Car rental accidents can have serious consequences for the driver, and that is why this is a perfect time to discuss what happens when a rental car is damaged. In the US, the car-rental industry was able to collect a record of $28.63 billion in terms of revenue from the previous year, as revealed by a research of a trade publication which is Auto Rental News. We are talking about a lot of cars, and several opportunities for something to go wrong. Having said this, it is important to know your insurance coverage, what it will and will not cover when your rental car got a wreck.
Why is having adequate insurance important?
It was a fact that in the past decade, some car-rental companies saw a profit opportunity from these car rental damages. The method of this was something that was called the “ding and dent scam”. It works this way; there are companies that trained employees to inspect each returned rental car for any small dings or dents. From this, they would charge either the insurance company or the one who is renting the car an inflated price for repairs.
This practice among the major car-rental companies was brought to an end by public pressure, lawsuit, and common sense, although it is said that some of the smaller car-rental companies and operators are allegedly still looking for a way to profit from this through normal wear and tear. Having adequate insurance is important and will really save you if your rental car is damaged.
Here are 6 steps to take after a rental car wreck
Check everyone involved in the accident
The first thing that you should do is to make sure that everyone involved in the accident, including you, your passengers, and anyone else is okay. Checking the conditions of everyone in the car accident will provide you information as to whom has been seriously injured. Once you’ve checked everyone and identified who has injuries, you should call 911 (or your local emergency contact number) right away. You should also check the conditions of the vehicles in order to know if you need to clear the area due to dangers such as fire or faulty power lines.
Get to a safe place and inform authorities
One of the first things to do if you are involved in an accident is to go to a safe area. You should move out of the traffic line in order to prevent further harm to yourself, the others involved, or your rental car. After that, you have to report to the local police authorities and state and complete an accident report. Getting the information of the other person or people involved should also be done and ensure that their contact information must be included in the accident report. Keeping their information is also necessary since you will be needing it for the budget accident report as well. You may also start communicating with your lawyers to help you early on. If there are injuries and other legal matters, these professionals such as the car accident lawyer in st pete will give their professional advice. They would be able to advise what you should do after you are involved in a car accident.
Aside from getting the contact information of everyone involved, you should also get the insurance information of any other drivers involved in the accident. You should collect all their names including the passengers, other drivers, and eyewitnesses. You should also take note of the models of the other vehicles involved and their license plates.
If ever you need to move the rental car, before doing so, you have to get the information about the location of the accident including the street names. Document everything and take pictures of anything that you find important at the scene. Take photos of any rental car damage as these are important information that many insurance companies will look for and ask you to upload online upon filing a claim.
Communicate with the car rental company
The next thing that you should do is to contact the rental car company. Usually, you will find their information such as the phone number on a sticker in the glove box or somewhere else in the vehicle’s interior. They will be able to help you and tell you how to proceed and answer questions about the insurance such as what to do now that the rental car was damaged.
Contact your car insurance company
Being able to communicate with your personal auto insurance company to inform them about the accident that happened is the next action item. This will answer your questions including knowing if the insurance company will contact the police to file an accident report, if you have comprehensive coverage on your policy, and being able to identify what is your deductible.
Identifying the one responsible for paying the rental car damages
The payment that must be paid by you depends on your auto insurance policy and if you purchased additional insurance through the car rental agency.
If you were not able to purchase a damage protector such as a loss damage waiver, usually, your insurance company will pay the rental company as long as your policy provides first-party coverage. It means that whether the accident was your fault or not, you will have to pay for your policy’s deductible to the rental company. Having no rental insurance on your policy will require you to still pay for any additional days that you were supposed to have the rental car even if you cannot use it. If there are additional insurance or car rental damage waiver that was purchased through your rental company, your claim will be handled differently. All policies are not the same, but some offer complete coverage on accident, and the only requirement you may need to do is to pay the policy premium to the car rental company, and the deductible from your own insurance policy.
Accidents are inevitable situations that can happen to anyone. It is really important that you are ready when things like this happen. It is important that you plan ahead, you know what to do, and identify the people you should contact.