Rental Car Accident, What Happens Now?

Renting a car is often a necessity, and in unfortunate circumstances, there is a possibility you’ll get into a car accident while utilizing your rented vehicle. Furthermore, you could be responsible for significant expenses even if you weren’t at fault for the crash. Rental car insurance can make a claim much more complicated. Know what your claim covers, what your insurance company might cover, and what the car rental company might cover.

One of the first things to keep in mind is that, as the renter, you are responsible for any damage or loss to the rental vehicle. Rental car insurance costs $61 per day, on average, but it depends on how much coverage you purchase and where you’re renting the car. If you have an insurance policy with collision and comprehensive coverage, that typically extends to your rental car as well, but it depends on the policy.

Follow these steps if you are in a rental car accident and are not hurt or in any imminent danger.

Make sure everyone is safe.

  • Pullover to the side of the road if possible
  • Check your immediate surroundings to see if anyone was hurt and evaluate the damage (do not try to move yourself or other passengers if you are stuck in a position as it can be detrimental to other parts of your body)
  • If anyone is seriously hurt, immediately call 911, and if there’s any danger of explosion, clear the area if possible.

Exchange contact information.

  • Determine who is responsible for the accident
  • Takedown all personal information (name, address, phone, number, email, driver license number, car insurance details
  • File a police report
  • Document the accident: Take pictures of the car and the exact location of the accident, like street names
  • Collect eye witness statements if available
  • Don’t sign any statements regarding fault or promise to pay for the other parties’ damages, and if they offer to pay for your damages or deductible, don’t sign anything.

Call the rental car company.

  • Call the rental car company to inform them of your accident.
  • Make sure you have all the information to file a report and ask them how to proceed.
  • Your credit card used to pay for the rental may have “rental car protection.” Most major credit cards (AMEX, VISA, Mastercard) all offer some form of rental car coverage

Contact your insurance company

  • Inform your insurance company of the accident and the damages and ask if you are covered

Among the questions you’ll want to ask your insurance company:

  • Will they take care of filing an accident report with the local police, or is that your responsibility?
  • Ask your insurance company whether you have collision and comprehensive coverage in your policy in addition to the liability coverage required by law.
  • Find out your deductible (the portion of the loss that you have to pay out of pocket)

Whether or not you were at fault, you are obligated to pay your deductible directly to the rental company, as the company is entitled to have the car fixed as soon as possible. Your insurance company (or credit card) is then in charge of going after the responsible party so that you can get reimbursed.

We are Here to Help

If you or someone you know has been in a rental car accident, consult with a lawyer to help protect your legal rights. Depending on your situation, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your car accident. At Edelman, Krasin, & Jaye, PLLC, we offer more than 60 years of combined experience and have convenient office locations in Long Island, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, and we know how to approach these cases to get the results you need. Our firm is committed to protecting you from any unexpected liability and demanding full accountability for the accident. Contact our New York offices by phone at 800-469-7429 to schedule an appointment. You can also contact us using our online contact form and on our Live Chat application on our website to have your questions answered at any time.