Whether you are on a business trip or vacation, you do not want the extra stress of a rental car accident. Although handling a rental car accident is similar to any other car accident, there are a few additional steps that you must take.
Before signing that rental car agreement, you most likely have a lot of questions, like whether or not you actually need rental car insurance, what does it cover, and what do you do if you do get into an accident. Your own car insurance will likely cover you should you get into a car accident. Even some credit card companies will cover you for rental car damage. Before you decline any additional coverage, it is best to verify this with your insurance or credit card company.
If you do get into an accident with your rental car, there are some important steps you have to take right away.
The first step to take is to assess the situation, and also check yourself and your passengers for injuries. If someone is injured, whether it is someone in your car or another car involved, call 911 immediately. If you are able to, move the vehicles to a safer location and out of the road.
If you called 911 because someone is injured, a police officer will come to the scene of the accident. If an officer does not come, it is probably best to contact the local police department anyway and get a police report, especially if there is property damage.
An officer will create a police report that will contain important details of the accident, including the drivers’ accounts of what happened and what conditions might have had a role in the cause.
The next step is to exchange information with the other driver involved in the accident, including insurance information, names, phone numbers, and contact information. If the police are there, make sure to get a copy of the police report, the officer’s name, and their information, as well like their badge number.
Keep the conversations you have to a minimum. Do not admit fault, and avoid apologizing, as that might be used against you later on.
Take photos and video of the scene, particularly of any injuries and the damage done to the vehicles. Be sure to get the year, make, and model of the cars involved in the accident, and note down the locations or street names of where the accident occurred.
If there are any witnesses, be sure to get their contact information as well. If there are businesses nearby, you may want to get their information, as they may have security footage of the accident.
You should next contact the rental car company to let them know about the accident. There is likely an emergency number you can call in the glovebox or on the rental agreement, or you could call the office where you rented the car.
You will likely fill out additional paperwork with the information you gathered previously, as well as your version of the events. The rental car company will then explain to you how they would like you to proceed, such as towing the car to what location and so forth.
You will want to contact your own insurance company following the accident, especially if you are using them as your primary source of coverage for the rental car. Ask your insurance agent if you have collision or comprehensive coverage, and find out your deductible as well. If you have collision and comprehensive coverage, it most likely will apply to your rental car.
Getting into an accident can be stressful, particularly if you are injured or the vehicle you are in is a rental. Speak with one of our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. for legal help. Call us at 302-656-5445 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients in Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.