What if I Have a Car Accident in a Rental Car on Vacation?

woman holding a suitcase getting into a rental car while on vacation

With all your hard work, your vacation should be spent relaxing and enjoying your time off. However, your vacation could easily be ruined if you get into a car accident with your rental car. To ease the burden of dealing with this situation, it is a good idea to be prepared and know what to expect, and it all generally depends on your auto insurance.

You likely will sign a few documents when you rent a car stating you are responsible for any damage or losses to the vehicle, even if someone else caused the accident. However, most rental car companies require their customers to have their auto insurance before they can rent you one of their cars.

Before you rent a car, there are a few things you should know first:

  • Your auto insurance policy may already cover you if you get into an accident with your rental car. Check your policy or ask your insurance agent if you have rental car accident coverage.
  • If you do not have rental coverage in your policy or believe you need more accident coverage, you can purchase coverage through the rental car company themselves.
  • Your credit card is another item usually needed when signing up for a rental car. This credit card could be used for additional damages after you return the rental. However, some credit card companies have collision coverage for customers that use their card for rental. Check your credit card agreement or call the company to see if your card applies.

More than likely, you can forgo purchasing insurance from the rental car company and use your policy for coverage. Check with your insurance agent if your policy will apply to rental cars, or check your policy for coverages:

  • Collision insurance coverage: Most collision coverages will apply to rental cars and carry the same deductible if the accident occurred with your car. Collision insurance covers damage to your vehicle and the other vehicle or object involved in the accident.
  • Liability coverage: Most policies also have liability coverage, which helps pay for damage to someone else’s property and medical bills.
  • Medical payments coverage: This type of coverage helps pay doctor bills and other medical expenses, such as ambulance rides or surgery.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP): Also referred to as “no-fault” insurance in some states, including New Jersey, PIP coverage is usually required by law. PIP coverage covers medical expenses for yourself and your passengers.

If you must purchase insurance from the rental car company, be aware that their coverage is generally similar to your auto insurance policy.

What to Do Following an Accident in a Rental Car   

In the unfortunate event of getting in an accident with your rental car, it is essential to know that you treat the situation as you would if you were in your own car. After an accident occurs, immediately:

  • Check your passengers and yourself for injuries and move your car to a safe location if possible.
  • Call 911 immediately, especially if any injuries or significant vehicle damage occur.
  • Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver, including full name and contact information, auto insurance and policy number, driver’s license information, type of vehicle and license plate number, and accident location.
  • Gather as much information about the accident as you can. This would include photos of the vehicle damage and injuries or videos of the scene. Talk to any witnesses and gather their information as well.
  • Get a copy of the police report and the responding officer’s name and badge number.
  • Contact your insurance company.

You should then contact the rental car company and follow their instructions, which may include filling out an accident report or other documentation. Additionally, an insurance agent can help you understand certain situations, such as the accident occurring in a “no-fault” insurance state or the at-fault driver did not have insurance.

Contact a Mount Laurel Car Accident Lawyer at the Law Office of David S. Rochman Today

If you have been injured in a rental car accident, discuss your options with a Mount Laurel car accident lawyer at the Law Office of David S. Rochman. Call us at 856-751-2345 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Burlington County and the surrounding areas.