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What Happens if You Are in a Crash in a Rental Car?

Posted on December 28, 2022 in

Knowing what to do after any type of car accident can be difficult. However, getting into a car accident in a rental car is even more confusing. You may need assistance from an experienced car accident attorney in Scottsdale to help you navigate this situation and understand who is financially responsible for property damage to the rental car.

An Investigation Will Be Used to Determine Fault

As is the case after any car accident in Arizona, you should contact the police to report a car accident involving a rental car. The police will arrive at the scene, investigate the accident and fill out an accident report. This report can be used during the insurance claims process, as it will document details and facts about the collision and the drivers involved. When you contact an insurance company to file a claim, the insurer will also conduct an investigation to determine who is at fault. 

Arizona abides by a fault car insurance law, meaning the person or party who is at fault for causing a car accident must pay for damages. If you get involved in a crash in a rental car and an investigation finds that the other driver is to blame, his or her car insurance provider may be responsible for paying for your medical bills and property damage. If the other driver caused the crash because of distracted driving, speeding, drunk driving or another type of wrongdoing, he or she will have to pay for damage to the rental vehicle. 

You Will Have to Pay for an At-Fault Accident 

If an investigation determines that you were at fault for the accident, on the other hand, you will be responsible for paying to repair the rental car. If you purchased insurance on the rental car from the rental company, this should cover any accident that occurs while you are driving the vehicle. This includes an accident that you caused. In addition, you will receive a comparable rental vehicle in exchange for the car that was involved in the accident. 

Without rental car insurance, you will be responsible for paying for rental car repairs out of pocket. You may be able to use your personal car insurance policy or a credit card to cover property damage. Contact your car insurance company to find out if damage to a rental car is covered. Some credit cards also offer this benefit. Finally, if you were traveling in a rental car for business, ask your company about rental car insurance coverage. Your personal car insurance typically will not cover a rental car that was being used for commercial or business purposes.

What to Do After an Accident in a Rental Car 

If you get into a car accident while driving a rental car in Arizona, take the following steps to protect yourself. Certain actions are legally required of you in Arizona, such as reporting a car accident to the police. Other steps, however, are to help you build an accident claim: 

  1. Pull over immediately and check yourself and anyone involved in the crash for injuries.
  2. Call 911 to report the accident if there are injuries, deaths or property damage.
  3. Exchange names, contact information and insurance information with the other driver.
  4. Collect evidence of the car accident, including photographs at the scene. 
  5. Go to the hospital immediately if you are injured.
  6. Contact the rental car company to inform them that you have been involved in an accident.
  7. Fill out an incident report given to you by the rental company, if required.
  8. Follow the rental company’s instructions for having the vehicle towed to an approved location.
  9. Cooperate with the insurance process through the rental company if you purchased their insurance.
  10. Contact your own car insurance company or credit card company to file a claim if you declined rental insurance.

If you are confused about your rights and legal options after getting into an accident in a rental car, or if you need help negotiating a fair settlement with an insurance provider, contact a car accident attorney near you. A car and motorcycle accident attorney in Scottsdale can guide you through the legal process.