A traffic accident is always an unexpected and traumatic experience, but it’s even more stressful if the crash happens when you’re driving a rental car. Understanding what to do in this situation can minimize your stress level over the short and long term.
How to React At the Scene of a Rental Car Accident
There are a number of steps you should take immediately after a traffic accident, and they’re the same whether you’re behind the wheel of a rental car or your own vehicle:
- Check for injuries and call 911 if emergency medical care is needed.
- Get photos of the accident scene and damaged vehicles.
- Move your vehicle off the roadway as soon as it’s safe to do so.
- Exchange insurance, license and contact information with the other driver.
- Get the name, address and phone number of any eye witnesses.
- Write down the make, model, year and tag number of the other vehicle.
- Note the exact location of the accident, as well as the weather and road conditions.
- Note the names and badge numbers of police officers who respond.
- When talking to the police, the other driver or anyone else at the scene, don’t admit fault even if you feel responsible.
What to Do After a Rental Car Collision
Once you’re safely away from the scene, take these additional steps as soon as possible:
- Notify the car rental company about the accident. Review the details of any extra insurance you’ve purchased, such as a collision damage waiver (CDW) or supplemental liability (SLI).
- Call your insurance agent to report the incident. If you have a personal vehicle with first-party insurance coverage, your policy should cover a rental car accident up to the same limits with the same deductible.
- Contact your credit card company. Most major credit cards provide insurance when the card is used for car rental charges. Get the specifics of the coverage for damages and/or liability, and whether it pays other costs, like your deductible.
- File an accident report with the Nevada DMV. If the collision resulted in injuries or over $750 in damages, an accident report must be filed within 10 days.
There are other circumstances where you may be held liable for property damage and injuries resulting from a rental car accident:
- If you turned down optional CDW and SLI insurance from the rental company, and you’re relying on coverage from your credit card because you don’t own and insure a personal vehicle, you may be liable if you’re deemed at fault.
- Receiving a citation from police at the scene of the accident for speeding, recklessness or driving under the influence may void the CDW and SLI insurance you’ve purchased.
Our helpful checklist has additional tips on what to do after a car accident. If you’ve been involved in an accident with a rental car and need expert legal advice, contact us at Greenman, Goldberg, Raby and Martinez or call 702-388-4476.