If you’re traveling, the last thing you want to do is get into an accident. Even a simple sideswipe collision can put a damper on your trip. There are many things you can do to avoid an accident, like avoiding distractions from your cell phone, but even the most focused driver can find himself in a car crash. Although getting into an accident is never pleasant, it is especially troublesome if you’re driving a rental car.
Whether you’re traveling for work or for fun, there are a few things you need to do if you find yourself in an accident while driving a rental car.
Do What You Would Normally Do at Any Accident
No matter what kind of accident you find yourself in, or whose car you’re driving, there are a few things you have to do that are the same. For example:
- You should assess the situation. That means making sure everyone is safe, and if anyone is injured, call 911 immediately.
- Gather evidence of what caused the accident and document it.
- Contact the police so a formal police report can be filed.
You also have to exchange information with the other driver. Just make sure you know what information to exchange. The information you provide should include your name and the number of your insurance provider, as well as the name of the car rental company. You do not need to provide your driver’s license number, address, or your telephone number.
Contact Your Rental Company
There’s a little extra work involved if you’re in an accident while driving a rental car. That’s because you have to contact the rental company as soon as you’re in an accident. You may have to use the company’s emergency phone number, especially if you get into a crash after normal office hours. Look in the car’s glove compartment for this information if you can’t find it easily.
Not only is it important to report the accident to the car rental company, but they can tell you more about how the insurance you purchased will impact what you owe. For example, if you purchased the loss damage waiver, you won’t be responsible for paying for the vehicle even if it is totaled. If you didn’t, you may owe thousands more above and beyond what insurance will cover.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Not only do you have to contact the car rental company, but you also have to contact your own insurance company. It’s important to speak to them about how much they cover when you should contact your insurance and when you should contact the rental company, and the deductible you will be responsible for.
Your insurance company can also tell you a little bit more about what it’s like to deal with a car rental company. They can tell you how the rental company and your insurance company work together to resolve the accident.
Contact Your Credit Card, If You Used It to Pay for Your Rental
Using a credit card isn’t always a good idea, but if you’re renting a car, it just may provide you with extra protection.
If you used your credit card to rent a vehicle while traveling, you should definitely look into whether or not it provides additional rental car coverage. Many cards offer additional rental car coverage and you may not even know it!
For example, if you used your American Express card to reserve your rental car, you’ll enjoy coverage up to $50,000. Platinum and Reserve card holders also enjoy accidental injury insurance and even personal property coverage for belongings inside the vehicle that get lost or damaged.
Figure Out What to Do With the Car
Once you have exchanged your information and contacted all of the necessary parties, you still have to figure out what to do with the car!
If it’s still drivable, you’ll want to return the vehicle to the rental car company. If it’s not drivable, you’ll have to pay to have it towed back to the closest office.
Chances are, you’ll still be responsible for paying for the duration of the rental period, which means you may have to pay double in order to rent another car to get you wherever you’re going, even if that means you just want to return home.
No one wants to think about getting into a car accident when they’re traveling, but if you’re renting a car, it’s important to know what to do. With these tips, you’ll get through any accident as smoothly as possible.