A car accident can be stressful enough on its own without the added complication of driving a rental car. You may have heard different things about whether or not your own auto insurance provider will cover property damage done to a rental vehicle. Find out exactly what to do after a car accident while driving a rental in San Antonio for the best odds of obtaining coverage.
Check for Injuries
Pull the rental car over in a safe place and check for injuries. Take a moment to see if you notice any pain, bleeding or swelling. Then, check the conditions of the passengers in your vehicle and – if it is safe to exit your car – the conditions of those in the other vehicle. If anyone is injured, you have a legal obligation to render aid.
Call the Police
Documenting your car accident is critical for a successful rental car insurance claim. The first question an auto insurance company typically asks is for the police report number. If you do not report the crash to the police, this can hurt your claim and make it more difficult to recover financial compensation.
In Texas, it is a requirement to call the police immediately to report any auto accident that causes injuries, deaths or at least $1,000 in property damage. It can help your claim, however, to contact the police after any rental car accident, including minor collisions.
If you are physically able to do so, gather evidence while still at the scene of the rental car accident. Write down the other driver’s name, contact information, a description of his or her vehicle, and his or her license plate numbers. Use your cell phone or a camera to take photographs and videos of the scene of the crash. Write down your police report number so you can request a copy later.
Go to a Hospital in San Antonio
Obtain professional medical care for your injuries as soon as possible. Waiting too long to see a doctor after a rental car accident could give the insurance company a reason to deny coverage. Delaying medical care could also have a negative impact on your physical health. Explain to the doctor that you were just in a car accident. Request copies of your medical records before you leave.
Call the Rental Car Company
When you are able, contact the rental car company and report that you were in an accident. You must file an official car accident report with the rental company. Do not admit fault for the collision. Wait for an official investigation to determine who or what caused the crash rather than accepting liability from the onset.
Ask the rental company what you should do with the vehicle. You are responsible for the car until you return it. The company may ask you to tow it to a specific auto shop or one of its nearby rental offices. Do not take the rental car to an auto shop without consulting with the company and getting its approval first.
Call Your Insurance Company
Call your own auto insurance company to initiate the claims process. If you did not cause the crash, reporting it to your insurer will not increase your premiums. Your own car insurance provider may contact the rental car company to work out an agreement. If you paid for rental car insurance, for example, your own insurance company can seek reimbursement through the rental policy.
If you used a credit card to rent the car, call your credit card company to report the accident as well. Many major credit card companies offer rental car insurance coverage for property repairs. This is often only the case, however, if you did not cause the accident.
Contact an Attorney
Finally, contact a car accident attorney in San Antonio for assistance with the legal process. An attorney will know exactly what steps you should take for a successful case after a car accident in a rental car.