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  1. #1
    Rickfreeman is offline Junior Member
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    May 2009
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    Unauthorized Rental Car Driver Liability

    My 26 year old daughter and a friend rented a car several months ago in New York. The car was rented by my daughter's friend and she signed up for all of the insurance. Both women are 26.

    My daughter neglected to be added as an additional driver. She has a valid license but no personal auto insurance as she does not own a car or drive in NY.

    On the way to Chicago, the driver became very tired and my daughter drove for awhile, hit a patch of ice and slid into a guard rail. No one was hurt but there was over $10,000 of damage to the vehicle. A new car was provided and they continued the trip. My daughter signed up as an additional driver on the new car.

    As expected, the rental car company has now demanded full payment from my daughter. I have asked for a copy of all of the rental agreements and any information about umbrella coverage that the rental car company has received for the damage. If they have been paid, the claim should be from the insurance company as subrogee, I would think.

    Any sugggestions on addressing this? Thank you.
  2. #2
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    Rental companies self insure. Your daughter is liable for the damage she caused to that car. She will have to review the paperwork for the insurance they purchased to see if it covers non-listed drivers. If it does not, she will have to pay out of her pocket.
  3. #3
    You Are Guilty is offline Senior Member
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    Generally, rental places in NY specifically exclude any non-listed/non-authorized drivers from any insurance they sell. You'll have to read the specific contract to be sure. If the exclusion is there, the only other hope I can think of is if the friend used a credit card to pay for the rental, and that card offers some sort of automatic rental insurance (i.e. my AmEx platnium has something like this). Worth looking into because otherwise, your only other hope is going to be challenging the valuation of the damages and subsequent repair, (which would probably end up costing you as much as the claim itself).

    Good luck.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tranquility
    Once you get to crazy land, it is only a guess on how to get out.
  4. #4
    FrankTank is offline Junior Member
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    Does your daughter own a personal automobile of her own with a valid policy of insurance? If so I would report the loss to her carrier or call her agent to see if there is any potential that they would provide coverage for the loss. I know in liability cases the insurance carrier for the vehicle is primary and operator insurance is excess. Might be worth looking in to.
  5. #5
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    FrankTank;2255835]Does your daughter own a personal automobile of her own with a valid policy of insurance? If so I would report the loss to her carrier or call her agent to see if there is any potential that they would provide coverage for the loss. I know in liability cases the insurance carrier for the vehicle is primary and operator insurance is excess. Might be worth looking in to.
    from the OP's post:

    She has a valid license but no personal auto insurance as she does not own a car or drive in NY.
    Probably not worth looking in to after all.
  6. #6
    Who's Liable? is offline Senior Member
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    Odd, as most rental car agencies attempt to collect from the person SIGNED to be the authorized driver. In this case it would be the friend. In the case of Enterrpise Rent-a-Car(significant other is a branch manager), the contract is null and void if the operator of said rental car is someone OTHER than the authorized driver, and ALL liability falls on the person who actually rented the car.

    The daughter's friend would than need to pursue the actual operator of said vehicle to collect, which in this case would be the OPs daughter. OPs daughter would STILL be liable for said costs since the accident happened while she was driving. A defense of "she allowed me to drive" is NOT a defense that would hold up in court. It would just be a matter of time before she would get sued by the former friend.

    There is a reason WHY car rental companies want ALL potential drivers to be listed as an "authorized driver". Furthermore, depending on WHO the rental car agency was, they will vigorously attempt to collect on said debt and will likely file a lawsuit shortly.

    Moral of the story:
    NEVER ALLOW SOMEONE OTHER THAN THE LISTED AUTHORIZED DRIVER TO OPERATE A RENTAL CAR!

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