Safety Tips for Renting a Car | Scott Goodwin Law

Safety Tips for Renting a Car

by / Monday, 27 September 2021 / Published in Tips
Black leather seats inside of a car.

When you need to rent a car, you might not think that things would be all that different when it comes to safety. After all, basic safe driving measures like wearing seat belts, obeying the speed limit, and eliminating distractions all apply whether you’re driving your normal car or a rental. But there are some unique things to keep in mind when it comes to renting a car.

Auto Insurance & Rental Cars

When you go to rent a car, it’s very likely that the rental company is going to ask you whether or not you want to buy insurance for your rental car. Rental companies can be very aggressive about trying to upsell you on their insurance policies, and it is indeed important to make sure you have insurance coverage for a rental car. But the good news is that you may already have coverage. 

As soon as you start thinking about renting a car, it’s a good idea to review your auto insurance policy or contact your insurer to find out exactly what it covers. Some auto insurance policies have coverage that extends to rental cars so you may not need to purchase extra coverage. Or if your auto insurance doesn’t cover rental cars, you could check into what types of insurance you can get through your credit card instead. Some credit cards offer insurance coverage that applies to rental cars. Or if you’re planning on buying travel insurance, you may be able to get coverage for a rental car through that policy.

In either case, it’s extremely important to find out what coverage you specifically have. For example, some credit cards that offer coverage for rental cars want that coverage to be secondary insurance coverage, meaning their coverage would only go into effect once you’ve gone through all your other insurance options first. It’s also important to see if your insurance would cover “loss of use” charges, which are fees that are incurred for the amount of time that a car is out of commission for repairs. This is another thing that some policies cover, but it very often isn’t covered.

Get Familiar With the Car

Once you get behind the wheel of your rental car, you might be very excited to hit the road as soon as possible. Maybe you’re eager to get to your destination or perhaps you’re just looking forward to driving a nice car. But don’t forget to take some time to get used to the car. 

Anytime you drive a car that isn’t the one you’re used to driving on a regular basis, it always takes some time to adjust. Mirrors need to be adjusted to suit your needs and seats may need to be moved a bit to be comfortable. Perhaps the controllers for the radio and the heat/air conditioner are a bit different from the ones in your regular car. In any case, it’s important to take a few minutes to get to know the car a bit and start to get comfortable with how it works. Remember, distracted driving is a lot more than just using your phone while driving. Trying to do things like adjust your seat or mirrors, or even the radio can also be considered distracted driving since they can make you take one of your hands off the wheel and your eyes/attention away from the road.

If the car you’re renting is a different type of car from what you’re used to driving, it’s also important to take some time to get used to how the car handles. For example, if you’re used to driving a sedan but need to rent a van so that you have more space to move belongings, it might not handle the same way that your smaller car would. So take some time to get used to doing some basic driving maneuvers in it, such as making turns. 

Before You Leave the Lot

When you rent a car, it’s a pretty standard process to give it a brief inspection to note any physical damage so that you don’t get blamed for it (and charged for it) later on. But while you’re giving your rental car the once-over, it’s also worth checking to make sure your rental car is equipped with things like a spare tire and tools you’ll need to change a tire if you need to. And while you’re taking the time to get used to how your rental car handles, make sure everything seems to be working as it should. If you seem to have a hard time braking or notice anything else wrong with how the car operates, make sure to alert the rental company.

Contact a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, one of the best things you can have is an experienced car accident lawyer on your side — especially if injuries are involved. Insurance companies can be difficult to deal with because they have a vested interest in paying out as little money as possible. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to talk to a lawyer who has helped many people just like you. Contact us today to get started.