What Happens if You Crash a Rental Car Without Insurance?

Shows What Happens if You Crash a Rental Car Without Insurance

If you are involved in a car crash with a rental car and you are not insured, you may be liable for paying the cost of repairs out of pocket. If someone else caused your accident, their liability insurance may compensate you for the repairs and injuries suffered.

When driving a rental car, you are just as likely to be involved in a car accident as with any other type of vehicle. Unfortunately, crashing a rental car comes with more complex situations, especially if you do not have insurance. While driving a vehicle without insurance is never advisable, this can come with specific consequences if you are driving a rental vehicle.

If you have been injured or involved in a rental car accident and are concerned that you do not have the insurance needed to handle your case, you can always contact the Text Kevin Accident Attorneys team. We provide free consultations to those who need to know more about their rental car accident and their options for recovery. We strive to help all our clients avoid paying out of pocket for these damages, especially if they are not at fault, and get the help they need for a full recovery.

Table of Contents

California Has Minimum Liability Coverage Laws

As a California driver, you have certain minimum liability laws for insurance coverage. According to California Insurance Code Section 11580.1b, all drivers are required to carry minimum liability coverage. This is the lowest amount of coverage you can have that covers the other driver in case of a car accident.

This auto insurance liability can be a massive boon if you choose to waive your rental car insurance. This insurance policy can often kick in even for rental cars, meaning that rental car insurance may only be an extra expense. After all, purchasing rental car insurance can be expensive, especially if you are already insured.

However, if you are in the process of renting a car, it is always helpful to take a look at your insurance coverage before you do so. In fact, if you are unsure whether a rental car would be covered under your auto insurance, you can always call your insurance company and speak with an agent to determine whether you are covered. Ensuring you have coverage can prevent you from paying out of pocket if you are responsible for causing a car accident.


If you do not meet the minimum insurance requirements, you may also face legal penalties when involved in an accident. If possible, be sure you have proof of insurance coverage or seek insurance coverage as soon as possible.

Consequences of Crashing a Rental Car Without Insurance If You Are At Fault

Unfortunately, car accidents happen all the time, and a moment of distraction may have led to a serious accident that damaged your rental car. In the US, distracted driving alone is responsible for the deaths of more than 3,000 people in 2022 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA). If you are one of the many people involved in these accidents and you are accused of fault for distracted driving or other types of negligence, you can face serious penalties.

You May Be Held Liable If You Do Not Have Coverage

Unfortunately, even if you do not have insurance coverage, you can still be held liable for the damages caused by the accident. California’s fault laws, under California Civil Code 1714, state that drivers are liable for the injuries they cause in a motor vehicle accident, which is true regardless of whether you are covered by insurance. Unfortunately, if you have neither purchased rental car insurance nor have your own liability coverage, that can leave you paying out of pocket for the accident.

That is why pursuing a strong defense when you are accused of causing a rental car accident is so important. Not only may you be responsible for the damages caused to the other vehicle, but the rental car service will also expect payment for the damage done to the rental car. That can leave you facing thousands of dollars in repair bills and other expenses related to the accident.

Reducing the Impact of These Penalties

When you are accused of fault in a rental car accident, reducing the impact of these accusations is your first step. If you are unsure who caused the accident, we can begin by investigating the case and determining whether you are at fault at all. If not, the other party’s liability insurance may be an option for your case.

If we find evidence that you may have caused the accident, we may make efforts to reduce the severity of the charges against you. That includes identifying ways that the other involved party was negligent, which may have had a role in the outcome of your accident. If we are able to reduce these accusations or identify ways that other insurance policies may cover some of the expenses, we can help you avoid accepting more severe penalties.

Pro Tip

Gathering evidence against the other party can be done from the accident scene forward. We may also gather evidence through expert witness testimony, which can give us more options for proof.

Severe Accidents May Do More Damage than Your Liability Policy Covers

Remember that even if you have liability coverage, it may not cover the entirety of the accident. For example, you may have been in a rental car accident that caused severe or catastrophic injuries, such as burns, brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and more. When these accidents happen, the cost of the accident may far exceed what liability coverage offers.

The accident claim may need to be heard in civil court in these cases. Fortunately, this gives a personal injury lawyer with our team an opportunity to pursue a strong defense and compensation for your claim. We are prepared to represent you in the courtroom and pursue every opportunity possible to help you avoid accepting total fault and paying out of pocket for your rental car accident.

What Happens if the Other Party Is At Fault for the Accident?

In cases where the other party is responsible for the rental car accident, you may not be as heavily impacted by a lack of insurance. Because California is a fault state, meaning that the party at fault for the accident is financially liable for the injury suffered, the other party’s liability insurance should cover the costs of your recovery. That can help you pay for the damages caused by the accident without paying out of pocket for them.

