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What if I get in an accident driving a rental car?

Published on Mar 22, 2021 at 5:22 pm in car accidents.

Automobile accidents can happen to any vehicle on the road. You may experience a crash in your own car or if you happen to drive one you have rented to go on a trip. In the event another motorist collides with you while you operate a rental car, you should know how to handle the aftermath.

As you probably know, there are certain steps you must take at an accident scene and afterward. Accidents that involve rental cars are no exception, and may involve a few extra steps.

Documenting the accident

As Nerdwallet explains, after an accident in a rental car you must do what you ordinarily would do if you owned the car. You should check to see if everyone involved is all right or requires medical help. Other steps include exchanging information with the other driver such as your name and vehicle registration and documenting the accident with a smartphone.

Contacting the rental company

In addition to the usual steps to deal with an accident, you will have to contact your rental company and report the accident. The company may have already given you a procedure to report an accident, but if not, you will have to ask them what to do next. Usually, rental companies require customers to fill out an accident report which will likely include the information you have just acquired.

Paying a deductible

Gathering evidence of the accident is essential because you may end up paying for the damage to the rental car if you cannot show that the other driver was at fault. In any event, you may have to pay the rental company your deductible no matter who was at fault since the company will want to fix the vehicle as soon as they can. However, your insurer might seek compensation from the other driver later on, which may include the cost of the deducible you had to pay.

Sorting out different policies

With a rental company involved, the insurance picture becomes more complicated. You may have purchased rental insurance as part of the rental agreement, so check to see what that policy will cover. Alternatively, you may have decided to buy independent rental coverage before renting the car. Your credit card may also offer rental car coverage. Sorting out these various policies may help you to proceed with your case.

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