December 15, 2022
What Should I Do If I Am in an Accident in a Rental Car?
Getting into a car accident is stressful enough when you are driving your own vehicle. However, if you are involved in a car accident while driving a rental vehicle, it can be even more unnerving for a number of reasons. Simply the fact that the vehicle does not belong to you can make the situation more stressful. Even if you have a clear understanding of what your own auto insurance covers, as well as any additional insurance you may have purchased, it is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced car accident lawyer.
What Do I Need to Know Before I Rent a Car?
Before you rent a vehicle, it is important that you have a general understanding of what your own auto insurance covers, and what it does not cover. This will help you make a more informed decision about whether you need to purchase additional insurance for the rental vehicle. For example, if your own auto insurance includes collision, comprehensive coverage, liability coverage, personal effects coverage and medical coverage, it will probably be unnecessary to purchase any additional coverage from the rental company. However, if your policy does not cover rentals, it is a good idea to buy additional insurance from the car rental company.
What Steps Do I Take Immediately Following a Car Accident?
For the most part, the steps you should take after an accident involving a rental car are very similar to what you would do if you were in an accident in your own vehicle, including:
- Check on the other motorists. If you are able to safely move, make sure that the other passengers in your vehicle are okay. Move your vehicle to the side of the road and out of the way of oncoming vehicles.
- Call 911. Even if there are no serious injuries, call 911 so that dispatch can send a police officer to the scene. If anyone is hurt, let dispatch know so that they can send emergency medical technicians.
- Gather information. Once police have been notified, exchange important information with the other driver, including driver’s license numbers, license plate number, contact information, and insurance information.
- Collect evidence. Take photos of the accident scene, including the damage to the vehicles, your injuries, the weather conditions, the condition of the road and skid marks or debris on the road. If there were witnesses who saw the accident happen, ask if they would be willing to provide a statement and get their contact information.
- Notify the rental company. As soon as you can, call the rental company. Let them know that you have been involved in an accident. Depending on the condition of the vehicle, you may be asked to drive the car to a specific location, or have it towed. Make sure that you get the customer service representative’s name and phone number.
- Contact your own insurance company. If you intend to use your own auto insurance as your source of coverage, you will need to inform your insurance company that you were involved in an accident while driving a rental vehicle, and that you would like to start the claims process. Make sure that you ask your insurance agent the following questions:
- Does the insurance company file the accident report with the local police or is that my responsibility?
- Do I have collision and comprehensive coverage?
- What is my deductible?
- Find out who pays for what after a rental car accident. If you were responsible for causing a car accident with a rental car, the next steps will depend on the type of coverage that you have. The following are examples of the different coverage scenarios, and how it will impact your claim:
- You have coverage with your personal auto insurance. Most auto insurance policies cover rentals, but you should contact your insurance agent to find out what your coverage limit is, and your deductible. Auto policies cover collision and liability up to the limits of your coverage.
- You have coverage through your credit card. If you have a premium credit card, you may have rental coverage through the credit card company, although this usually only a damage waiver and does not cover liability, and you must have used the credit card to pay for the rental in order to be covered.
- You are not covered. All licensed motorists must have some sort of insurance in order to drive legally in the U.S. If you are involved in an accident and you are not covered by insurance, your driver’s license will likely be suspended. If you do not have insurance, and you did not purchase any coverage from the rental company, you will be responsible for the damage to the vehicle and any liability issues if you were at fault for causing the accident. If the other motorist caused the accident, the rental company will contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company to resolve the issue. However, you may be charged before the dispute is settled, in which case you will need to work with the other driver’s insurance company to get reimbursed.
Montgomery County Car Accident Lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. Represents Victims of Rental Car Accidents
If you were injured in a car accident involving a rental vehicle, do not hesitate to contact our experienced Montgomery County car accident lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. We will address all of your questions and concerns, walk you through every step of the claims process and ensure that your legal rights are protected at all times. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 267-930-2922 or contact us online. Our offices are located in Philadelphia and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, where we represent clients in Philadelphia, Norristown, and throughout Montgomery County, Delaware County, Bucks County, and Chester County.