I Hit a Deer in a Rental Car. I Declined Rental Insurance. Who Pays?

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Welcome to Ask Clark, a column designed to answer your financial questions, by money expert Clark Howard.

I Rented a Car, Declined Insurance on It and Then Hit a Deer. I Do Have Liability Insurance. Who Pays, and What Do I Do Now?

Kathleen from Georgia asks: “I hit a deer in a rental car. I declined rental insurance, and I have my own liability insurance. Who pays, and what steps do I take?”

Clark’s Take on Who Pays if You Have an Accident in a Rental Car

Clark says: If you decline rental car insurance in favor of your own liability insurance and you have an accident, there are two things you need to look into:

1. The Credit Card You Used To Rent the Car

“So one thing is you decline the rental insurance,” Clark says. “Think back to what credit card you used for the rental. That credit card may have the benefit of secondary collision coverage, and you may not even know that. So that would be the first thing I’d check.

2. Filing a Claim With Your Own Auto Insurance

“The second thing is, if you’ve not done so, you need to be in contact with your own automobile insurer, who will then handle — minus your deductible — the claim that the rental car company has with you.”

Finally, Clark says that you should try to find out how the claim is being processed. It’s not unusual for the insurer and the rental car company to get into a back and forth about junk fees, so you need to keep tabs to make sure you don’t get stuck with a balance.

To hear Clark’s full take on this question, listen to the segment:

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