The last thing you’d expect to happen during a road trip or vacation is to get into an accident. A lot of what you’ll do during a rental accident is the same that you’d do during an accident with your regular car. However, it’s important to follow protocol that’s unique to your cheap car rental.
To start, make sure that the other people in your vehicle are alright. Check the scene and find out if any other cars were involved. If someone is hurt, call 911 right away. Clear the area if there’s danger of an explosion. If necessary, setup emergency flares. If you didn’t have to call 911, but traffic needs to be redirected, call the police for help. Exchange insurance and contact information with the other drivers who were involved. Take photos of the damage.
At this point, these are the same steps you’d take if you were driving your own car rather than one of the cheapest car rentals available. Your next step, though, is to call the rental agency to let them know you’ve been in an accident. Check the glove box for a sticker with an emergency number. Ask the rental agency how you should proceed.
Thoroughly read everything in both your own insurance plan and in the insurance coverage from the agency. Call your insurance company to let them know you’ve been in an accident. Ask if they’ll file the accident report or if you have to contact the local police yourself. Also, ask if you have “Collision and Comprehensive” coverage, which should protect your rental. Find out what your deductible is too. If insurance was part of your car rental deal, let your insurance company know.
If your insurance policy doesn’t cover rental expenses, you will likely have to pay for the time that the car is being repaired, because it’s still considered rental time. Check for a “Loss of Use” coverage in your policy for terms.
It’s never pleasant to get into a car accident. Being unfamiliar with your rental car and your insurance policy makes the situation even more harrowing. Ideally, your best plan is to figure everything out before leaving for your trip, from car rental discounts to insurance coverage. Even if chances are low that you’ll be in an accident, you’ll know exactly what to expect insurance-wise if the worst happens.