Taking the right steps after an accident in a rental car
Damaging your own car in an accident is bad enough, but having an accident in a rental car can be even worse – especially if you don’t have insurance or an excess waiver.
Whether the accident was caused by driving on unfamiliar roads, driving in an unfamiliar car, or because you just ended up unlucky – you will need to take steps to deal with the problem, whatever the cause. You can visit the DriveNow website to learn more about their policies.
What should you do after an accident in a rental car?
The first thing to do after an accident is phone the police. The police will attend the scene and create a police report. This records details of the accident – who was involved, what happened, and any other relevant information. Some rental companies and insurance companies will insist on having a police report.
When possible, phone the car rental company to advise them of what happened. Some larger rental companies have national numbers to call in case of an accident or damage to the hire car, while smaller rental companies may ask you to call the branch where you rented the car.
This information should be in the rental brochure you were given when you first hired the car. Most rental companies, even scooter rentals, provide a leaflet or brochure to advise their customers of what to do in various situations. Check you have this, or similar information before you leave the rental branch.
When you call the rental company, they should tell you what steps to take next. If you took out extra insurance with them, or an excess waiver, the damage to your hire car should be fixed by the rental company with minimal fuss and expense.
If you didn’t take out insurance, it’s a good idea to find out if you are covered elsewhere. If you have travel insurance cover, the damages may be covered by that policy. Also check your personal car insurance to see if that offers cover.
Or, if you have credit card insurance, and you paid for the rental with the card, contact your card provider to see if they will cover the damages. Any of these options may save you thousands of dollars, so it’s worth calling them to find out where you stand.
If you have no other cover, you will generally have to stump up for the repairs. If this is the case, ask to have a range of estimates from repairers – you don’t have to stick with the rental company’s option.
It could be a good idea to seek legal representation if you were at fault in the accident. A lawyer should be able to give you independent advice to ensure you don’t end up in worse trouble than you need to be. Legal representation should also protect you if you have to go to court.
Before you hire a car, make sure you have sufficient cover in case of an accident. This could be travel insurance, personal car insurance, credit card insurance or extra insurance taken out with the rental company. Having cover could save you a heap of hassle – and money – if you are unlucky enough to be in an accident.