What to Do After a Rental Car Accident That Isn’t Your Fault
Crashing your own vehicle is bad enough, but when you get into an accident in a car you’re borrowing or renting, it can spark all the more stress. Who’s responsible for repairs? What insurance pays for what damages? Knowing what to do after a rental car accident before it even happens can help you better prepare for a worst-case scenario. As a general rule of thumb, before even considering a rental, you should know how your auto insurance plan covers (or doesn’t cover) rental cars.
Things To Do Immediately
To begin with, rental car accidents should be treated like any other auto accident. Stay calm, remain at the scene of the collision, and prioritize first aid and contacting 911 if emergency medical treatment is needed. Call the police as soon as possible to verify the state of the accident, and exchange names and insurance info with the other driver. While talking to the other driver, avoid letting on that you’re in a rental. Some drivers will guilt trip or otherwise take advantage of you if they realize your personal property wasn’t affected in the accident.
Once you have a moment to gather yourself, start taking detailed photos and notes on damage to the vehicle—you don’t know a rental car as well as your own, so it’s important to be thorough and make sure you know what damage was pre-existing and what was caused by the accident.
How Arizona Auto Accident Costs Work for Rentals
You should talk to your insurance company about a rental car accident in more detail. Ask whether your policy covers rental cars and if it does, in what capacity—repair costs, reimbursement for your rental, other rental fees, and so on and so forth are covered in varying capacities by different insurance policies. Assuming that the other driver was at fault, you’ll be able to file a claim through their insurance company, just like any other accident.
You’ll also need to tell the rental company what happened; they’ll instruct you on what to do next (usually either dropping off the vehicle or giving them your location for a tow truck) as well as discuss your coverage in more detail. If you don’t have comprehensive insurance, a collision damage waiver, or other substitutes for liability insurance, you’ll likely have to pay for repair costs out of pocket. Arizona uses a pure comparative fault system, so if you were even partially to blame, you’ll have to pay a proportional part of the damages yourself; however, if you’re fault-free, then you shouldn’t be asked to pay anything by insurance or rental companies. Also, be sure to note the name of the representative you reach when informing the rental company—if they fail to properly handle things, you’ll have better proof that you attempted to inform them if the rental company claims you never called.
Before making any final decisions, talk to an auto accident attorney. Rental vehicle accidents oftentimes distribute the burden of compensation in complex ways, so getting clarification from a professional is essential to ensure you don’t lose out on a reasonable settlement. ELG ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS has all the experience necessary to handle complex rental car accidents, so contact us at (623) 877-3600 to schedule your free consultation today.