What To Do If You Crash A Rental Car

  • UPDATED Sep 07, 2018
Driving our way on a picturesque road in a cosy car, playlist of favourite songs playing in the background, wind blowing your hair; who doesn't love a road trip! 
And with road trips, come car rentals. Unless you are ready to drive your car all the way to your destination when travelling, renting a car is one of the most preferred option for most of the tourists. For international travel, renting a car is the only option if you want to have a road trip. 
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And while there are countless things to check before renting a car, the most important is know what to do if you are in a rented car accident. Yes, the worst nightmare for travellers, and it is always best to be prepared.

Steps to ensure you are covered before renting the car:

The Company’s Emergency Policy

Many rental companies offer roadside assistance for the rented cars. Make sure you know where it is applicable and where it’s not. From car breakdown to accidents, know what the company is going to help you with, when you hit the road. If any such policy is not available, make sure you have the emergency contact numbers of the country that you are travelling to, handy. These emergency numbers are also available in the glove box of the car. 

The Insurance

This is the trickiest part. After being in an accident in the middle of a trip, the worst thing that you want to do is pay for huge expenses, for the rented car as well as the damage to other cars or people, if any. Almost all of the rental car companies offer an insurance, which has a daily premium. It can get slightly overwhelming to decide whether to take it or no.

Here's what you can do:

If you have your own car back home, you already have an automobile insurance, check with your company if they also cover a rented car. Some companies do, some companies don’t.
If you don’t have a car back home, the safe bet is to opt for the insurance offered by the rental company. Since you don’t have an insurance policy back home, this will have you covered.
Using your credit card to pay the full amount of the rental car can be of use as well. Many credit card companies offer accidental coverage on rental cars if the entire amount is paid using the card. While some credit cards will cover the damages of the car, some will also cover the damages to other cars/medical expenses. Some credit cards only cover what’s left after your auto insurance and car rental insurance have approved. 

When in an Accident:

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Safety First

Don’t panic. Check if everyone in the accident is safe, including yourself. Move out of the vehicle and inspect it, if you see any anomaly, move away from the vehicle ASAP.  

Call Emergency Numbers

Call the emergency numbers. Ask road-side assistance to your rental company, if they provide the service. They will most probably provide a replacement vehicle and a tow truck to move the car in the accident. 

Document the Accident

Note down the time and date and the location of the accident. If there is another car involved, note the details of the other driver, their insurance policy and contact details. Try to click photographs of the damage, it will just make things easier for the insurance claim. Avoid mentioning to the other party that the car is rented, some people can take advantage of this, thinking the company has got you covered. 

Report the accident

Always report the accident to the local police and get a corresponding number for your report for future reference. Also get the name and contact of the person in-charge of your report. Also, don’t forget to report the accident with the rental company. It is best done within 24 hours of the accident.

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No one wishes for an accident, but is always better to be prepared. Happy Driving!
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