When you are on vacation or a business trip, dealing with a rental car accident is probably the last thing on your mind, but being prepared and knowing what steps to take can go a long way. Even if you weren't at fault for the car accident, you could still be held responsible financially. Car accidents are already stressful and the added complication of dealing with the rental company and additional insurance companies doesn't help that.
Additionally, you could be dealing with serious injuries from the crash, as well as medical bills and missed time from work. If you are dealing with the aftermath of a car accident don't hesitate to contact the experienced and dedicated team at Marks Law Group at (678) 251-9309 to go over your case.
The moments immediately following a rental car accident should be handled no differently than if you were driving your personal vehicle.
Inform your rental car company of the accident as quickly as possible. A sticker with an emergency number can usually be found inside the glove box, or on the car rental agreement. Use this emergency number to report the accident involving your rental car to the company. Find out what the company wants you to do with the car: if it's drivable where should you take it? If it's not where should you have it towed? Remember to take the customer service representative's name and phone number and make a note of the date and time that you spoke with them.
If you have personal auto insurance, begin filing a claim through them as soon as possible. The same applies to any insurance you may have through your credit card company. A late claim is much more likely to be denied by an insurance company than one that is filed in a timely manner.
You are contractually obligated to return rental vehicles in the same condition in which you rented them. Failing to do so may leave you on the hook for any damages incurred, which can be expensive even with a minor fender bender. It is a good idea to thoroughly examine the car before you drive it off the lot. Document any damage you see on the vehicle and be sure to take pictures. Having this information could save you a lot of trouble when dealing with damage to rental vehicles.
The responsibility of the rental company depends on the auto insurance coverage you have. Rental agencies will offer supplemental insurance at an additional cost. These options usually include:
Purchasing these additional coverage options can quickly add up if you're renting for several days. It is usually a good idea to look over your personal insurance policy, and review the policies of your credit card company, before deciding what add-ons you may need.
Most major credit card companies offer protection in rental vehicle accidents that kicks in after your personal auto policy has paid out. Some will even pay out your damages before involving your personal insurance company. This typically only covers collision or loss damage, towing expenses, and additional costs from loss of use, however, so it will not fully replace all the types of insurance offered by the rental company. Likewise, medical expenses or other costs of liability will not be covered. Get in touch with your credit card company before renting a vehicle to learn what benefits they offer.
Odds are you already have personal car insurance. Most personal policies will offer coverage in line with what you can get through the rental car company. Many rental agencies will require proof of insurance if you choose to pass on a collision damage waiver. Be aware that car accidents can affect your insurance rates even if you were driving a rental car at the time of the accident.
It's important to get in touch with a Decatur injury lawyer as soon as possible following a car crash, particularly one involving a rented vehicle. An experienced accident attorney can help determine liability, manage contact with multiple car insurance companies, and help you get the full compensation you may be due while you recover from your injuries. The team of dedicated lawyers at Marks Law Group can help you navigate the complicated and stressful time following a car accident. Contact our Decatur car accident attorneys today at (678) 251-9309 for a free consultation.