However, the other party may try to countersue if they believe you were at fault for the crash. That can have a major impact on your case, as shared fault can reduce the value of the compensation you receive. Without insurance, that can have a massive negative effect on your finances.

Fortunately, our team is here to help you navigate this situation. If the at-fault party tries to place the blame on you, we are ready to take action and pursue evidence showing that you could not have been at fault for the accident. We also offer in-court representation so that you can focus on your injury recovery while we focus on securing compensation for your claim.

Filing a Lawsuit for Your Rental Car Damages

If you plan to sue for the rental car damages you have suffered, keep in mind that there are certain state laws that can impact the value and viability of your claim. If you do not take care through the process of filing your claim, your lawsuit can be diminished in value, or it may be dismissed completely. Reach out to us for help navigating your case and the California statutes that can impact its value.

Statute of Limitations

According to California Civil Code Section 335.1, you only have two years to file your lawsuit, or your claim may be impacted by the inaction on this case. If you miss these deadlines, your claim may be dismissed, leaving you without opportunities to pursue compensation. Fortunately, we are prepared to maintain a strict timeline to file your claim within these time limits.

Comparative Negligence

Your claim can also be impacted if the at-fault party accuses you of sharing the fault. Under California Civil Code Section 1714, any shared negligence can reduce the value of your claim in proportion to that blame. For example, if you are found 20% at fault for the accident, you will only receive 80% of the damages you are due, which can impact your recovery and your ability to cover any costs for the damages caused to the rental car.

You May Be Due Damages for Your Suffering in the Accident

If you have been involved in a rental car accident and were not at fault, you may need compensation for the suffering you have experienced. Car accidents can cause significant damage to your person and the vehicle, and you may need compensation for that suffering. While the rental car company may pursue compensation for the damages to the vehicle, you may also have losses and suffering that should be compensated in the courtroom.

However, it can be difficult to calculate these damages, especially when you are driving a vehicle that was a rental rather than your own vehicle. Fortunately, a car accident lawyer like ours can help you navigate your accident and get answers. If you are struggling to calculate the damages you have suffered in the accident, reach out for help getting compensated for the following damages.

Economic Damages

When you are involved in a car accident, the financial cost of your recovery can be significant. Even if the rental car company chooses to sue for the damages to the vehicle, you may still have significant injuries, other property damaged in the accident, and time away from work that leaves you without the income you need to pay your bills. All these expenses can add up, and we can help you identify and determine the value of these damages.

Keep in mind that any financial costs you have suffered in the accident are potentially eligible, including future damages. For example, you may have been injured in a way that requires multiple surgeries, but your doctor may not have completed all of those surgeries yet. In these cases, we can identify the treatment you are expected to receive in the future and pursue compensation for these damages.

Non-Economic Damages

Your damages are not exclusively financial. You may also be due compensation for the pain and suffering or non-economic damages you have experienced, defined under California Civil Code 1431.2, which can be significant. However, these damages are intangible, meaning you may not have a clear value for these losses.

When you seek us out for a personal injury lawyer, we can determine the specific pain and suffering you have experienced for your injuries. For example, catastrophic injuries can be painful and impact your enjoyment of life. Using the severity of your injuries and the impact they have had on your life, we can calculate your pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and other non-economic damages you may have suffered in your accident.


If you have suffered a devastating injury, consider keeping a journal or log of your recovery process. Because this process can be complex and non-linear, it can help attorneys like Kevin Crockett and his team identify your damages due.

Reach Out for Support with Your Rental Car Accident Through Our Top-Rated Car Accident Attorneys

In the wake of a rental car accident, you may be hurt, suffering, and worried that you may be blamed for the accident, which can make focusing on your physical recovery feel impossible. If you are blamed for the rental car accident and you do not have insurance, they may seek out-of-pocket payment for the damages done to the vehicle, let alone the damage to the other driver and their property. Unfortunately, this can be difficult to recover from, but we can seek to reduce the impact of these accusations or show that you were not at fault for the accident.

At Text Kevin Accident Attorneys, we strive to help our clients recover compensation when faced with any type of car accident. If you need answers about what happens if you crash a rental car without insurance, we provide free consultations. During these consultations, we can discuss your possibilities for defense and determine the value of your damages if you are able to sue, so reach out to our team by calling or filling out our online contact form.

Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett is an award-winning personal injury lawyer who understands the impact an accident can have on someone’s life. That’s why he aggressively fights for each of his clients.

All Posts

More Legal Blogs

Getting Rear Ended While Stopped Settlement

Getting Rear Ended While Stopped Settlement

Being rear-ended while stopped can be a jarring experience, often leaving victims with injuries and financial burdens. Understanding the settlement process for these types of

Suggest a Correction