When you drive a rental car, you are often in an unfamiliar vehicle with different controls and operations than your own. You are also frequently on roads you do not recognize in places you have never been before. The combination can increase your likelihood of being involved in a car accident.
If you are in an accident, the basics about what you should do following an accident in your vehicle are still applicable, but when you are in a rental car, several nuances likely apply to your situation.
Before You Get in the Car
If you are travelling in a foreign country, they may have different emergency numbers than what you may be familiar with. For example, the “911” number that applies in the United States and Canada may not be in use in other countries. In Europe, for instance, the standard number is “112,” but some countries will use more numbers to distinguish what kind of services you are requesting. The number may be different if you want medical attention compared to police services. Before you even climb in the rental car, ensure that you know how to contact emergency personnel in case you need to use that information.
You should also take extra steps to confirm that you are familiar with the vital functions of the vehicle you are driving. Take time to find out how to turn on the lights, blinkers, and windshield wipers. This will save you from fiddling with critical dials when you need to react quickly.
General Accident Protocol after a Motor Vehicle Collision
After an accident, you should take the following basic steps.
- Always remain at the scene of the accident.
- Call emergency services to report the accident and request medical attention.
- Render aid, if you can, to anyone in need.
- Exchange driver’s licence information with the other driver.
- Follow police instructions as provided.
- Collect information from other people who may have witnessed the accident.
When you are driving a rental car, you should still follow the outline above, but you should also take a few extra steps as well.
Actions After an Accident Specific to Rental Vehicles
You should be sure to report the accident to the rental car company and your insurance agent immediately after the crash. They will inform you how you should proceed to get a claim started. Often, you must go through one business or the other to fully address your claim. In rare circumstances, you may have the option of choosing which type of coverage you would like to use. Evaluating this decision can be challenging, but an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you decide.
Not every insurance policy will cover rental car accidents, so you should not assume that there is automatically coverage. Sometimes, any insurance that is provided must be purchased in addition to your standard insurance. This may come from your insurance company or the car rental agency. Ideally, you should determine whether your regular car insurance applies to rental cars before you rent a vehicle.
Many rental car companies offer additional insurance at an extra cost. In many situations, the extra expense is worth the extra protection in the event of an accident. These additional coverages are often referred to as collision damage waivers. They cover accidents as well as theft. Unfortunately, this type of coverage can sometimes double or triple the cost of your rental car.
Our team of personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond have years of valuable experience dealing with the unique circumstances surrounding rental car accidents. Call our injury hotline anytime by dialing 1-800-567-HURT.