What To Do After a Rental Car AccidentPosted on: February 14, 2023
Involved in a Rental Car Accident? Here’s What To Do!
Rental car accidents are never easy. Not only do you have to deal with all of the immediate dangers involved with being in a car accident, but you also have to face one giant question.
“Is my insurance going to cover this?”
The answer depends on several key factors. And even if you believe your insurance will cover you, there’s always the chance they will claim that rental car accidents fall outside of their agreement.
Plus, who wants to think about car accidents while on vacation?
If you do find yourself in a rental car accident, here’s what you need to know.
Right After The Rental Car Accident
The steps to take immediately after a rental car accident are largely the same as what you should do after a typical car accident. First, make sure everyone is okay. Check on your passengers and any other individuals involved in the accident.
Once you’ve made sure everyone is safe, it’s time to get to the side of the road if you can. Florida law requires that you make “every reasonable effort” to move the car after an accident so that you don’t block the regular flow of traffic. Avoid standing in the middle of the road, especially if it is a busy highway. Once you are in a safe location, it’s time to call 911 and report the accident.
While you wait for the authorities to arrive, exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties involved. You’ll want to get their name, address, phone number, and email, plus the name of their insurance company and policy number. Make sure to also get the driver’s license number, vehicle registration, and license plate number for each car.
If there are any witnesses, get their information too. If the police are involved, be ready to show them your driver’s license, vehicle registration, proof of insurance, and current address.
When you’re talking to the other drivers, be careful what you say. Don’t admit fault or apologize, as it could be used against you later. Just ask if they’re okay and try to be polite.
If the other parties are being difficult, it might be best to wait for the police to arrive before engaging with them. When the police arrive, be honest and detailed with them about the accident.
Use your cell phone to document as much evidence as you can. Take pictures of all of the documents and license plates in addition to the vehicles. Take pictures of the surrounding areas as well. All of this information can be used to help build a reliable picture of the scene leading up to and immediately after the accident.
If another party is admitting that the accident was their fault, ask them if they would be willing to let you record them saying it.
Write down notes in your phone as well. Make sure to record the year, make, model, and color of each car involved. Take note of any other distinctive details about the cars. Record the exact location of the collision, including street names and which lane the accident happened in. And be sure to note how the accident happened.
The Next Steps
After you’ve taken care of all the other important steps, it’s time to call your rental car company. Find the emergency number (it might be on a sticker in the glove box or on your rental agreement), and let them know what happened. They’ll probably have you fill out their own version of an incident report, which will have the same kind of information you’ve already collected.
If you’re using your own car insurance for the rental car accident, be sure to let them know what happened. They’ll be able to help you file a claim for damages. When you talk to them, you’ll want to ask about things like whether they’ll file a police report for you, whether you have collision and comprehensive coverage in addition to the liability coverage required by law, and what your deductible is.
If your insurance company indicates that you will not be covered for the crash, ask for the exact language in your insurance policy that states you are not covered while occupying a rental vehicle. Also, check with your credit card company if you have coverage through that company as many credit card companies offer auto coverage as an additional benefit if you rent the vehicle with that credit card.
A deductible is what you have to pay out of pocket. So, if your deductible is $500 and you had $10,000 worth of damage, you’ll have to pay the first $500, and your insurance company will cover the rest. Be sure to let your insurance company know if you bought any extra insurance with the rental too.
Different Types of Coverage for Rental Car Accidents
A rental car accident can feel completely overwhelming, with all the paperwork and insurance details. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Dealing with a rental car accident can be a confusing and stressful experience, especially if you’re not sure who is responsible for paying for what.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the different types of coverage you may encounter in a rental car accident:
- Collision damage: Rental cars are often covered under your own insurance policy if you have collision and comprehensive coverage. However, never assume that this is the case. Always check your policy first to see what exactly is covered. If you have an insurance agent, give them a call and ask for their help. If it turns out that your insurance policy does not cover collision damage, you might want to consider purchasing a collision damage waiver from the rental car company.
- Liability coverage: Just like with collision, your liability insurance might extend to rental cars as well. Again, check your insurance policy to see if you’re covered even in a rental car. If not, you can then look into buying supplemental liability protection from the rental car company.
- Extended car rental: If you are involved in an accident while driving a rental car, you might be on the hook for the days when the rental car is getting repaired. This means that you could be forced to pay the rental car company for far longer than you were expecting to. Check with your rental car company to see if there is an option you can purchase that would avoid this extra expense.
- Check your credit card: You may have extra benefits with your credit card that provides additional auto insurance for you. For example, Amex used to cover rental vehicles when renting using this credit card. You need to check your card and ensure that the state in which you are renting the vehicle is not excluded.
What happens if you are hit by someone driving a Rental Car?
When you are involved in a crash with someone else who is in a rental car, you will want to verify if that driver’s insurance will be covering the property damages and injuries. The Graves Amendment eliminated liability for rental agencies in most states and in most instances. You also will want to look into whether the at fault driver in the rental purchased supplemental coverage through the rental agency. Many times, rental agencies require international tourists to purchase this additional coverage. This is why it is so important to have an experienced attorney look at your potential case.
Contact A Rental Car Accident Lawyer
Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be difficult. Add in the extra layer of a rental car accident, and things can get complicated quickly. Remember, you don’t have to navigate this alone.
A rental car accident lawyer can help you throughout the entire process. They understand the laws and policies involved, and how they can impact your case. A lawyer will act as your advocate during the entire process. They’ll be acting for your own best interest, making sure you are treated fairly and are able to get the help you deserve.
Unfortunately, car accidents can have lasting consequences. Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t change that.
At Beers & Gordon, we will guide you through the entire process and educate you on all of the details, so that when it’s time for you to make an important decision, you’ll be able to make the right choice for you and your family.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation and see how we can help.