repairs and then pursued the culprit on her insurance. Paperwork, yes, but no undue hassle.

You are in the clear here. Anytime you are stationary, it's the other guy's responsibility to avoid hitting you. On another occasion I got rearended in my own vehicle just after coming to a complete and careful stop on an icy street, and it was, as they say, an open and shut case. Therefore I don't see how you could lose by being upfront with everybody involved.

PS. I rent vehicles several times yearly at home and abroad. I always use a Gold Visa and never pay CDW. I have never been dinged with increased premiums.
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Old 07-23-2007, 07:51 PM   #5
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Sorry to hear you got rearended, REW!



Is it time for the "er forum marriages" thread again?
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Old 07-23-2007, 08:03 PM   #6
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Sorry, REW. I'll be following your saga closely since I'm typical of many - always refuse rental company insurance, assuming my credit card and own car insurance does as much.

Good time to go verify that before something happens.

I hope you experience ends well. Glad you're OK.
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Old 07-23-2007, 08:05 PM   #7
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I've been rear-ended twice in a rental car while stopped for awhile. I was on company business and had charged car with my corporate Amex. I simply filled out the report at the rental agency with no cops involved and called HQ. HR took care of everything for me.
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Old 07-23-2007, 08:16 PM   #8
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Save copies of everything because you may get a call from the rental car company trying to collect because they have your credit card and it's easier than reading the accident report.

My husband was rear-ended recently in FL when he was at a stop sign in a rental car. The female driver jumped out of the car and ran. The male passenger was the owner of the truck and had insurance. The truck owner gave the cop a name for the driver but that did not later check out to be real. Supposedly, she had jumped out of the vehicle to run to the nearby courthouse because she had a court appointment and did not want to be late. Yeah, right. The passenger/owner's name, vehicle license number, and insurance company name (Progressive) went onto the police report.

My husband gave his copy of the police report to the rental car company when he filled out the accident report. About a week after he got home, the rental car company accident repair folks called and said they were planning on charging our credit card ($158.00) for the bumper repair since the driver's name did not check out as real. We immediately obtained another copy of the police report (love PDF files and email) and called Progressive with the owner's name and license plate number. We asked if he had reported an accident and Progressive said no but they would handle the situation immediately if we would forward a copy of the police report. All info was passed along to the rental car company and we haven't heard anything more since the end of May.

The credit card company would have paid for everything if Progressive had not taken care of things. The service from Progressive was impressive. The guy was probably a bit surprised when they gave him a call and asked him if he had forgotten to call them about something. I now always use this credit card for car rentals. In addition, always call the police so there is an official record even if the damage is minimal (as it was in this case).
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Old 07-23-2007, 08:20 PM   #9
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FWIW, this happened to me long ago. I rear-ended someone else. The rental company dealt with the credit card company and I never heard anything else.

Hope your experience is as smooth!
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Old 07-23-2007, 08:22 PM   #10
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I also always try to use the USAA referred car rental companies so I don't have to worry about admin or loss of use fees.
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Old 07-23-2007, 09:01 PM   #11
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Glad nobody was hurt!!!

Maybe I'm missing something really crucial here, but I thought that essentially ALL credit cards have made their domestic rental car coverage "secondary" in the last few years. I think even Diners Club switched over. Coverage overseas is generally primary, except in some odd places like Ireland, Israel, and a few others.

If anybody knows of any credit card that provides primary coverage on domestic auto rentals, pls post!!!

The last time I rented from Enterprise they told me that in the event of any accident they would bite my C/C for the amount of my personal insurance's deductible and go after my insurance co for the rest - and it would be up to my insurance co to go after the other driver if I was not the "at fault" party. Eventually my own insurance company would refund me my deductible if I were not at fault.

FWIW, the per-diem insurance sold by the car companies is hideously expensive compared to what you probably already pay for with your own coverage. And, if you take their coverage you indeed avoid making a claim on your policy but your own policy will still zap you if you're judged at-fault by the police.

So, along with many/most others, I never take 'the insurance' when I rent a car.
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Old 07-23-2007, 09:21 PM   #12
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Glad all is well and no one hurt. isn't that two near misses in a year?
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Old 07-23-2007, 09:23 PM   #13
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My CC is a Scwab Platinum Visa. I was under the assumption it was primary insurance but I would have to double-check. When I filled out the online claim form , it seemed like they were going to be the payer although we didn't have to complete the claim process so I don't know for sure.

