What Happens if You Crash a Rental Car? 10 Things You Should Know

Curious about what happens if you crash a rental car?

Vehicular accidents account for billions of dollars in both injury and property damage. It’s one thing to get into a crash with your vehicle and another if it’s a rental car. Some processes are the same, but the distinct differences can shock you.

Read on as we discuss some of the things you have to know when meeting an accident in a rental car. 

1. Ensure Everyone’s Safety

It may seem obvious but ensuring everyone’s well-being should be your first action. It comes before doing anything else. Look around the surrounding areas and see whether other cars got involved.

Like common car accidents, you must pull over on the side of the road if you can. For a more serious incident, call 911 and report any injuries. If you think an explosion could happen soon, flee the area and stay at a safer distance.

2. Exchange Contact Details

After securing everyone’s safety, ask for the other parties’ contact numbers. Be sure to also ask for their insurance details. If you’re unsure what to get, here are some of the more important ones:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Insurance company and policy number
  • Driver’s license number, VIN, and license plate

Did anyone witness the crash? Get their contact information too. It helps have an impartial party to ensure that the proceedings progress smoothly.

3. Never Admit Fault

As you interact with other involved parties, never tell them that you’re at fault. It matters not if it’s the truth. Always be polite but never apologize or give reasons that could make them pin the fault on you.

The other parties may use it against you. It’s a common way to lose your insurance company’s support. Instead, ask whether they’re okay and show empathy while avoiding fault.

Wait for the police to arrive before talking to a hostile party. Never get into an argument with other parties. Always be cautious and never sign statements involving fault and payment promises.

Most of all, never mention that you’re using a rental car. Some people will use it to their advantage and blame you.

4. Document the Accident

Collect more details about the incident. Write notes using either a physical notepad or your smartphone’s notes feature. Take lots of photos to ensure that you get every angle of the accident.

Some information to jot down includes every involved car’s details. It means getting their year, model, make, and color. Be sure to get other noteworthy details about the vehicles and the accident.

If you aren’t familiar with the area, look at your Google Maps to get the exact place of the accident. Get details like street names. Take note of the lane where it happened.

5. Contact Your Car Rental Company

The steps above are almost the same as the steps to take when driving a vehicle you own. However, when you crash a rental car, you’ll need more paperwork. Regardless, call your car rental company as soon as you can.

Inform the company about the accident. Check the vehicle’s interior for the emergency number sticker. It’s often inside the glove box or somewhere close.

Look at your car rental agreement if you can’t find the number. It’s likely for the company to list their emergency number on that document. Once you reach them, ask how to proceed from there.

In most cases, they’ll let you fill out their incident report. It requires most of the information you collected using the steps above.

6. Call Your Insurance Company

Do it only when you’re using your car insurance policy as your primary coverage source. Inform your insurance company of the accident. It allows you to claim for the sustained damage.

Ask them whether they’ll deal with the accident report with local law enforcement. It determines whether it’s your responsibility. Also, ask whether you have comprehensive collision coverage.

After that, ask about your deductible. If you bought additional insurance with the rental, tell your insurance company.

7. Find Out the Responsible for Paying a Claim

Check your claim, insurance company, and rental company for coverage. If you booked using a service with rental car coverage, they can help with the payments.

8. Think Whether You Bought a Collision Damage Waiver

Lots of large car rental companies offer collision damage waivers. It’s an affordable fail-safe, so it’s wise to take them whenever you rent a vehicle. It won’t cover your medical expenses but it protects you in other ways.

With a collision damage waiver, you need not owe the car rental company anything. It applies regardless of the party responsible for the accident.

9. Understand the Comparisons Between Primary and Secondary Coverage

Car rental insurance has primary and secondary coverage. The former functions as soon as you file a claim. Some policies give complete coverage after paying the premium.

With primary coverage, it also covers the other party’s cost if you’re at fault.

As for secondary coverage, it supplements all fees your primary policy can’t cover. It includes reimbursing your deductible. Even with this, you must file the initial primary insurance claim first.

10. Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer

Whether you’re the driver or passenger of a car rental, talk with an attorney. It helps protect your rights after the accident happens. It matters not whether the accident happened in your home state or some other location.

You must visit your lawyer as soon as possible. Get proper legal guidance to help work with the rental and insurance companies. Regardless, check this resource to know whether you’ll need an accident attorney.

What Happens If You Crash a Rental Car? Find Out More!

These are some tasks to consider when getting into a rental car accident. We hope that these are enough to let you know what happens if you crash a rental car.

Need more resources to understand what happens in a rental car accident? Read our other guides today!