Many people who rent cars from Hertz complain about the inclusion of third party liability on the contract. But we cannot overemphasize the importance of third party liability on every car rental either! This isn’t just a question of compliance with the law but, more importantly, about protection for the customer, and here’s why.
How It Works
The term “third party” means anybody apart from yourself so it means your passengers, if you’re the driver, as well as pedestrians and motorists on the road. The term “liability” refers to the legal responsibility of the concerned person that, in the case of rental vehicles, means the cost of injuries to people and damage to property.
Third party liability then means insurance coverage in case you cause damage to property and/or injuries to persons while you were driving a rental car. But not every damage and injury can be covered by it either! You must then ask about its coverage so that you will have a better chance of protecting your own interests, just in case.
What It Covers
In general, a third-party liability covers the following in case a driver is at fault in an accident:
- The cost of damage to property (e.g., car, fence, and gadgets) belonging to a third party
- The cost of injury to a third party including medical bills and loss of earnings, among others
- The cost of legal proceedings like expert fees and court fees
Yes, these costs will weigh heavily on your finances, if there wasn’t third party liability. But since you chose to include it in the contract, you don’t have to be bankrupt after an accident involving your rented car. You don’t even have to deal with the paperwork and the people as the rental company will handle these matters!
But there’s a limit to the coverage of third party liability. For one thing, it will neither cover the damage to the rental car nor its theft. You, the person who rented the car, will likely pay for the damages to it so defensive driving is always a must.
For another thing, it may not cover damages in case you have violated the terms and conditions of the rental contract, as well as violated the law. You may, for example, caused the accident because you were driving under the influence so the coverage doesn’t apply.
In this case, the insurance company will still shoulder the third party costs for which you were responsible for. But it will take legal action against you so that it can recoup its money – and you still end up with a legal responsibility to pay.
The bottom line: Third party liability may provide protection for you but you should be aware of its limitations, too, and act accordingly.