For many, car sharing is a convenient option for renting a car to get from point A to point B. Car-sharing companies make it easier than ever to hop into a car and get on your way; just sign on the dotted line and you’re good to go! Before you hit the road, however, you should be aware of the procedures and policies in place for accidents in car shares. Hopefully, you’ll never be involved in one—but if you are, it’s important that you know what to expect and how to protect yourself from possible liability.
Accident Procedures by Company
Specific procedures regarding car-share accidents can vary greatly from one company to the next, especially in terms of how insurance and liability are handled. For most car-share companies, however, the driver of the vehicle involved is expected to let the car-share company know about the accident as soon as possible.
With a company like Car2go for example, you may be responsible for a repair deductible of up to $500 if you get into an accident. That amount can increase to $2,000 if you allow an unauthorized driver (such as a friend) behind the wheel.
Another car-share company known as Evo has slightly different requirements. Beyond a deductible of up to $1,000 per accident, Evo recommends that all drivers carry additional insurance coverage to pay for damages that aren’t covered by their included liability, comprehensive, and collision coverage. Furthermore, if you’re found liable for the accident, Evo could go after you for any deductible or related expenses not covered by their insurance.
Get into an accident in a Zipcar vehicle and the consequences will vary depending on whether or not you purchased their optional waiver. This waiver allows you to have their $1,000 damage/accident fee waived if you’re in an accident, with a few exceptions. For example, you cannot be under the influence of drugs or alcohol when you get into an accident, nor can you be found using a cell phone or other device.
If you’re in an Accident
Generally speaking, if you’re in a car-share accident, there are a few steps you should take right away. For starters, try to get as much documentation as possible at the accident scene. This includes taking photos of the damage and your surroundings. If there were any witnesses to the accident, ask them if they’d be willing to provide a statement and, if so, be sure to get their contact information.
Of course, you’ll also want to report the accident to your car-share company right away by calling them directly.
Before driving off in your car share, it’s also a good idea to physically assess the vehicle for damage and take photos of anything you see.
When to Seek Legal Guidance
If you’ve been involved in a car-share accident, it’s a good idea to seek legal guidance immediately so that your rights and best interests can be protected. Our partners at Warnett Hallen LLP are here to help, so schedule your free case consultation today.