Better Call Jackson: Navigating the red tape of rental car crashes

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Nearly 2.5 million cars will be rented in the United States this year, but have you stopped to consider the process if you’re involved in an accident with an out-of-state rental car?

Gerald Hecker was involved in an accident with an out-of-state rental car. The driver of the other car was cited for the accident, but Hecker has been battling with red tape for the last six months. He found out that in Ohio, insurance companies have 180 days to decide on compensation for the victim of an accident.

“Honestly, at the moment, I felt helpless,” Hecker said. “180 days? That’s a long time.”

To compound matters, Hecker could only be covered for a rental car for two weeks. In Ohio, once an offer is made, that agency is no longer liable for providing a rental car. Hecker also found out that the process of getting a rental car when you’ve been involved in an accident is not universal — it varies from state to state.

“I assumed whether it was your primary insurance, or if you bought car rental insurance, depending on who was at fault, that insurance would take care of it and be processed,” he said.

Car rental companies usually offer several packages for customers, and most credit card companies offer rental insurance. However, the coverage varies from card to card. Ideally, customers should take a few minutes to really review the options and fine print, and then determine which package is the best choice. Of course, many customers feel rushed at the counter when other rental customers are in line. The best bet is to check all of the available coverage options online before you head to the rental place.

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