The last thing we ever want to happen as drivers is to have an accident, but it feels all the worse if you have an accident while driving a rental car. In this article, we look at exactly what to do if you are in a rental car accident. We include a few steps to follow that will make what can be a stressful situation less anxiety ridden by making life that little bit easier for all involved.
The first few steps are the same as what any responsible car driver should do when involved in a car accident, whether driving a rental car or not.
Ensure that Everyone is Safe
When involved in an accident, it can be a pretty overwhelming moment, but without a doubt the number one thing you can and should do is check that everyone is ok and safe. Without doing so, you could be putting yourself, your passengers and other road users in danger. Initially ensure that no one is hurt, and then ensure that you and every other person involved is moved to safety so that they will not be involved in another accident due to being in an inappropriate place in the road. Remember not to move anyone without the help of the emergency services however if those persons have a serious injury like a broken leg.
Contact the Emergency Services if Needed
Following on from making sure that everyone is safe is the fact that you will need to call the emergency services straight away if anyone has been injured in any way. In the main, it pays to be as cautious as possible when it comes to checking people are ok. This is particularly the case with head injuries that may not seem bad at first, but they can actually be extremely serious in reality.
Bearing this in mind, if you are renting a car in another country, make sure you know how to call the emergency services where you are travelling so that should you be involved in an accident, you can still call for help if needed.
Exchange Details of the Other Parties
Once that everyone has been accounted for as safe, it is time to exchange details with the person you were involved in an accident with in your rental car. Remember that you need to do this even if you drive into a person’s property as well as if you have an accident with another car. Bearing that in mind, if you happen to hit a parked car, ensure that you leave your relevant details under the hit car’s windscreen wiper so that you can be contacted in that instance.
The information that you need to take down is:
- Registration numbers
- Telephone numbers
Record What you Remember as Happening
In addition to these contact details, make sure you take down the make and model of other vehicles involved as well as the time of the accident and the date. It’s a good idea in this day and age of smartphones with cameras to take as many photos of the scene of the accident as possible. Additionally, make a note to remind yourself of the weather on the day of the accident as well as any other conditions that may have affected the accident. This would be information like the state of the road or road lighting. Take down any injuries that have be sustained by anyone in the accident too. It can be useful to use a dash cam when renting a car as this will be able to provide evidence of what happened.
Call your Rental Car Company
Now it is time for you to call your car rental company so that you can tell them what has happened. Invariably, your car rental company will have left their phone number on the rental agreement that you took out with them.
Once you have explained to them what has happened, reputable car rental companies will take care of any recovery service you need as well as the repairs and replacement of the car should you need. They should also deal with the insurance company directly and also deal with the other people that were involved in your accident too.
One of the main things to remember when you are involved in an accident with a car rental company is that the company will have a procedure to follow as you won’t be the first person to have been involved in an accident. They should be able to guide you through their process with ease so that you are comfortable with the future steps. Ordinarily, however, they won’t give you back any money you have paid – either to them or to companies that you have approached privately to help sort the car’s damage.
What are the Differences in Rental Car Insurance?
One of the ways to take the stress out of renting a car is to take out insurance with your car rental company. However, insurance policies are pretty complicated at the best of times, let alone when you are in a queue for a car with more customers behind you and you simply want to get on the road. Here we look at three of the most popular types of insurance that people take out when they rent a car. We detail what they are exactly so that you know what you are buying, or what you should be buying when you get to the front of the car rental queue.
Collision Damage Waiver
Collision damage waiver insurance is one of the most popular forms of insurance with car rental companies for good reason. It means that if the car you rented succumbs to damage to its bodywork, your collision damage waiver should cover it. The shortcomings of this type of insurance is that fact that if any damage is caused to any other parts of your rental car, you won’t have insurance to fix it.
Plus, like with most insurance policies, if you make a claim, you will need to pay a certain amount in an excess payment. This can really vary in amount. For example it could be that you may have to pay around $500 but it could even go up to as much as $3000. However, most car rental companies will take this amount out of the deposit you left when you initially rented the car out from the airport or otherwise.
Also, remember that with a collision damage waiver, you aren’t actually technically buying insurance. You are simply paying the car rental company to waiver their right to ensure you pay for the repairs to the damage.
This type of insurance does exactly what it says on the tin. If your car gets stolen while you have rented it, it will cover the cost of a replacement to your rental company. In this instance, like with most insurance policies, you will need to pay some sort of excess payment should a theft of your car occur.
Third Party Liability
Third party liability is confusing to some drivers. However, all it means is that if you take it out with car rental, your insurance should pay for any damage caused to other’s property, should you be found liable for causing the accident in the first instance. So even if you crash into someone else’s car you should be ok, or even if your car causes damage to something else, like someone’s front garden.
These are only three of the types of insurance that are available when renting a car. Your car rental service representative should be able to talk you through all the different types of insurance they offer. However, in all instances, ensure that you completely understand the differences between all the insurance policies you are offered, as well as fully understanding the policy that you do eventually buy. If you don’t, you could find yourself subject to paying for any repercussions from an accident, when you thought you had taken out insurance that would protect you against such payments.
Also, bear in mind that insurance companies are renowned for not being forthcoming with paying up owing to the wide range of get out clauses they include in their policies. Make sure you read all of them thoroughly before making your final purchase. All car rental companies and their corresponding insurance partners will have different contracts so don’t buy any policy without reading that policy’s particular wording in advance. It means you will circumnavigate any unknown problems that may arise from an unfortunate accident in the future.
Related Post: 10 Unexpected Rental Car Charges and Tips to Avoid Them
- What to do if you have an accident in a rental car – TripAdvisor
- Accidents in or with a Rental Car – Smith’s Lawyers
- What if I have an accident in my rental car? – Rentalcars.com