Wrecking your own car is bad enough. But what happens if you wreck a rental car? Whether you’ve been rear-ended or totaled your rental, the next steps are important. It can be stressful when you’re involved in an accident and the vehicle isn’t even yours. Here, we’ll explain what to do after the accident and how to handle insurance matters.
Check On Yourself and Others
First, call 911 if you or any passengers are severely injured. If possible, move the car to the side of the road. Wait for the police to investigate the scene and write an accident report, which can be used as evidence later. Get everyone away from the car if it is smoking or a fire breaks out.
Collect As Much Information As Possible
After any car accident, you need to document everything. Especially considering the rental company may pursue compensation directly. It’s not their business to determine fault, but you shouldn’t be responsible for paying if you didn’t cause the wreck. To build your case, take pictures of the vehicles involved, road and weather conditions at the scene, and exchange contact and insurance information with all drivers involved. Also, gather contact information and details from any witnesses.
How a Rental Car Accident Can Affect Your Insurance
The rental company owns the vehicle. However, you are responsible for driving it safely. You can purchase liability coverage from a car insurance or credit card company. If you already have auto insurance, make sure you have liability coverage, which helps pay for property damage, bodily injury, and damage to other cars. You can also purchase an insurance policy for your car rental; if a collision damage waiver is an option, it can provide coverage if the car is damaged during use.
Contact Your Insurance Adjuster
Notifying your primary insurance company is important after a rental car accident. Your premium isn’t guaranteed to go up just because you file a claim. In California, only the person responsible for the accident will face any penalties, as it’s an at-fault state. Ask the adjuster how much your insurance deductible is, whether you’ll get it back, and what amount of coverage applies to a rental accident.
Submit a Property Damage Claim
After you submit the claim to the insurer, an adjuster will contact you, review the claim, and schedule an appraisal of the vehicle damage. They’ll probably take pictures and inspect the car, then suggest taking the vehicle to a body shop the insurance company has approved. However, you have the right to use any body shop you want. The adjuster should then approve repairs and use of the rental car temporarily.
What Will the Rental Company Charge Me?
The at-fault party is liable to pay damage costs. The car rental company may impose various charges if you were in an accident with your rental car. The company decides on these fees, which often depend on the severity of the crash. Common charges include loss of use fees, which cover the cost of the car that’s now out of commission. These fees help cover the loss of revenue.
The company may also factor in reductions in the value of the rental car. Administrative fees may also apply. Fees for vehicle damage can be issued when you process an insurance claim. You could end up paying a couple hundred dollars or more in just fees to the rental company.
Call Jacob If You Need a Lawyer
What happens if you wreck a rental car and need an attorney?
If you weren’t at fault, but are being held responsible to pay for the damage, contact The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani. We’ll help whether you have rental car insurance or not. A legal claim can reduce or eliminate any fees or penalties you owe. When you’ve been injured in a rental car wreck, our team of car accident attorneys will help get the compensation you deserve. Call 888-952-2952 for your free consultation.