I was in a car accident

At around 8:15 am Central Time, I was driving south down Industrial Rd in Dallas, Texas.

Industrial And Cole.
As I crossed the intersection of Cole, a big black truck heading north turned onto Cole, colliding with the front left end of the car.

Luckily, there was pretty much no one else on Industrial heading south, or there might have been quite a pile up.


My car, about where I left it. These guys are moving it so traffic can get through again.

Severely rattled and in a daze, I attempted to move the car to the curb. Getting out of my car, I saw the driver of the truck hobble away from the scene, clutching himself.


The truck, sans driver. You can see his airbag went off.

A woman who had seen the incident called 911. Another man who saw it stuck around as a witness. I have no idea what happened to the woman who called 911.

In short order, both firemen and police appeared at the scene. The firemen asked me how I was, how I felt, if I had any impact, etc. I hadn’t — apart from a bit of whiplash, and a very very light skinning on my left knee, I’m fine. There were no blackouts, no missing moments. The firemen said that I didn’t need to go the hospital right away, but if the pain persisted and/or got worse, I should in a day or two.

The policemen got a statement from the witness, who described the driver who left the scene. He believed that the driver headed for a nearby furniture warehouse, but when the cops looked there, they found no one.

The police got my statement, and then we got the car on a tow truck to return to the Budget Rental Car at DFW.


The tow truck driver

Getting in and around DFW is remarkably difficult. The airport is massive. I’ve learned to loathe it.

We finally navigated our way to the Budget Rental Car service area, and I was taken to the Budget Rental counter. A very nice woman named Sherry (no picture, damn!) took care of my situation. I filled out an incident report, which ended like this:

As Judith pointed out in a comment on Flickr, I wrote “…a black turned turned…” Clearly, still rattled.

I submitted a claim to American Express (I have no auto insurance, as I own no car, and so the corporate American Express gold card is covering the damage).

When I told the American Express woman that I have no identifying information about the driver of the big black truck, because he fled the scene, she said, “Oh. It was probably stolen.” Another hypothesis offered was that the driver was in the country illegally.

It turns out that gold cards, while they cover damage, do not cover “loss of revenue.” This is loss of revenue to the rental car company. I had never heard of such a thing, but here’s a page about it. Sherry also said that most auto insurance does NOT cover this, either. The only way to get covered for loss of revenue is to take the rental car company’s lost damage waiver. Budget’s LDW costs $21.99 a day.

Which, of course, is (metaphorically) highway robbery. You can’t be covered *simply* for loss of revenue, it has to be tacked onto the collision damage waiver. Or you might be responsible for every day that your car is in their shop.

Does anyone know if any rental car companies have reasonable insurance coverage? I don’t think I ever want to rent from Budget again. But I suspect they all gouge in this fashion.

Anyway, back to the main story:

I am okay (as of now). Stiff and sore in the neck and upper back. Adrenaline in my muscles leaves them still a wee bit frazzled. Looking forward to heading home.

11 thoughts on “I was in a car accident

  1. “Loss of revenue” is a new one on me. I have initialed many insurance waivers on car rental forms and never saw or was advised of that. If you were not so advised, you might not have to bear that liability. Of course, you might have to hire a lawyer to prove your case. If you rented the car on company business, the company is responsible for your expenses, rental and medical.

    Casualty losses are tax deductible.

    Again, if this incident ocurred on company business you are covered under that insurance.

    Whiplash, orthopedic strains and soft tissue injuries usually take a day or two to fully show up. Expect to experience pain and suffering.

    Do not tough it out. Get the proper physical examination and X-Rays.

  2. Michael Sippey

    wow, peter! glad you’re ok. here’s to safe travels home…

  3. BTW, even if the car was driven by an unauthorized driver, that car’s insurer is liable for injuries and damages. Be sure to work with Budget and the police to get your claim submitted.

  4. I hope you feel better.

  5. Instead of opting for the $20+ per day coverage of the rental car company, I signed up for a program with American Express which costs me $19 per rental *period*

    The best thing about it is that when I use my Amex at *any* rental company, it automatically goes into effect, retroactive to the rental period. I don’t have to do anything other than tell the counterperson that I don’t want their coverage.

    Good to hear you’re okay.

  6. Yes, but doesn’t that cover only damage to the car? The page you pointed to does not discuss “loss of revenue” (which means, “time the car is spent in the body shop, and thus not out on the road, earning us money.”)

  7. I called Amex and they confirmed your understanding. But they also told me that “loss of revenue” should only be charged if they have no other cars available of that specific car *type* (not just based on how long this particular car is in the shop).

    The page you gave for explaining loss of damage doesn’t mention this particularity, but the CSR at Amex might not be on point either.

    If you look into this more, I’d really like to know the real deal.

  8. Glad you’re ambulatory, and hope you’re feeling better. Have a safe trip back.

  9. I am glad you loathe the Dallas airport. Given time, I hope your loathing slowly spreads to engulf the rest of the DFW Metroplex area.

    I loathe North Texas.

    Glad you’re ok, though. You were lucky, in that respect. And I’m actually a little worried about the other driver.

  10. Peter, There are some other options to cover situations like this. People who frequently rent cars, but don’t own one, often purchase a “Named non-owner” policy. This basically covers your exposure driving any vehicle. Insurance should cover things like loss of use (revenue) since it is an economic loss to the rental company. As you might expect, this costs a lot less than insurance for a car you own. I think you got good advice about questioning the rental company as to whether or not they ran out of cars. They haven’t suffered any damage if the car would have been unrented, and how often do they really rent all of their cars?

  11. In googling various words relating to LDW coverage, (I, too, recently doubled my daily auto rental rate, purchasing this coverage,) I was OVERJOYED to discover that most VISA cards cover this. I was ready to switch auto insurance companies, if I could have found one that covered this horrific expense. You can look up the info. at usa.visa.com/personal/cards/benefits/bft_dmg_waiver_personal.html As it seemed too good to believe, I contacted my own Visa customer service person, who, despite assuring me that it is TRUE, was requested,(by me) to mail the written benefit information to me! You must MAKE SURE to use your Visa card from the very beginning of the rental, and to DECLINE CDW/LDW when you sign your rental agreement.