Vacations are the perfect time to unwind, relax and enjoy your destination. Most people don’t like to think about the possibility of being the victim in an emergency situation or a car accident. The fact is, driving a car could be a perilous endeavor. Road conditions, distractions and other drivers put everyone at potential risk of a car crash. But what do you do if you are involved in a car accident with your rental car?
Crashed Rental Car: what do to
It is important that when the accident occurs, you should check and see if the passengers are safe. If another car is involved, check the occupants of their vehicle and determine if there are life-threatening injuries. If someone is injured, dial 911 immediately.
If you are abroad, it is important to know the emergency number of the country you are visiting. When the police or medics arrive, remain cooperative and on the scene. When it is safe to do so, exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver if you are involved in a multi-car accident.
Pull your camera or cell phone out and take as many pictures as necessary of the rental car, other cars involved and the accident scene.
Once the authorities declare it is safe, you may leave the area. These are the same actions you would take if you were driving your own car. But, with rental cars, additional steps must be taken.
Contact the car rental company as soon as possible and inform them of the accident. Usually, there is a sticker inside the glove box with emergency information and appropriate phone numbers. You may also find this information in your car rental contract paperwork. The company will be able to provide the steps required to report the incident and file paperwork.
It’s a good time to look over the fine print within your rental contract and read what actually is/is not covered. It’s important to contact your personal automobile insurer and inform them of the situation. They may file paperwork on your behalf or you may have to file it yourself. Ask if police reports are necessary. This depends on the individual nations driving laws.
It’s important to know what your deductible is and what type of insurance you purchased on the rental car. Collision only protects the driver and passengers in the car. It does not take into account car loss and damage. Most rental companies require you to have a deductible of $500 or less or will suggest you purchase additional insurance with them when you rent the vehicle.
If you opted out of additional insurance or a collision damage waiver (CDW) when you rented the car, your insurance company may be partly responsible for paying the damage expenses incurred by the rental agency. Usually, whether you are at fault in the accident or not, you must pay the rental company the deductible directly. This can be quite costly, and some require you pay for damages in full, especially if you did not take out additional insurance and you paid with a credit card.
Your insurance company or credit card company may then go after the party responsible to recover funds. If you failed to purchase additional theft/loss insurance, the rental company may charge you a loss car fee, meaning you would have to pay for amount it would cost per day for every day the vehicle is undergoing repairs. It is vitally important to understand the rules and restrictions prior to renting a car to avoid misunderstandings and large out of pocket expenses.
A collision damage waive (CDW) covers you in the event of an accident. It covers damage to the rental car and any persons injured in the accident. Getting into an accident, especially with a rental car and far from home, can be a harrowing and distressful incident. Protecting yourself and your family is a top priority.
Make sure before you travel anywhere and rent a car, read the fine print and ensure you have the appropriate coverage for your piece of mind.