What To Do After a Rental Car Accident

What To Do After a Rental Car Accident

Rental cars allow us to explore destinations far away from our homes and cars. They provide a convenient way to have control over your explorations and not rely on public transportation. But when a relaxing vacation is interrupted by a rental car accident, things can turn stressful quickly. It’s important to know the right steps to take after an accident so that you can solve the issue and return to your holiday.

Ensure Safety and Seek Medical Attention (If Needed)

When a rental car accident first occurs, it should be treated like any other car accident. Pull over to a safe area if possible, and get out of the car to check yourself and passengers for injuries. If anyone in your vehicle or the other vehicle(s) involved is injured, contact emergency services. When traveling to a new place, injury lawyer Hunter Craft recommends memorizing the local phone number for emergencies, in case of a situation like this. If there are no injuries but the vehicles are in an unsafe location, you should still call the emergency department for help redirecting traffic until they can be moved.

Secure the Scene and Gather Information

Once your car is in a safe location with hazard lights on, it’s time to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved in the collision. It’s important to take pictures of the crash, capturing different angles and the damage to all vehicles involved. This evidence can help determine liability if it’s up for dispute. Try to gather contact information from any witnesses as well.

Contact the Rental Car Company

It’s important to contact the rental car company as soon as possible after the accident. Each rental car company will have set instructions for how to report an accident. Make sure you understand any specific procedures or paperwork required by the rental company so that you can make the process as smooth as possible. If you already have personal car insurance, you likely didn’t sign up for a rental car insurance policy, but you still need to report it to the company.

Contact Your Insurance Company (If Applicable)

More often than not, folks opt to decline the insurance through the rental car company and rely on their personal car insurance when renting a car. That’s because your liability and comprehensive car insurance should be enough to cover any situations that occur when driving your rental. One advantage of rental car insurance, however, is that it usually allows you to skip your deductible in the case of an accident.

After contacting the rental car company and reporting the accident, notify your own car insurance company as well. You can check your rental car agreement and personal insurance policy details to get a better understanding of what’s covered by which.

Beware of Additional Charges

Unfortunately, there are often many types of additional charges from the rental car company after an accident.

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) / Loss Damage Waiver (LDW): This can add $10 to $30 per day to your rental cost. If you declined this coverage and your personal insurance doesn’t cover all damages, you may be responsible for the full cost of repairs.

Loss of Use Charges: This fee covers the rental company’s loss of income while the car is being repaired and is not available for rental. It's typically calculated based on the daily rental rate multiplied by the number of days the car is out of service. Your personal car insurance may or may not cover this fee.

Administrative Fees: These are fees the rental company charges for handling the paperwork and processing related to the accident.

Other potential fees can include a diminished value charge, towing and storage fees, and more, depending on the specific accident and rental car company’s policies. Make sure you understand all charges before signing paperwork with a rental car company.

In complex situations, consulting a lawyer can be helpful in understanding your rights and navigating potential disputes.

Focus on Recovery

Once you report the accident to all necessary parties, it’s time to focus on recovery. Make sure to prioritize your health and well-being after an accident. Seek medical attention if needed, and take care of any physical or emotional stress resulting from the incident.

Remember, the best thing you can do following a rental car accident is to stay calm, follow the proper procedures, and prioritize safety. Understanding your insurance coverage and potential fees beforehand can help mitigate stress and financial burden. Keep all necessary documentation organized, and communicate promptly with your insurance provider and the rental car company to ensure a smooth claims process.

Planning ahead by familiarizing yourself with rental car insurance options and knowing your personal insurance coverage can make a significant difference. Safe travels and remember that preparation is key to handling unexpected situations confidently.