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What to Do When You Get in a Rental Car Accident While on Vacation

Getting in a car accident is stressful enough, but dealing with one in an unfamiliar place while on vacation can be overwhelming. And it becomes even more complicated if you are driving a rental car. This is what you can do if this happens to you.

Rental car

Getting in a car accident is stressful enough, but dealing with one in an unfamiliar place while on vacation can be overwhelming. And it becomes even more complicated if you are driving a rental car. Since it is predicted that the rental car industry will cater to over 602 million users by 2026, and with over 44 million rental cars on the road in 2019, it’s not unlikely you’ll get into an accident with your vacation rental. This is supported by the fact that rental cars are more likely to be involved in collisions than non-rental cars. If you find yourself in a rental car accident while traveling, here are some tips on navigating the situation.

Assess Your Accident Injuries and Call for Help

The first priority is making sure you and any passengers receive medical attention if needed. Even if injuries seem minor, it’s best to get checked out by a doctor. Call 911 and request an ambulance if there are any signs of serious injury like loss of consciousness, broken bones, or heavy bleeding.

If it’s a minor fender bender with no injuries, you can move your vehicles out of the flow of traffic to avoid causing further incidents. Turn on your hazard lights and set up road flares or reflectors if you have them.

Exchange Information With the Other Driver

When speaking to the other driver, get their name, contact details, driver’s license number, insurance information, and license plate number. Also, provide them with your own information. If there are passengers or witnesses, get their contact details too in case their account is needed later.

Take Photos of Any Damage Caused

Use your phone to take pictures of the vehicle damage, where the vehicles landed after impact, skid marks on the road, street signs, and any other relevant details. Photographing injuries (if appropriate) can also help document what happened.

File a Police Report

Contact the local police to file an accident report. This provides an official record of what transpired and will be critical for the claims process later. Make sure to get a copy of the report for your records before leaving the scene.

Notify Your Insurance Provider

Call your car insurance company right away to inform them what happened. They can walk you through the next steps like getting the rental car repaired, arranging a replacement rental, and submitting a claim to cover damages.

If you purchased the rental company’s insurance policy, you may need to contact them instead of your own insurer. Be sure to follow all claim instructions carefully to avoid coverage issues.

Contact the Rental Company

Inform the rental car company about the accident and find out the process for bringing in the damaged vehicle to be assessed. There may be forms you need to fill out or fees you have to pay, so ask for details. With around 1.8 million rental cars in service in 2021, they likely have experience dealing with accidents.

Renting a Replacement Vehicle

Your personal car insurance or the rental company’s policy may allow you to rent another car so that you’re not stranded. Ask about coverage for a replacement rental and any costs you may need to pay out of pocket. According to Enterprise, the average rental period is 18.4 days, so you may need a replacement car for over two weeks.

Getting Legal Help From an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

For serious accidents, consider consulting a local attorney who specializes in rental car crashes. Car accident attorneys can advise if you need to sue the at-fault driver and represent your best interests in personal injury claims and negotiations with insurers.

Dealing with the aftermath of a rental car accident while on vacation can quickly derail plans. These tips will help ensure your rights are protected and your claim goes smoothly. Reach out for legal guidance if the crash was severe or injuries are significant.


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