Wreck a Rental Car in California? Here is What You Need to Know.

Drivers rent cars for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes your personal vehicle is broken down, or perhaps you’re a tourist and need a car for sightseeing once you deboard the plane. Maybe you want to be incognito or just want to drive something new. Whatever the reason, you are bound to have some questions about how to proceed if you should experience an accident while driving a rental car in the sunshine state. Below you will find all the information to ensure everyone is safe, your claims are filed correctly and maybe even get some help from your credit card company.

First Things First -Scene of the Accident

  • 911- If anyone is hurt, it is important to call 911 for rescuers immediately. If there are no injuries, you’ll need a police officer to come and make a report. Regardless of who is at fault, authorities and medical rescue should be called immediately after the accident. Even if no other car is involved in the accident, or someone hit your rental car when it was parked and took off, you will still need a police report to show the insurance company and the folks at the rental car office.
  • Pictures, Notes and Information – Your next step is to begin documenting the accident on your own before police arrive. Even if it is your fault, you’ll need to take down some notes of what happened and snap a few pictures of any damages and the area of the accident. Exchange information with the other driver such as insurance carrier contact info and personal cell phone numbers.

After the Accident

Rental Car Agent – As soon as the accident dust clears, you should call your rental car agent and let him or her know you’ve had an accident. Most agencies require you to fill out an accident report. If the car is damaged, they will arrange a tow and a replacement. If you purchased the rental car insurance, this may be the only call you need to make. You’ll still have to fill out the accident report but you may not have to deal with your own insurance or credit card company.

Insurance Company – Next, you’ll need to call your insurance company. They may be able to cover the damage done to your rental car if you have a clause in your policy for it. Most likely, you will still have a deductible to pay but it will be far less than the cost of the repairs to the wrecked rental car.

Credit Card Company – You may have rental car damage coverage on your credit card. More and more credit card companies have offered this service in recent years. It is a good idea to check this out before you rent a car, just so you know what your covered for. There are time limitations, however, make this call as soon as you can after the accident.

An important thing to keep in mind is even if you aren’t in an accident, you will be held responsible for damages that happen to a rental car you are driving. Your best bet is to double check with your agent before you decide to rent to make sure you agree with their terms in case of damages. If you are really concerned about an accident, spend the extra cash to get the insurance from the rental car company. Better safe than sorry.

Contact Information