Whether you’re in a rental car or your personal vehicle, having an auto accident is the same; which means, how you react to an accident in a rental car should not differ from your reaction where you are driving your personal vehicle. Following any accident you should:
1. Turn off your car if it’s still running and, if possible, pull over to the shoulder of the road to minimize risk of further injury from passing cars and allow traffic to flow regularly until help arrives.
2. If anyone is injured, call 911 – if there are no injuries, you can call your local non-emergency number or local police station. Especially in a rental vehicle, you will absolutely want to have the police take witness statements and make a formal record of any damage.
3. Get the other driver’s insurance, contact and license information. You should also be prepared to share your own information along with the name of your rental company.
4. Make a visual record of the damage. Use the camera on your phone to take photos and make notes of the damage you find. This is the most important step in properly documenting any damage the vehicle incurred, and it is especially important if you’re in an accident in a rental car.
5. If any witnesses stop to assist you or the other party, collect their contact information. The claims adjuster assigned to your accident will want to contact all witnesses to corroborate your account of what happened.
Now, this is where the process starts to change if you’re in a rental vehicle. If the insurance is through the rental company’s insurance plan, then you need to contact this provider. If you did not purchase insurance through the rental company and are instead relying on your personal auto coverage, then you need to call your insurance provider to file a claim. Let them know you were driving a rental vehicle at the time of the accident and then ask them how to proceed. You may be more comfortable contacting your independent insurance agent and that’s great. Your agent is an advocate for you and can guide you through the steps of filing a claim. They may also be able to start the claim for you.
Next you’ll need to contact your rental car provider. It’s likely that the rental car company will arrange to have their vehicle towed back to their location or to their preferred auto body shop and inform you how to secure another vehicle. Make sure the police know to get a copy of the police report to the rental company if the rental company’s insurance is going to be used to cover damages.
The worst thing to do when you have an accident in a rental car, no matter how small, is to try and hide it. Rental car companies keep impeccable records on damage, dings, dents and everything in between on their fleet of vehicles. Deal with these issues as they occur to ensure you get access to the resources you’ve purchased through the rental company and your insurance provider. By dealing with them head on, you won’t end up having more liability than you deserve.
For more information about London auto insurance or any questions you may have about rental car care in the Ontario area, give Excalibur Insurance Group a call at 519-348-9150.