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What Do I Do if I Was in an Accident Driving a Rental Car?

Aug 4, 2022 | Auto Accident


Woman traveling with a rented car

When you’re involved in an accident while driving a rental car, the procedure that follows is not all that different from what you would experience if you were driving your own vehicle. 

However, there are some mild nuances you should be aware of based on your rental agreement and rental insurance. Here’s what you should do if you’re in an accident while driving a rental car in Indiana.

What to Do After an Accident in a Rental Car

No matter the circumstances, the steps you take after a car accident can dictate how smooth the process of filing an insurance claim goes. You’ll need evidence of what happened and contact information for all parties involved to get things moving. Here’s what you should do after an accident.

1. Check for Injuries and Call 911

The most important thing you should do no matter the accident circumstances is to make sure everyone is okay. If you can, move your vehicle out of the roadway or to as safe of an area as you possibly can. 

If the vehicles are at risk of explosion or fire, clear the area. Call 911 and request that law enforcement comes out to document the scene.

2. Gather Contact Information

Now that you’ve gotten everyone to a safe location, you should exchange contact information and insurance details with the other parties involved. When exchanging information, be sure to gather these details.

  • Full name
  • Address of residence or business in the case of a commercial driver
  • Phone number
  • Insurance company name and policy number
  • Driver’s license number, license plate, and vehicle registration information for each vehicle involved

Be sure to gather contact information for any witnesses who are present as well. Throughout this process, be very careful what you say. Never admit fault for the accident regardless of your perception of what happened. 

Answer law enforcement’s questions with only the required facts. Avoid apologizing for the accident as that could be misconstrued as accepting fault. It is safer to simply ask others involved if they are okay. 

Do not sign anything even if another driver says they are accepting fault for the accident.

Most importantly, don’t tell the other drivers involved in the accident that you were driving a rental car. The drivers might try to take advantage of that and blame you for the accident.

3. Take Photos and Videos

Document the scene as best you can with photos and videos. During the process, you can take notes to go along with the photos and videos to remind yourself about key details and information. 

When taking photos, document damage to vehicles, take photos of license plates and insurance cards, and capture the intersection or stretch of roadway where the accident took place. 

You want to make it easy to recreate the scene in case you face challenges with the insurance company, your rental car company, or other parties involved. Don’t rely on others to take these photos for you unless you are injured and unable to do this process yourself. 

4. Notify the Rental Car Company

This will be the part of the accident aftermath that differs from being involved in a car accident in your own vehicle. You’ll need to complete additional paperwork with the rental car company. 

Generally, the rental car company will require that you complete an incident report. Be careful when completing this report and seek an attorney’s advice before submitting it to the rental car company. What you write on this report could be used in your insurance claim or a lawsuit concerning the accident later.

Your liability concerning repairs to the rental vehicle will depend on the rental coverage you have. Some people choose to use a credit card with rental car coverage built-in. This is often the most affordable way to obtain rental car coverage. Alternatively, you might purchase coverage through the rental car company at the time you rent the vehicle. 

Before renting a vehicle, you should know the rental car coverage your credit card provides in case of an accident and consider whether you need additional coverage.

You should avoid interacting with an insurance company or the rental car company before speaking to an attorney. An attorney will guide you through the process and help you understand your potential liability in the accident to avoid saying or doing the wrong thing. Schedule a free consultation with the Indiana car accident experts at Stewart & Stewart.

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