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.