Being involved in a hit-and-run incident while driving a rental car can be distressing, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Although the steps you take following the accident may be different than if you owned the vehicle, for the most part, the process is the same. Here are the most important things to do following a hit-and-run accident while driving a rental vehicle.
Ensure Yours and Others Safety: If you’re involved in a hit and run, first make sure you and your passengers are safe. If anyone is injured, call for medical assistance immediately.
Gather Information Of The Other Driver: If possible, try to gather as much information about the other vehicle involved in the hit and run. Note the license plate number, make, model, color, and any distinctive features of the vehicle. If there are witnesses, ask for their contact information as well.
Contact Law Enforcement: Call the local police to report the hit and run. Provide them with all the information you’ve gathered about the incident. They will create an official report, which may be necessary for insurance purposes.
Document the Scene: Take photos of the damage to your rental car and any other relevant details, such as the location of the incident, road conditions, and nearby landmarks. This documentation can be useful for insurance claims.
Notify Rental Car Company: Contact the rental car company as soon as possible to inform them of the incident. They will guide you on the next steps, which might include reporting the incident to the local authorities and providing them with the police report number.
Notify Your Insurance Company: If you have rental car coverage as part of your personal auto insurance policy, contact your insurance company to report the incident. They can advise you on how to proceed with a claim.
Check Rental Car Insurance: Review the rental car agreement and insurance policy you purchased. Some rental car companies offer optional insurance coverage that may help cover damage in certain situations, including hit-and-run incidents.
Cooperate with Authorities: Work closely with the local authorities and follow their instructions. They may need additional information from you to help locate the responsible party.
Seek Legal Advice: Depending on the severity of the incident and the jurisdiction you’re in, you might want to consult with legal counsel, especially if you’re facing challenges with insurance claims or liability issues. The Austin car accident attorneys at Shaw Cowart recommend seeking counsel immediately after an accident and avoiding handling the situation on your own.
After an accident, it can be hard to think clearly about what documents you might need for insurance purposes. Especially when driving a rental, the documents you need might not be in their usual place if the car is yours. Here are some places where you may access important documents following an accident.
Reservation Documents: Check your reservation email or printout for initial insurance details.
Confirmation Email: Look for insurance information in the confirmation email from your online booking.
Company Website: Log in to your rental car account on the company’s website to access insurance details.
Customer Service: Contact the rental car company’s customer service for specific coverage information.
Rental Agreement: Check the rental agreement when picking up the car for coverage terms and protection plans.
Credit Card: Inquire with your credit card company about rental car insurance benefits.
Personal Auto Insurance: Contact your personal auto insurance provider to understand if rental cars are covered.
Remember that the specific steps you should take might vary based on local laws, your insurance coverage, and the policies of the rental car company. Always follow the guidance of law enforcement, your insurance provider, and the rental car company to ensure you handle the situation properly.