You may be involved in an accident while you are driving a hire car, or the other vehicle involved in the accident could be a hire car. The person who is responsible for any damage will depend on who is at fault and who the driver is.
Hire car companies are generally not responsible for damage caused by the drivers of their cars, unless the driver was their employee. When a person hires a car and they cause an accident, they will be responsible for any damage caused.
When a person hires a car, they usually sign a rental agreement. Some rental agreements do not cover damage to other cars or property (called 'third party property damage').
If you were in an accident with a hire car, and the driver of the hire car was at fault, the hire car company may be able to help you make your claim if the car was insured for third party property damage. You should provide them with quotes for repairs to your car. If you are not sure if the driver of the hire car has third party property insurance, you should get legal advice.
If the car was not insured for third party property damage, you can make a claim on the driver directly. See the Rental cars and insurance factsheet on the Financial Rights Legal Centre website.
If the driver of a hire car doesn't stop and exchange their details you could make an application to Transport for NSW to get the details of the hire car company. For more information, see Identify the other party.
Once you have the hire car company's details, you may be able to get the details of the driver from them. If you are having difficulty getting the details of a driver from a hire car company, you should get legal advice.
If you are the driver of a hire car and are involved in an accident, the hire car company's insurance will generally cover any damage caused to the hire car. You may need to pay a higher excess.
If you are driving a hire car and you cause an accident, the driver of the other car can claim against you. When you hire a car, you usually have to pay more to get insurance to cover you for damage to other cars or property (called 'third party property damage'). You will need to check the rental agreement to see if you are covered for third party property damage.
When you hire a rental car it is very important to read the fine print in the rental agreement. Sometimes the rental agreement has terms and conditions that can limit your cover in certain circumstances, such as when the car is being driven by someone not on the rental agreement or if you admit you were at fault in an accident.
If you are the driver at fault, the rental agreement may not cover damage to other cars or property. If this is the case, the owner of the other car may claim against you.
If you were in an accident whilst driving a hire car, you should get legal advice.
In some cases an employee of the hire car company will drive the hire cars as part of the service. For example, limousines and wedding cars are often hired with a driver and these hire cars are licensed to carry public passengers.
If you have an accident with a specialised hire car and you are not sure who to make a claim against, or if you cause an accident while you are the driver of a specialised hire car and don't know whether you have to pay for the cost of any damage, see Driving for work.