Many of us know the routine if you’re in an accident with your own car. Matters become more complex when you’re driving someone else’s car. The greater question is what to do when you get into an accident when driving a rented car? We’ll give you an overview of the right steps to take if this happens to you.
Call the Police or Emergency Services
If someone is in need of medical attention, the first thing to do whether you’re in your own car or a rental car is to call 911. If someone is injured, have them evaluated. You can deal with the insurance company later.
If there is no urgent need for medical attention, you should still call the police. The police will write out an accident report. This will provide a neutral third-party account of the accident. Ask for an accident report even if you’re dealing with a hit and run in a parking lot involving your rental car.
Take notes regarding the situation. Who was involved? What are the names of the witnesses, including people on the side of the street? What happened? What are the driving conditions? This is also the time to take pictures of everyone and everything. Take pictures of the damage and potential injuries. This must happen in addition to exchanging insurance information. And keep all of this information so that you can give it to both the insurance company and the car rental company.
File an Accident Report
You’ll need to notify the rental place of the accident. This is the first step to filing an accident report with the rental agency. If you can’t drive the car, they may be able to make arrangements for a replacement vehicle. They’ll make the plans regarding towing and repairing the vehicle. If you have car rental insurance through the rental place, this step is still necessary, though you may not need to deal with any other insurer.
Call Your Insurer
This step depends on the type of car insurance you have. You may need to call your auto insurance company; they may cover the damage to the rental vehicle. For example, if you have comprehensive and collision insurance on your own car, it may cover damage on the rental car as well. If another person was severely injured in the vehicle, whether in the other car or a passenger in your rental car, your personal car insurance’s liability coverage will likely kick in. This type of liability coverage is rarely provided by credit cards when they provide insurance for rental vehicles.
Seek Legal Advice
You may find that the rental car company insurance often doesn’t cover large vehicles, whether it is a large truck or passenger van. Credit card insurance typically doesn’t cover the rental of expensive luxury vehicles, though this may end up excluding SUVs, too. If you use your business credit card to rent a vehicle, they may say their insurance only covers the vehicle if it is truly business travel. Your insurance may exclude certain countries from coverage, or there may be conflicts between insurers as to who should cover the accident. In these cases, it would be better to contact a Chicago accident lawyer.
The good news is that you probably had some sort of auto insurance coverage when you were in the accident. Assuming everyone is OK, start making the right calls so you can get back to your trip as soon as possible.