Two people talking after an accident with the words, "what happens if I get into an accident in a rental car."

Whether it is for work or business, having a rental car gives you the freedom to explore the world around you, get to your desired destinations when you want to be there, and allows you the chance to drive a vehicle you wouldn’t typically own. 

However, driving on new terrain with new traffic patterns along with being unfamiliar with features of your car can increase your chances of being involved in an accident. While most know what to expect when it comes to being in a vehicle accident, the steps for what you should do after being in an accident in a rental vehicle may be unclear. At the Hernandez Law Group, P.C, our dedicated team of car accident attorneys make it their mission to educate the individuals of our community so that they know what to do and expect after an accident. This gives our clients the best chance possible at gaining the compensation they deserve. Here is what you need to know after you have been in a car accident in a rental car.

What Should I Do Immediately After the Accident?

There are a few additional steps that need to be taken if you were involved in an accident with a rental car. These steps are as follows:

Step 1: Ensure That All Parties Involved Are Okay

The most important thing to do after an accident is to ensure that you, your passengers, and the individuals in the other vehicle are okay. If you are able, try to get your vehicle safely to the side of the road and out of the way of traffic. Assess the situation and immediately call for emergency medical services if anyone is seriously injured.

Do not attempt to move someone if they are seriously hurt unless there is a risk of extreme danger, such as a fire or explosion. 

Step 2: Exchange Information With the Other Driver/Drivers and Witnesses

As soon as you have determined that the scene of the accident is safe and all of the parties are okay, the next thing you will want to do is to gather contact and insurance information. Make sure you get the following info:

  • Names of the drivers involved in the accident
  • Addresses of the drivers involved in the accident
  • Contact information, including phone numbers and email addresses of the drivers involved in the accident
  • Driver’s license number, vehicle registration, VIN number and license plate information for each vehicle involved in the accident
  • Names and contact information of any witnesses

Step 3: Take Photos of the Accident

It is important for your claim to take photos and gather information about the accident. Make sure you are gathering the following:

  • The year, make, model, and color of the vehicles involved
  • Any other details about the cars that stand out, such as any previous dents
  • The location of the accident including photos of the scene of the accident
  • Write down how the accident happened
    • This is important to do sooner rather than later, as sometimes time can make some details hazy or distorted

Step 4: Talk to the Police Officers to Get an Official Report on File

A gavel with police lights in the background.

Be prepared to talk with the law enforcement officer that comes to the scene of the accident. Make sure you show them your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and current address.

It is important that you request they make a report. Some police departments do not make a report if they believe no one is severely injured at the scene or property damage appears below a certain threshold. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to determine swearing match with no police report available.

If the other party is acting hostile or enraged, do not engage with them. Instead, wait for the police to arrive.

Step 5: Contact the Rental Car Company

Once you get the okay that you can leave the scene of the accident, you will then want to contact the rental car company to report the accident. To find the number, you may need to look inside the glove compartment. There should be a sticker with the company’s information on it.

They may ask you to come in or send you paperwork to fill out the claim. Make sure you read the fine print on your insurance policy, as well as the copy of the insurance policy provided to you by the rental company. If you are unsure or have questions about the policy, make sure you ask and record all answers they give you.

The rental company will then ask you to fill out an accident report. Fill out the report and comply with any requests of the rental company.

Hernandez Law Group, P.C. Insight: The Rental Company’s Responsibility

In some cases, car accidents are caused due to safety defects or poor maintenance of a vehicle. If you suspect that faulty instruments or improper maintenance on the car may have been responsible for your accident, it is important to contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible. They can help you navigate the legal battle to prove that the rental car company was negligent in their care of the vehicle, which caused your accident.

However, if any of the following was found to be true about your behavior in the accident, it can seriously hurt your ability to get compensation. These behaviors include the following:

  • Driving while intoxicated or under the influence
  • Driving recklessly
  • Driving to unauthorized areas, such as taking the car out of state
  • Letting someone who is not approved drive the rental car

Should I Call My Insurance Company After the Accident?

In some cases, you may have purchased rental insurance through the rental company when you first rented the car. If this is the case, you may not need to involve your primary insurance company. 

However, if you did not or you still need to involve your insurance company due to the contract you signed, you will want to ask your agent the following:

  • Whether you should file an accident report with the police or if the insurance company do it
  • Whether your plan has collision or comprehensive coverage
  • Whether there is a deductible in this situation and if so, the amount of the deductible

If you did purchase additional insurance through the rental company, make sure your primary insurance company knows this. 

Don’t Take Responsibility For an Accident That Is Not Your Fault

When you are in an accident concerning a rental car, it can be a bit more difficult to determine who is at fault. The other party may be trying to push the blame onto you, saying that because you are from out of town, you were unfamiliar with the layout of the roads. Don’t let them make you responsible for their negligence. Instead, contact the dedicated car accident attorneys at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. Our team will ensure that you are not being bullied into taking less compensation than you deserve for shouldering the blame for the accident. We fight hard to ensure that your right to compensation is protected by gathering the necessary evidence to show the negligence of the other party. While you focus on your recovery, we will be fighting to get you the compensation you deserve for medical expenses and damages. Contact our team today for more information on our services or to schedule an appointment with one of our carrying legal representatives.