Important facts described briefly below:
If negligent behavior should lead to damage to a rented car, persons, or other objects, there is often no insurance protection.
Examples of gross negligence include:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
- Driving under the influence of drugs
- Using your cell phone while driving
When negligent behavior results in damage to a rental car, it is officially called "gross negligence". The same applies to damage to persons or objects. What exactly is considered gross negligence and what you should consider when renting a car is described below. However, we would like to expressly point out that our information does not replace legal advice. All information is without guarantee.
Car rental negligence: Does fully comprehensive insurance pay?
In general, fully comprehensive insurance is there to cover the costs incurred in the case of an accident. However, if there is gross negligence, many insurance companies do not pay. This means, that in this case, you would have to pay for the damage yourself.
What does the law say about car rental negligence?
The law refers to gross negligence as being the lack of giving the required care while driving. This includes driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, running a red light is also gross negligence. Negligence also includes activities that do not seem so bad at first glance. For example, adjusting the car seat while driving is also gross negligence.
Is there a difference between negligence with a rental car and in your own car?
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is considered gross negligence for both your vehicle and a rental.
When booking and using a rental car, there are many other aspects that may not be relevant for when you drive with your own vehicle. These include, for example, losing the rental car key. If the keys for the rental car are lost or even stolen, the renter of the car can be at fault.
It can also be gross negligence if the conditions of the rental agreement are not observed. If a required police report is not filed, this can be considered gross negligence when using a rental car. Always keep the terms of the contract and special agreements with the car rental company in mind.
Car rental negligence: What is the "all or nothing" principle?
This principle used to be applied in the past, but no longer applies today. It means that the contracts of the car insurance companies used to contain special clauses where the insurance companies were entitled to refuse to reimburse the damage in the event of gross negligence. This is no longer possible in this form today. Blanket statements are no longer allowed.
Rental car negligence: Which regulations apply today?
Today, the severity of negligence when using a rental car is assessed individually in each case. If an accident happens, the court decides how serious the fault of the rental car driver was. It determines if and how much the insurance has to pay. Several aspects are taken into account in the court's decision. For example, how much experience the driver has and whether he knows the area. The court decides whether the driver of the rental car has to pay only the deductible or the entire damage.