If you were involved in a car accident in a rental car, you may be wondering what to do next. How you proceed after a rental car collision is different from an accident in your own car, and treading carefully is key to avoiding problems later on. Follow these six suggestions to properly report the accident and protect your rights.
1. Call 911 If There Were Any Injuries
If you or another person were injured in the accident, call 911 as soon as possible. Serious injuries will be treated by an ambulance on the scene, while minor injuries can be treated by the emergency room or family doctor after the collision. Once your medical condition is stable, it's time to tackle the issue of insurance and accident coverage.
2. Call the Police
If no one was injured in the crash, your first step should be to call the police and begin filing an accident report with your local law enforcement office. Recount the details of the accident to the police in a matter of fact way, without offering an explanation of what you think the cause of the accident was or admitting fault at all.
3. Take Photos of the Crash
It's important to have two types of photo documentation after a rental car crash. First, you'll need photos of the accident illustrating the position your car was in when the crash occurred. Then, you'll want to take close up pictures documenting in detail the damages to the car. Use your smartphone or camera at the scene to take as many pictures as possible. You may also want to consider writing down what you remember in a notepad in case the facts of the accident seem confusing later.
4. Contact Your Rental Car Agency
This is an extra step that must be taken after being involved in a rental car accident as opposed to an accident in your own car. Once the crash report is filed with the police, you will need to contact your rental car agency immediately to fill out an accident report with them. If you purchased additional insurance for your rental car, paperwork may be all you need to do. The rental car company may cover the accident in its entirety, depending on the specifics of the insurance policy you purchased. Never wait until your rental agreement is up to report damage—instead, always report damage to the rental car as soon as possible after the collision.
5. Contact Your Car Insurance Company
If you own a car with an insurance policy, it may cover you while you are driving the rental car. After the crash, contact your own insurance company, like Eisenhauer Insurance, to determine what additional coverage you might have through your current car insurance policy. If they will cover all or a portion of accident related expenses, you'll need to fill out a crash report with them as well.
6. Call Your Credit Card Company
If you used a major credit card to pay for your car rental, you may also have additional accident coverage there. Contact your credit card company to determine if they will pay towards the accident claim, and if so, find out what paperwork you need to fill out or what steps you need to take to submit the claim to them.
Being involved in an automobile accident is frightening, but being in a collision while renting a car can be exceptionally nerve-wracking. However, if you follow these six steps after being in a rental car accident, you can help reduce the long term impact that the crash may have on your family and your finances.