What to Do If You Have an Accident in a Rental Car

Getting into an accident in a rental car can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. So it's important to know what steps to take to ensure your safety and protect yourself legally. This guide will provide you with the necessary information to handle an accident in a rental car.

Check for injuries and call 911 for help

Accidents are unexpected and can happen to anyone on the road. The first and most important step after an accident in a rental car is to check for injuries. It's crucial to act fast in these situations by immediately calling 911 for emergency medical assistance. Even if no one appears injured, it's still a good idea to report the accident to emergency services. 

Seeking medical attention should also be a top priority, as injuries may not be visible or apparent at first glance. Even if you think the accident is minor, it's always better to err on the side of caution and seek medical assessment. Never hesitate to call for help, as a quick response can make all the difference in the outcome of the situation. Remember, safety should always come first.

Gather information from the other driver and any witnesses

Once you’re sure you and your passengers have minimal to no injuries, you should gather as much information as possible from the scene of the accident. 

A car accident can be a scary and overwhelming experience. However, it is important to remain calm and exchange insurance information and contact details with any other parties involved. This will ensure that everyone can make arrangements with their respective insurance companies to get their vehicles repaired and any medical bills taken care of. (Note: Read this post if you’re wondering what happens if you don’t have insurance and get into an accident)

Remember to stay calm and polite during the exchange of information, even if the other driver is upset or angry. Even if the accident seems minor, it is still important to exchange information and take note of damages as some injuries or damages may not be immediately apparent. So, take a deep breath and make sure to get all the necessary information to protect yourself and others involved in the accident. 

Document the scene of the accident 

Having documentation is a critical step to protecting yourself when you find yourself in an unfortunate accident while driving a rental car. Take photos of the damage to both vehicles and the surrounding area, including any skid marks or debris on the road. These will help paint a detailed picture of exactly what happened and can be used later on as solid evidence during any legal proceedings that may arise. Proper documentation can spell the difference between you getting compensated for losses or ending up taking the blame for something that wasn’t your fault.

So whether you're dealing with a minor fender-bender or a more serious collision, make sure you have your camera ready to document the facts. This will be important when filing a claim with the rental car company or your insurance provider. 

Contact the rental car company and report the accident

After ensuring everyone's safety and exchanging information with the other driver, the next step is to contact the rental car company and report the accident. They will provide guidance on what to do next and may have specific procedures for handling accidents. 

It's important to report the accident as soon as possible to avoid any potential issues with insurance coverage or rental agreements. Be prepared to provide details about the accident, including the location, time, and any damage to the rental car.

File a police report if possible

Filing a police report can be incredibly useful if you find yourself in the middle of a dispute. Not only does it provide a valuable record of the incident, but it can also help to establish a timeline of events and the parties involved. This can be especially important in cases where there are conflicting stories or disagreements about what actually happened. 

By creating a formal record of the incident, you may be able to strengthen your case or gather evidence to support your claim. While filing a police report isn't always necessary, it's definitely worth considering if you believe that legal action may be necessary in the future.

File a claim with your insurance provider

If you followed the steps above, you now have the documentation and the necessary reports for your insurance provider. You need to contact them as soon as possible to file your claim. With Bonzah, for instance, you can file a rental car insurance claim online by sending all relevant information through email.  Make sure you have a copy of your rental agreement and insurance policy so your claim can be easily and promptly processed.

If you don’t have personal auto insurance, you should check with your rental company on what to do next. They can advise you on the next steps and help you sort out your encumbrances, if any. Be warned, though, that you can expect to be held liable for rental car damage in this case.

No one wants a car accident in a rental car

If you’ve planned a road trip, the last thing you want to worry about is getting into an accident while in a rental car. Accidents are always stressful and costly, but they can become even more complicated when you’re renting a vehicle that doesn't belong to you. While you can’t avoid an accident, you can - and should - be prepared if such an incident does happen. And that is what getting rental car insurance coverage does for you: it protects you from financial losses during an accident.

When you have coverage, dealing with a car accident in a rental car becomes simpler. It may not be a hassle-free experience, but at least you’re confident that you’re covered.