What Happens If You Crash a Rental Car?

If you get into an accident with a rental car, what happens next depends on the type of auto insurance coverage you have and the circumstances surrounding the crash.

If you paid for it with a credit card or purchased additional insurance, you are generally covered. Purchasing additional insurance from the agency is not necessary if your own auto policy covers rental vehicles. That is something you must check out prior to declining additional insurance.

However, if you do not own a vehicle, decided not to purchase rental car coverage, or did not pay with a credit card offering protection, you are liable for all expenses relating to the crash– if you were at-fault. If you were not at-fault, the other driver’s insurance company should pay for the rental car damage and medical costs relating to injuries.  

If there are questions about who is liable and will pay for the rental car’s damage, it is wise to seek legal counsel promptly. The New York City car accident lawyers at Douglas and London will protect your rights while negotiating with the insurance companies involved.

The Rental Agreement

When you picked up the rental car, you signed an agreement. Virtually all of these state that the renter is responsible for any vehicle damage. This is one reason why it is imperative for those renting a car to inspect it carefully for damage before leaving the premises. If there are any dents or scratches, point this out to the rental car representative and fill out the appropriate form so you are not charged for this minor damage when the car is returned.

Rental car agreements also limit their liability as much as possible. The agreement may include precise stipulations regarding what the renter must do if an accident occurs, including a timeframe in which the accident is reported to the rental car agency, and what should be included in such reports. A personal injury lawyer will be able to help you understand the provisions of your rental car agreement and how they affect your claim going forward.

Further, rental car companies expect customers to obey the law, and that is a prime condition of the rental agreement. If the accident occurred because you were speeding, driving under the influence, or otherwise engaged in an unlawful activity, you are likely liable for damage to the vehicles involved and the medical expenses of anyone injured.

What to Do After a Rental Car Accident

Much of what you should do is the same as if you were involved in an accident in your own car. It is critical to call the police, and, if possible, take photos and videos of the accident scene. Further, get the license number, as well as insurance information, of the other driver, along with their name and contact information. Obtain contact information for any eyewitnesses. Do not admit fault for the collision.

You must also contact the rental car company immediately. A representative will inform you regarding the next steps, but it is imperative that you read your rental car agreement. Once you have it available, read your own car insurance policy carefully. If you carry collision and comprehensive coverage, your insurance should pay for damage to the rental vehicle. You must contact your insurer and let them know about the accident. Your insurer will also let you know the amount of the deductible for which you are responsible.

If your credit card company offered coverage for rental vehicles, you should notify them of the accident right away.

Other Factors

The rental car company is entitled to have repairs done on the vehicle as soon as possible so it may rejoin the fleet. If your auto insurance policy does not include rental car coverage, you are responsible for paying the daily rate for the rental car until it is repaired and back in service.

Contact a New York Car Accident Attorney

If you or someone who know was involved in an accident with a rental car, contact the New York City personal injury lawyers at Douglas and London today. Schedule a free consultation by filling out our online form or calling or texting 24/7. We will evaluate your case and examine all of the appropriate insurance agreements.