A Step-by-Step Guide of What You’ll Need to Do
When you’re out of town on vacation, getting into an accident with your rental car is likely going to be the last thing on your mind. But you’ll need to know what to do so you can handle it as efficiently as possible and get back to having fun. Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensure you handle all elements of the accident and gather necessary information:
- Ensure that nobody is injured. Check for injuries, both in your vehicle and in the other cars involved. If anyone is hurt, call 911 immediately; if an explosion is a possibility, clear the area immediately.
- Exchange vital information. As soon as you’re sure the accident location is safe, exchange insurance and contact information with the other parties involved and take pictures to document the damage.
- Contact the rental company. Inform your rental car company of the accident as soon as possible and ask them for directions regarding how you should proceed.
- Call your own insurance company. Contact your insurance company to advise them of the accident. Ask them whether you have collision and comprehensive coverage in your policy in addition to the liability coverage required by Colorado law.
- If you didn’t purchase extra insurance when you rented the car. Your insurance company will be responsible for paying the rental company if your policy provides first-party coverage. Whether or not you were at fault for the accident, you will be required to pay your deductible directly to the rental company. If you weren’t at fault, your insurance company will go after the responsible party.
- If you bought the extra insurance from the rental company or your credit card company. Some rental insurance policies will provide complete coverage for an accident as long as you pay the premium. However, you could still be required to pay your own insurance policy’s deductible, which serves as secondary coverage if the rental car insurance policy limits are too low to pay for the damage.
- If you rented the car with a major credit card. By renting a vehicle with a major credit card, you likely automatically have car rental insurance, although you’ll need to verify this. Depending on the terms of your credit card agreement, the company may pay for any damage to the rental vehicle that happens during the course of the rental, but credit cards rarely provide liability coverage.
- If you purchased a collision waiver. A collision waiver will release you from the agreement that you made when you rented the car that says you are responsible for paying for the car in the event of an auto accident. But in case of injuries, you’ll still have to file a claim to be compensated for your medical bills, and for the car you hit if you were at fault for the accident.
- If you bought personal effects coverage. This coverage will pay for your personal property in the rental car that was lost or damaged in the accident. Most homeowners and renters insurance policies provide for this coverage, so buying personal effects coverage separately is usually unnecessary, unless you want to avoid filing a claim or paying your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy deductible.
If you were injured in a car accident in Colorado involving a rental car and need expert legal advice, contact Colorado personal injury attorney Dan Rosen for a free consultation to discuss the details of your case.