Things to consider when you’re in an auto accident

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There are so many things to consider when you’re in an auto accident including care and attention to any possible injuries, the repair of your car, and how the accident could affect your insurance premiums.

There is another issue that you need to give some thought to – how will you get around after the collision? Most people have a car rental allowance as part of their auto insurance, allowing them to rent a car while their car is in the repair shop.

I suggest you check now and verify that you have this coverage. The cost is minimal and can save you hundreds of dollars.

I often see people coming to Allcar Rent A Car assuming they have car rental coverage, since they have collision coverage, and responding with shock when they learn they don’t.

Most insurance policies cover rental costs of $30 a day though some are increasing their limit to $40 or $50 per day. Some carriers cover up to 80 percent of the cost of the car rental, with a maximum payout of a fixed dollar amount.

I would suggest coverage of at least $40 a day to cover the entire rental cost. There are car rental companies, such as the one I work for, which will provide a current model year car for less than $40 a day including taxes. It is important to compare prices as there are wide differences and your insurance company may not always refer you to the best choice for you.

Insurance companies typically refer policyholders to a specific car rental company rather than provide a choice as they do with repair facilities. It is often easier for the insurance company to deal with one car rental company or they may receive a rebate from the company based on the volume of business they refer. That does not always benefit you, the policyholder.

The New York State legislature passed a law last year giving policyholders the choice to rent a car not necessarily where the insurance company recommends. You have a right to decide where to rent a car. Exercise it; call around. Insurance companies may suggest they only direct bill with the one rental agency they recommend, but most insurance companies will direct bill with more than one car rental company, which means you do not need to pay the cost out of pocket.

There are several locally-owned car rental companies throughout New York City which offer discounted rates starting at $30 a day equaling the insurance reimbursement you receive from the insurance company.

Be sure to compare car sizes. For example, at Allcar Rent A Car, we offer a Corolla as the base car for insurance customers whereas other companies will force you to pay for a mid size to get the same Corolla. Not all companies consider the same car in the same car class. You will find that locally-owned companies are more likely to provide you with a larger car without having to pay for an upgrade.

One last point — when you have a vehicle registered in New York, your personal automobile insurance coverage covers you for any damage done to the rental car. You do not need to purchase Collision Damage Waiver or Loss Damage Waiver which can cost as much as $15 a day. What’s more, this coverage is taxable. So in New York where the tax rate is 19.875 percent, this collision coverage actually costs the consumer $18 a day. You do not need to carry collision coverage on your car to benefit from this.

Remember, you are the customer and you have the right to choose the car rental company you want to rent from. Shop around before accepting the insurance company’s recommendation. Always remember to ask each company what size car you will receive, and whether the company accepts your policy as coverage for the rental vehicle. Don’t let them push the sale of the car rental company’s collision coverage if you don’t need it!


Gil Cygler

Allcar Rent-A-Car