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Liability issues with peer-to-peer car rental

One way that some Iowa residents are making extra money is by letting people rent their automobile through a peer-to-peer rental service. The advantage of these services is that renters can use an automobile for as little as $25 to $65 dollars a day, and those who lend out their vehicles can make between $5 to $12 an hour according to information for the University of California. While this seems like a mutually beneficial arrangement, the downside is that most people who provide their vehicle for use are ill prepared for car accidents.

One of the major sources of problems for people who lend their car out is that insurance policies have not caught up to these new services. Additionally, many people only have bare bones insurance, especially if it is an older vehicle that they are letting others use. Liability verdicts can involve million dollar sums, and the state minimum for liability coverage is usually only around $20,000. Even if someone has a healthy amount of coverage, their insurance provider may not pay if their policy does not cover their vehicle if it is being used for commercial purposes.

For this reason, insurance companies recommend that individuals who participate in peer-to-peer car rental use commercial insurance to make sure they are covered. These polices should also be robust and have high property damage and medical coverage limits.

If someone has been in a car accident, they are likely to have a pile of bills related to vehicle repairs and medical expenses. Many people in this situation will also have lost wages due to missing time at work to recover from their injuries. A lawyer may help someone pursue compensation for these expenses and represent them in court if needed.

Source: Forbes, "Beware The Liability Of Sharing Your Car With Strangers", M.P. McQueen, October 15, 2013

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