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Dealing with a rental car accident is one of the last things you want to do on vacation. Between driving a car that isn’t yours and driving on unfamiliar roads, don’t underestimate the possibility of an accident.
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In many ways, handling a rental car accident is what you would do if you were involved in a collision with your own vehicle. However, considering the additional layers of the rental car agreement, there are a few additional complications that you should be prepared for when it comes to car rental insurance.
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This may seem like common sense, but before you do anything else, make sure everything in the car is OK. Check the event and other cars around it.
As with any car accident, pull over safely if possible. If the accident is more serious and someone is injured, call 911 immediately. If there is a risk of explosion, clear the area.
Once you’ve determined the scene is safe, share contact and insurance information with other participants. To share information:
If law enforcement is involved, be prepared to show your driver’s license, registration card, proof of financial responsibility and current address.
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When communicating with other people involved in an accident, do not tell other drivers or the police that you caused the accident (even if you think you did). Be polite, but avoid saying things like “I’m sorry” or “I should have paid more attention” as this can be used against you and sometimes won’t be covered by your insurance company. “Okay?” Use phrases like showing sympathy without admitting guilt.
If the other party is hostile, it is best to wait for the police to arrive before intervening. You don’t want to argue with other drivers and passengers.
Be careful when communicating with other parties. Don’t sign any indemnity or promise to pay the other party’s damages – don’t sign anything if they offer to pay your damages or deductibles.
It is important that you try not to tell other parties that you have rented a car, as some people may take advantage of this situation and take the blame.
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Take the time to gather detailed information about the accident. Write notes (you can use the notes function on your phone) and take lots of pictures.
Although the steps listed so far represent the same steps as if you were driving your own vehicle, rental car cases require a little more documentation.
Call the car rental company as soon as possible and report the accident to them. There is usually an emergency number inside the glove box or the emergency number listed on the car rental agreement.
Ask the company how to proceed. Usually the car rental company will ask you to fill out their own version of the incident report, which usually consists of the information you gathered above.
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If you rely on your existing auto insurance to serve as your primary source of coverage, report the accident to them to file a claim.
For example, if your deductible is $400 and you have $10,000 in damage, you pay the first $400 for repairs, and your insurance company pays the rest. Tell your insurance company about any additional insurance you buy with your rental.
Find out what your claim may cover, what your insurance company may cover, and what your car rental company may cover. If you booked your rental car with a credit card that offers rental services, this will help cover any damage to the rental car in the event of an accident.
Collision Damage: If you have a collision and comprehensive insurance policy, this usually covers your rental car. You can get a collision waiver from the car rental company if your standard policy doesn’t cover it. Otherwise, you will have to pay for damages.
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Damage to others: If you already have liability insurance, this usually covers rental cars. If not, you can usually purchase additional liability coverage from the rental company to cover damage to other people’s vehicles or property.
Don’t rely on your credit card for this. Although some credit cards offer car rentals, they usually don’t include liability insurance. If you don’t have auto insurance, it’s usually a good idea to get one, or you could end up paying the medical and auto repair costs of other parties involved in the accident.
Rental car extra days: If your policy doesn’t include rental coverage, you may owe the rental company for extra days like the car rental. If you need to spend a week fixing the car, you may have an extra week to pay for the car “rental”. You can usually avoid these costs by getting additional coverage or a collision waiver from your auto insurance company.
Primary insurance is the type of insurance that starts first if you make a claim. Some insurance policies provide full coverage in any event because you pay a premium, which covers the value of your car (if you are at fault) and any damage to your rental car.
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Secondary insurance can cover premiums and fees that your primary insurance policy doesn’t cover, such as covering your deductibles. Even if you use secondary coverage, you will still need to file a primary insurance claim, which can increase your insurance rates.
Several credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, offer a generous perk that can easily justify the card’s annual fee because it usually means you don’t have to file your own claim. insurance company.
If your card offers primary insurance coverage, you’ll usually need to decline the collision waiver or similar coverage provided by the car rental company to apply for insurance coverage—otherwise the coverage will be secondary.
Many other travel credit cards offer secondary coverage. If you have an accident, this can be useful for saving money, but it is not very generous.
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Keep in mind that most rental travel credit cards do not cover special vehicles such as loss or damage to RVs or luxury cars, your own auto insurance, long-term rentals, or overseas rentals.
Whether you are at fault or not, you must pay your deductible directly to the rental company, as the company has the right to repair the car as soon as possible. Your insurance company will be responsible for going after the responsible party, which may result in compensation.
Preparing for an exciting road trip isn’t one of the most enjoyable things, but you need to plan how to handle a rental car accident. actually on vacation to find out.
Check to see if your credit card offers auto insurance. Although there is an annual fee, paying your rental car on a credit card that provides a second or, better yet, first payment can save you money.
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Consider purchasing rental car insurance. If your existing insurance policy does not cover the rental car and you do not wish to purchase insurance from the car rental company, there is a third option: purchase rental car insurance through a third-party car rental insurance company such as Allianz Global Assistance or Bonzah. .
Make sure you have some kind of insurance. Regardless of where you get your insurance, if you are required to have any type of insurance to drive in the United States, your license can be suspended if you are involved in an uninsured collision.
One more thing: this guide usually only applies to passenger rental cars. For rental cars and trailers—let’s say you’re looking for U-Haul insurance—the standard rental policy doesn’t apply.
Basic car insurance also covers your rental car if you are using it for personal purposes, but it depends on the policy. Any insurance limits and discounts listed as part of your basic insurance also apply to the rental car.
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Some credit cards cover car rentals in the event of an accident or theft of your rental car. In some cases, credit cards provide secondary insurance, meaning it starts after your primary car
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