Car accidents can be an extremely frustrating situation for anyone. But it could be even more frightening and upsetting if the accident occurs while driving a rental car.
You may be on vacation, or your car might be in the shop, and you’ve been forced to rent a car to get around. And when you least expect it, you may have to deal with a situation you weren’t prepared for.
There are certain things you should know in case you get into a rental car accident. Read on to find out what you should do to minimize your losses and how a car accident lawyer can help you deal with the situation.
You’re responsible for the rental car
When you rent a car, it is your responsibility to return it to the car rental company in the same condition you picked it up.
Usually, if you fail to keep the car in perfect condition, you will be charged for the damages caused, even if someone else’s negligence caused them. As you might imagine, this can be very expensive.
However, this does not mean that you will have to pay out of pocket to cover the damages if you get rear-ended while driving a rental car.
Insurance coverage options
After a rental car accident, you will have three primary sources of insurance coverage: insurance from the rental car company, your own personal insurance, and credit card insurance.
Rental car insurance: The car rental company may offer you additional insurance options when renting the car. These usually include:
• Collision damage: Also known as damage waiver, this type of coverage implies that the car rental company will waive the costs of repairing or replacing the vehicle if the car suffers significant damage or is stolen during the rental period.
However, you should keep in mind that there are certain exceptions. For example, if the damage to the vehicle was caused by reckless driving or illegal activities, such as drinking and driving, you may lose eligibility for this type of coverage.
Now, the damage waiver is not technically insurance and is entirely optional when renting a vehicle. Your auto insurance policy may have extensive coverage. In those cases, your regular auto insurance would pay for the damage to the rental car. Consider contacting your insurance broker for more information.
• Liability coverage: If you already have liability insurance, it may be applicable should you cause damage to another driver in a rental car. However, if you have the minimum insurance required by the state, it may not be enough to cover all possible damages.
In that case, you may want to consider purchasing liability coverage before you rent the car. This coverage will pay for damages to other drivers if you are responsible for the accident, including their medical expenses and vehicle repairs.
• Personal accident insurance: This insurance will cover all injuries sustained by the driver or passengers following a rental car accident. Typically, it includes ambulance expenses and death benefits.
Of course, if you have medical insurance or personal injury coverage on your regular auto insurance policy, you may not need this type of insurance in the event of a collision. You should contact your insurance company to find out if you are protected.
• Personal Effects Coverage: Personal effects insurance covers the cost of any items you carry in your car at the time of the accident. However, this type of coverage is usually unnecessary in most cases.
What should you do after a rental car collision?
Before you drive away from the rental company, you should know what to do in case of an accident.
1. Assess the situation and call 911
Right after the crash, you need to assess the situation immediately. If your injuries permit, check all passengers to make sure everyone is okay. Also, try to review the scene to find out how many vehicles were involved in the crash.
Then, call 911 immediately. Let them know how many people are critically injured so they can send the necessary aid. On the other hand, If you are seriously injured, stay put and wait for help.
2. Gather evidence if possible
It is in your best interest to collect as much evidence as possible while you are on site. You can take notes through an app on your phone. Also, take as many photos as you can.
Some of the information you should gather at the scene of the accident includes:
Details about the cars involved in the accident. For instance, the year, color, model of each vehicle, and any other significant features.
The exact location of the accident. To do this, try to document the street number and on which lane the accident occurred.
Finally, try to gather details about how the accident occurred. Also, seek to obtain the contact information of any witnesses.
3. Call your rental company
So far, the steps to follow are similar to what you would do if you were driving your car at the time of the accident. However, rental car accidents often involve more paperwork than usual.
The next thing to do is to notify your rental car company as soon as possible. Often, you will find an emergency number in the dashboard or elsewhere inside the car.
Ask the rental car company what you should do next. Usually, if the car is still drivable, you may be asked to take it to a specific location. If that is not the case, they will tell you how to request a tow.
4. Call your insurance company
Contact your insurance broker to file a claim right away. This is especially necessary if you rely on your personal auto or credit card insurance.
5. Contact a rear-end accident lawyer
After a rental car accident, contacting a rear-end accident lawyer, such as C&B Law Group, can help you successfully navigate the situation and minimize your losses. Depending on the case, you may even be able to obtain compensation after the crash.
The only way to know these details is to speak with an attorney. C&B Law Group offers free consultations, where they will analyze your case and answer all your questions. You have nothing to lose.