With the holiday travel upon us, it is important to make sure that you are properly insured when renting a vehicle.  This article addresses individuals who reside in New York, own a vehicle in New York, have insurance for that vehicle and rent a vehicle for 30 days or less.  While this article is intended to shed some light on the topic, consumers are encouraged to carefully read their specific rental policies.

When renting a vehicle, rental companies will offer you Collision Damage Waivers which are also known as Optional Vehicle Protection.  It is important to understand what that insurance actually covers.  In New York, it’s mandatory for every individual liability policy that insures less than 5 vehicles to include rental car coverage.  That ‘rental car coverage’ includes any damage that is caused to the rented vehicle. However, policies insuring certain types of vehicles, such as most types of trucks, are not required to include rental vehicle coverage.  So, as a practical matter, before you intend to rent a car, call your own insurance company and confirm that your policy includes a ‘rental car coverage.’ Most individual policies in New York include such coverage. It should also be noted that the damages to the rented vehicle will be fully covered, without regard to your actual policy limits.  So purchasing an additional Collision Damage Waivers or Optional Vehicle Protection from the rental company is usually unnecessary and a waste of your money.

Even if you do not have a New York State motor vehicle liability policy, the chances are that the rental vehicle coverage may be included as a benefit with your credit card, if you use that credit card to rent the vehicle. Check the summary of benefits for the credit card to see if such coverage is available.

Car rental companies always try to sell you the Collision Damage Waivers or Optional Vehicle Protection since in most situations it’s essentially free money for them.  So, don’t be fooled, check your own liability policy or rent the vehicle with the credit card that provides rental car insurance benefit so you don’t end up paying for insurance that you don’t need.

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Thousands of car accidents occur every year in the State of New York.  It is very important to know what to do and what not to do if you or a loved one is involved in a car accident.

  1. Stay at the scene of the accident. Even if it was not your fault.
  2. Next, check to see if you, your passengers or anyone involved in the accident is injured. If anyone is injured, call 911 right away and request an ambulance.  Even if you believe that it is a minor injury, it is better to get medical attention to make sure.
  3. Call the police immediately so that there is a proper investigation and documentation of the accident.  Do not let the other driver convince you that there is no need to call the police. 
  4. If you are undocumented you do not need to worry about your immigration status. The police will not ask you about your status.
  5. To the extent possible, get the names and telephone numbers of any witnesses to the accident. Also take photographs of the location of the accident, the position of the cars before they are moved, the damage to the vehicles and anything else that you think is important.
  6. Once the police arrive, explain to the police how the accident occurred. However, even if you think you may be at fault, do not admit fault.
  7. If you are injured, do not refuse the ambulance simply to stay with your vehicle. The police will have your vehicle towed and it will be secured by the tow company until you can come get it.  Similarly, do not worry about the medical bills. The vehicular insurance company will cover most if not all of your hospital bills.
  8. Once the ambulance workers arrive, make sure to tell them all of your physical complaints, even the minor complaints. Do this at that hospital as well.  Often accident victims will only have minor symptoms initially that turn out to be more serious problems later. It is important to document any and all injuries as soon as possible.
  9. Obtain a copy of the police report as soon as you can.
  10. Seek the advice of a qualified attorney as soon as possible.  Do not speak with any insurance company representatives without first consulting with an attorney. After your health and the health of your loved ones, the next most important thing to protect are your legal rights. Only an attorney is qualified to give you legal advice about your rights, responsibilities and obligations following an accident. 

DISCLAIMER: This information intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

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Victims of car accidents are not only faced with recovering from their injuries, they are also faced with worrying about how they will pay their medical bills and support their families while out of work and recovering from their injuries. The following are frequently asked questions about these issues.

QUESTION: What is No-fault Law?
ANSWER:In New York, every vehicle registered in this state is required to carry a form of health and disability insurance that pays the medical bills, prescriptions costs and lost earnings to the occupants of a motor vehicle involved in an accident, regardless of who was at fault in the accident. This insurance is called, No-Fault Insurance.

QUESTION: Who is eligible to receive no-fault benefits?
ANSWER: Anyone who is hurt in a car accident, hit by a car as a pedestrian, or bicyclist.You are eligible for no-fault benefits regardless of your immigration status. In fact, no one ever ask you about your immigration status when you’re applying for no-fault benefits.

QUESTION: How do I obtain my no-fault benefits?
ANSWER: The law requires that certain documents be filed with the insurance carrier of the vehicle that you were an occupant of at the time of the accident or, in the event that you were a pedestrian, the vehicle which struck you.

QUESTION: What benefits is the no-fault insurance company required to provide?
ANSWER: Provided that you submit the proper documentation, the law requires that the insurance company pay for the following:
  • Medical bills: All necessary medical treatment related to the injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident are paid by the no-fault insurance company.
  • Lost earnings: The insurance companyis required to pay approximately 80% of your lost wages up to a maximum of $2,000 per month for basic benefits.
  • Prescription medications: Any prescriptions that your doctor has issued to you for the treatment of conditions caused by the accident, will be reimbursed.
  • Travel expenses: The insurance company will reimburse you for the number of miles traveled to and from doctors, physical therapists and hospitals.
  • Household care: In certain circumstances, the insurance company will pay for someone to take care of you because you were hurt in this accident.

QUESTION: Is there a deadline to submit the documents to the no-fault insurance company to be eligible for the benefits?
ANSWER: YES. There are strict deadlines for the filing of the application for no-fault benefits and for submitting your claims. The attorneys at Rosenberg and Rodriguez will prepare all the proper paperwork to make sure you receive all the benefits you are entitled to.

DISCLAIMER: This information intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

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