Damaged a rental car

Feb 15, 2003
Jupiter, Florida
Last night, while on a business trip, I hit the curb in the median with a rental car. Flattened the tire, and broke the lower ball joint, which actually surprised me. The thing had low profile tires and 21 inch rims. The car drove OK on the flat as I pulled off the road and into a parking lot. That's where things got interesting. While installing the spare, the lower ball joint separated. Clearly, it was over stressed. I called the rental company and they send a flatbed to pick it up.

Yes it was raining and dark out and the headlights really were not doing a good job of illuminating the road. I simply did not see the curbed median, and drove on to it squarely at about 35mph. Thought I was moving into the left lane.

Unfortunately, I did not select the coverage, as I am under the impression the company credit card covers rental insurance. I'll find out, for sure.

I figured I'd ask the good folks here if they have any good suggestions as to how to handle this. Of course, I was thinking all night about how this could go, and got little sleep.
I your personal auto insurance may cover you in a rental, or your employer's overall policy may. When I led travel ops for a large company, we had our travelers decline coverage and we self insured....wrote a check to the rental companies when we had to. AMEX also provides some coverage IIRC.

You have several avenues to look down and should not be obligated to cover this assuming no impairment (NOT casting any doubt or insulting your character :) , but that was the first question I asked when I had to sign off on payments for rental car damage...or entire cars).
Similar to what others have said, it would seem your employer rented the car, and their employee (you) broke it. That should make it an employer problem financially, and a you problem from a job performance perspective - like a server dropping a plate on the restaurant floor and breaking it. From your other posts, it sounds like you put a lot of miles on in the course of your job, so I can't imagine this incident is something for your supervisor to lose their mind about.
Rental companies will want loss of revenue plus depreciation on the vehicle.
That is usually the issue. Most cc insurance will exclude coverage for this.

Also, there may be an exclusion for business use.
If your boss doesn't cover it call the credit card company, they should cover it if they state they cover rentals. Hopefully there's no fine print somewhere which includes your mishap. Good luck.
Weird, most companies have a pre-negotiated rate that includes damage loss waiver. Please let us know how this goes, I rent a lot as well.
I damaged a rental car on a work trip. Avis filled out a damage report and then I reached out to HR when I got back. My company followed up a few months later but wasn't a big deal. my company covered it and I had no involvement in it. I also work for a megacorp so stuff happens like this a lot. I've heard of really serious accidents where employees are injured and it's a workers comp claim and they are out for months.

I would be shocked if your company didn't have employee travel insurance or self insured for this.

Did you pay for the rental with your corp card? is the rental company trying to charge your personal card?
See you paid with your corp card.

Reach out to your HR rep - they'll advise you what to do. Also would give your mgr a heads up too.
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My wife used to work doing the payroll at Hertz which means when it gets busy you are a rental agent. She says buy the insurance it is worth it.
I your personal auto insurance may cover you in a rental
That's assuming you have full coverage on your personal car and that rentals are covered. If you have full coverage on a $3,000 beater, I'm not sure how that would work out on a $30,000 rental with $5,000 of damage. After all, you were paying for coverage on a $3K car not at $30K one.
That's assuming you have full coverage on your personal car and that rentals are covered. If you have full coverage on a $3,000 beater, I'm not sure how that would work out on a $30,000 rental with $5,000 of damage. After all, you were paying for coverage on a $3K car not at $30K one.
Im 99% sure this is not needed.

CuJet works for company that has multi-million dollar planes. If he damaged a plane, they are going to use their self-insurance or whatever policy covers it, not make him use his personal liability or homeowner insurance to cover it.

I can't imagine they wouldn't have a policy to deal with employees in rental cars, which are literally pennies compared to the planes they operate.

Sorry this happened to you. I am confident you are covered, likely in multiple ways. I know you work for a smaller firm, so if/ how they may cover or support you may not be like a rental car incident at a larger firm.

The last action I would take to cover the incident is your personal auto coverage, it may cause a raise in your rates. Maybe even a review of your personal auto insurance policy, claiming you should now be charged for using the policy for work purposes.

If it was me, I would focus on the credit card company first. If the CC company doesn't cover, then your employer's commercial insurance.

Under no circumstance would I reveal any details about your personal auto insurance to anyone, be it the rental car company, the credit card company, or your employer's commercial insurance. I would not even discuss in the least if you even have personal auto insurance. All the players in this case will go after another player.

Finally, this is a small potatoes accident. No personal injuries, no damage outside the vehicle you were driving.
As others said - company travel department first (if there is one and you booked through a corporate rate).

A note on the credit card coverage - in most cases, this is secondary insurance. Meaning they only cover what the primary (usually your personal coverage) does not cover. This is one case where you really have to read the fine print.

Good luck. Sometimes the franchisee (who owns the car) will do something silly and try to cash in. It really gets dicey when they try to hit you for loss of use - meaning the revenue lost from not being able to rent the car.

If your company does not have a rental agreement with the rental car company - expect an eye-watering first damage estimate.

If this happens, I would consider filing a collision claim with my insurer rather than deal with stupid.
You'd be surprised how many companies have gaps in their risk management program.
They do but they're really self insuring for those risks. For a big company self insuring is cheaper than buying insurance for every risk.

Insurance is to cover risks you can't afford to cover - house burning down, running into a school bus and injuring a bunch of kids, etc. A big company can afford to self insure against bigger risks.
The employee of big companies are usually "indemnified" when something happen during business trip.
Nothing to worry about.
Just report it to the company and they will take care of it.
It's happened to me a couple of times over the past 25 years working for both big and small companies. The company insurance took care of it both times.

It still sucks.