What happens if you damage a rental car?

November 08 2018


Vacations should be about rest and relaxation. Unfortunately, if someone rear-ends your rental car, your original plans can change in a hurry. But knowing what to do next can make a major inconvenience seem relatively minor in the end. 

So what should you do if you’re involved in an accident in a rental car?

1. Check to see that everyone is okay. Call 911 immediately if someone is injured. If there’s sufficient damage and you can’t move either car, you should probably call 911 so that traffic can be rerouted safely.

2. If your vehicle is in the line of traffic, move it to a safer area. Even if the car isn’t driveable, try to stay out of the way of oncoming traffic. If you think there could be any danger of a fire or explosion, move to safety as quickly as possible and call for help.

3. Exchange insurance info and take photos. Once everyone is safe, exchange insurance details with the other parties involved, and take pictures of the damage and surroundings. 

4. Contact both the rental company and your insurance company to see how to proceed. You may need to file an accident report with the local police, for example. 

5. Verify your coverage and deductible, and inform your insurance company if you’ve purchased additional rental insurance or if your credit card covers any damages. What happens next will depend on your coverage, so find out who is responsible for what and proceed accordingly. 

Typically, auto rental agreements require you to assume liability for third-party claims against the rental company during your rental period. But this assumption of liability is sometimes covered under your own standard auto insurance policy. 

Knowing your policy and supplementing coverage accordingly when renting a vehicle is the best way to prepare for potential mishaps while on the road.

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