Rental car crashes can almost be more stressful than crashes occurring
in your own vehicle–what are the proper steps to take and how do
you know whether or not you will be responsible for damages to the car?
Consider the practical advice to prepare for the worst and think about
the legal ramifications. When you are involved in a rental car crash,
you might have to deal with the rental agency, insurance company, and
the other party on the same day. Not to worry, however: this handy guide
tells you where to start.
Don’t move from the scene. If you have caused the crash, make sure
you do not leave the scene because you could be adding criminal hit-and-run
charges to your already bad day. If anyone appears hurt it is your responsibility
to call 911 even if they are not your passengers. Help in any way you
can, but be prepared to stay put and wait for the cops to come.
Exchange information. If you are safe and do not require medical attention,
and the other party is also safe, conduct an information exchange as if
you were dealing with a crash in your own car. Get the driver’s
license number, license plate numbers, names of the other parties, contact
information, and insurance information. Again, this doesn’t mean
apologizing or admitting fault–which should be left up to the insurance
companies to prove. If you purchased rental car insurance, you should
provide the other party with your own car insurance policy information
if you have it on you.
Let your rental car company know what happened. Don’t try to hide
the accident, especially if there was any damage to either car. Rental
car companies deal with damage like this on a normal basis, so remain
calm and call immediately after the information exchange with other drivers
has occurred. Check the rental paperwork or glove compartment for an emergency
number, where the operator will request the details of the crash. They
may bring up insurance liability, but wait until the dust has cleared
to worry about this.
Get insurance information. If you are going to try to be covered by your
own insurance, gather information from the rental agreement, your own
policy, and the damages to the car to see if you can apply this policy.
If you purchased insurance from the rental car before you started driving,
check your policy documents to see what the procedures are when dealing
with an accident. If you paid for the rental with a credit card, you might
check because certain companies offer basic rental car insurance if you
paid with that card.
Contact your attorney. The rental car company will probably work with you,
but can also work against you and point accusing fingers. Make sure you
are not taken advantage of and don’t have to pay a dime more than
you need to by calling one of our experienced car accident attorneys.