Millions of people flock to Las Vegas every year looking for a good time. But are you adequately protected in the event of an emergency or unforeseen accident? While Vegas may be an adult fantasy land, it has the same real-world dangers as any other city. And that means you should be prepared for any contingency.
One of the first things that many tourists do when they arrive in Las Vegas is rent a car at the airport. The rental agent will almost always ask you if you want to purchase insurance. Indeed, the agent has likely been instructed by a supervisor to “upsell” insurance as it adds to the daily rental cost. A 2015 USA Today report noted about 8 percent of the rental car industry’s revenue comes from such upsells.
It is generally a good idea to have some form of insurance that covers your use of a rental car. A typical car rental contract holds the renter responsible for any damage to the vehicle, even if it is caused by a third party. Insurance can therefore protect you from owing the rental company potentially tens of thousands of dollars in the event you get into an accident.
In many cases, you may not actually need to purchase separate rental insurance. Many individual automobile insurance policies automatically cover the policyholder’s use of a rental car. As insurance laws and policies vary significantly from state-to-state, you should call your insurance agent to see if you already have such coverage.
Additionally, you may also receive rental car insurance protection from your credit card issuer. Many major cards include such coverage when you use their card to pay for your rental reservation. Again, individual policies will vary, but as a general practice, credit card issuers offer secondary protection—that is, they will only pay for damages that are not covered by your own car insurance policy. Also, in most cases a credit card’s secondary policy is meant to replace, not supplement, any insurance offered by the rental company. In other words, if your credit card provides rental insurance, you should decline any insurance offered to you at the rental counter.
Finally, there are companies that offer specialized rental car insurance. In many cases these policies are less expensive than the ones offered directly by the Las Vegas car rental companies. And unlike insurance purchased at the rental counter, these separate policies can be purchased weeks or even months in advance of your trip.
Nevada law requires all registered car owners in the state—that includes rental companies—to carry minimum insurance coverage of $15,000 for the death or bodily injury to one person, $30,000 for the death or bodily injury of two or more people in the same accident, and $10,000 for property to damage in a single accident. Many Las Vegas car rental insurance policies will offer a higher amount of coverage than these minimums, although it is important to check the terms of your particular policy. For instance, many policies sold by car rental companies include a “collision damage waiver.” This waiver is technically not insurance; rather, you are paying to shift the liability that you would normally assume when renting a car back to the rental company.
In determining how much coverage you need, it is important to consider not only potential damage to the rental car, but also to yourself and your passengers. Medical bills following an accident can easily exceed the limits of many standalone car rental insurance plans. But once again, your existing automobile and health insurance policies need to be taken into account.
Even if you choose not to rent a car while visiting Las Vegas there are other risks you still need to be aware of. For example, you might get hit by a cab on the Strip or a drunk driver. Keep in mind, Nevada is a “fault” state with respect to car accident liability. This means the cab owner or drunk driver is legally responsible for any financial damages that you sustain in an accident. Unlike “no-fault” states, Nevada does not force accident victims to seek compensation from their own insurance companies first before pursuing a personal injury claim against a negligent taxicab operator in a taxi accident.
If you are involved in any type of car accident while in Las Vegas—even if you think your insurance is adequate to cover any damages—you should promptly seek independent legal advice from someone who understands Nevada law. An experienced Las Vegas personal injury lawyer can apprise you of your rights and help you assess any potential claim against a negligent party. Contact the Ladah Law Firm today at (702) 252-0055 if you would like to speak with a car accident attorney right away.