Most people who travel will at one point or another need to rent a vehicle to get around in a destination city. Vehicle rentals are convenient and usually fairly accessibly priced, but driving in a strange place can be challenging, and accidents involving rental cars can complicate the legal resolution of the accident. If you are driving a rental car and you get into an accident, there are a few things you need to make sure to do.
Start with yourself, then the other people in your vehicle. Make sure no one is hurt, and if anyone is hurt make sure you assess the extent of the wounds. If it is safe, move the car off the roadway.
After you have reached a safe place, check the exterior damage to the vehicle. You might also want to check to see how the driver of the other vehicle is doing if it is safe to do so.
Contacting the police to file an accident report is one way to make sure you document the incident. Talking to the rental company ensures you also understand what they need in terms of further documentation from you. Typically, there will be some company paperwork to fill out with them. You might also want to take photographs with your cell phone to help support your narrative of the accident.
Typically, your automobile insurance will still cover you in a rental car, and if you do not take out extra rental insurance, your personal insurance will be the primary policy covering you in the rental. It is important to get the information that both the insurance company and the rental company need if you are going to resolve things smoothly.
If the car needs to be towed to a garage, make sure you get all the details and that you communicate them to the insurance company to avoid being hit with the costs of storage and other extra expenses. Communicating with the rental company about towing and garage costs can help you understand whether or not there is a preferred body shop they use for repair.
Your policy may or may not cover all the damage, but you can make a better case for yourself when you have all of your receipts intact and all of your documentation about the auto accident. Make sure you keep clear records whenever you are in an auto accident, and if you have any questions about your legal responsibilities, talk to an attorney about your liability. A little extra time spent consulting with a lawyer could safe you thousands down the road.