When my husband got rear-ended, the rental car company didn't care who my insurance company was. They had a credit card and a repair bill and they were going to charge it.
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Old 07-23-2007, 09:41 PM   #14
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isn't that two near misses in a year?
Yep, one in January and now this. I've been driving for 45 a lot of years and until 2007 only been involved in three accidents, thankfully all minor. Now two in the past 6 months. Although not at fault in either one, I have to wonder if the law of averages isn't catching up with me.
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Old 07-23-2007, 10:33 PM   #15
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The good news:

No one is injured, the guy who hits me has insurance, doesn’t try any funny business, the cops are reasonably prompt and courteous, and Enterprise Car Rental is very responsive when I call to report the accident. In less than 2 ½ hours we’ve done all the police paperwork, got an accident report completed, are in a new (larger) rental vehicle, and on our way.
A tale of caution: I was involved in an almost identical accident while on business last year, with the exception of the speed of the at-fault driver; I was stopped and he was going 50. At the time of the accident, I felt fine, and, after a similarly pleasant experience with the rental car company, was soon on my way.

I finished out the work week, and flew home a few days later. The same night, I got a call from the at-fault's insurer asking me whether anyone had been injured. I said no and they informed me that everything would be taken care of. The following morning, however, I woke up and knew immediately that something was wrong; my neck was in excruciating pain, and I could barely walk.

Fast forward more than a year through several rounds of physical therapy, multiple X-rays, MRI's, doctor and surgeon consultations, and my condition is not much improved from that first morning of pain. I am currently scouting counsel in the state where the accident occurred, and, as the result of the statute of limitations, in all likelihood will have to go to trial. Although they were true at the time, my claims that I was uninjured both at the scene and during the subsequent phone call could negatively impact my case.

So, the crux of all this rambling is: If you do get a call from an insurance company, do not say that no one was injured. Even though your accident was less severe than mine, you never know when an injury might crop up as a result.
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Old 07-23-2007, 10:43 PM   #16
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It drives me nuts watching idiots driving around talking on their cell phones, in fact, one of my biggest pet peeves is idiots placing their food orders while yacking on it.

Some new research I read from the EU talked about how cell phones in cars actually produce some kind of EM field or something in your car, that slows reaction times in your brain, and add this on top of idiots that cannot chew gum and walk, you have a very bad conversation!

It just amazes me how people walk around all day with those things stuck in their ears and get call after call.

My humble advice to the world...get off your damn cell phones! (can't you tell I need to retire fast!)
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Old 07-23-2007, 10:51 PM   #17
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I was in a similar situation a few years ago - other driver's fault, didn't take any coverage with the rental. Filled out the report at the rental car company, they contacted my insurance company, and my insurance company contacted me. I told the insurance company what happened, they took a report, I never heard from anyone about it again. Never got anything on my record or any rate increases, so it seemed like everything worked as expected.

I got the feeling from talking to the rental car folks that if I didn't have insurance, they would have hit my credit card first, then it would have been up to me to track down the money from the other driver's insurance.

HOWEVER, in a more recent incident, one of my team members at work received some door damange on a rental car while parked, and they hit his credit card immediately. But in that case, there was no other driver, so maybe the protocols are different in that case.
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Old 07-24-2007, 09:05 AM   #18
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It drives me nuts watching idiots driving around talking on their cell phones, in fact, one of my biggest pet peeves is idiots placing their food orders while yacking on it...........

My humble advice to the world...get off your damn cell phones! (can't you tell I need to retire fast!)
It's now illegal to use cellphones while driving in Chicago, they passed the law last year. I wish the State lawmakers would do the same for the rest of IL. (or better yet, maybe congress could pass a federal law prohibiting use while driving, nation-wide!!!)

Reading the police reports here in our town, about 1/3 of the 'fender-bender' reports state that the accident happened "....while talking on cellphone..." or "....dropped cellphone...." or "...answering cellphone...". Geez, if it's that darn important, pull over and park that 1 1/2 ton missile you're driving, THEN talk all that you want to. But, get your *ss off the frigging road first!
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Old 07-24-2007, 10:42 AM   #19
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My husband and I were in Vegas a few months ago. Our Hertz rental car got wrapped around a parking garage pilar by a parking attendant at one of the casinos. The drivers door was caved in and paint removed from that side of the vehicle. Since we had not taken the additional insurance we were understandably concerned about the damages. We filled out paperwork at the casino and gave it to Hertz. Hertz sent us a nice letter about a month later and said the claim was paid in full by the casino. We never contacted our insurance about a claim.
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Old 07-24-2007, 11:02 AM   #20
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You are in the clear here. Anytime you are stationary, it's the other guy's responsibility to avoid hitting you. On another occasion I got rearended in my own vehicle just after coming to a complete and careful stop on an icy street, and it was, as they say, an open and shut case. Therefore I don't see how you could lose by being upfront with everybody involved.
I'm sure you are clear, but being stationary is not a free ride...It is "how" you are stationary...Are you over the line--is the light green---all your brake lights work---And a million others. If there is a crack plan on someone trying to get into it for whatever gain there may be.

I doubt if you need to worry about USAA. However, I think they say let us know in 30 days(verify) if it is only property damage. You might want to wait the 30 days and see how things are going before you report, but generally you ought to report it.
Now if you had been home moderating and chasing after the mailman, none of this would have happened
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