What to do if You Have an Accident in a Rental Car
It's stressful enough to deal with a car accident at home but imagine having a car accident while you are on holidays with a rental car. What will happen, how do you seek help and how much will it cost? VroomVroomVroom have put together a quick guide to explain how the accident process works.
- Check that all parties are safe: The first and most important step is to check if anyone has been injured as a result of the accident. If so, call Emergency Services straight away. If other cars or pedestrians have been impacted, check the welfare of all involved immediately.
- Call emergency services after a serious accident: Where the accident results in injury or death or has occurred due to criminal behaviour (including where drugs and alcohol are involved or the other party drives away from the accident scene), call the Police and Emergency Services first. In Australia, the Emergency Hotline is 000. Do not leave the rental car or accident scene until the police have arrived and a statement has been made.
- Secure the rental car: Where practical, move the rental car out of the path of other traffic and then secure the car. If the vehicle is unable to be driven, wait with the car until a tow truck arrives. Take photos of the damage and accident site for your personal records and future reference.
- Call the rental car company: Once any serious injuries or threats have been addressed, call the car rental company that you hired the rental car from. Do not leave the accident scene before you have spoken to the car rental company. The car rental company will require you to complete an Accident Report Form including details of what happened and where the incident occurred.
- Damage assessment and repair: At the time of the accident or when you return the rental car to the depot, whichever occurs sooner, the rental car company will inspect the accident damage to the rental car and will calculate the cost to repair the vehicle. It may take a few days for the car rental company to complete their review process. Once the repair cost has been confirmed, where relevant the car rental company will refund the difference between the actual car damage repair cost and the rental vehicle excess amount.
- Lodge a claim with your insurer: If you purchased rental vehicle excess insurance to protect your journey, you would be able to lodge a claim with your insurer to obtain reimbursement for your out of pocket expense. Commonly the insurer will require a completed copy of their claim form, a copy of the vehicle damage report and a copy of the receipt from the car rental company showing the repair cost that you were charged.
What options are available to reduce my financial liability?
It's important to check the inclusions carefully of any protection products that you choose to protect your rental car. VroomVroomVroom have outlined the protection options available to drivers when hiring a car in Australia on the VroomVroomVroom insurance page. There are a number of different options including Rental Vehicle Excess insurance and Excess reduction. Purchasing protection products in Australia is optional not compulsory.
This video can help you understand better what your financial liability is when renting a car in Australia.
Read more about driving a rental car in Australia.