If you’ve found yourself in a minor fender-bender or a larger accident with a rental car, first things first, be sure everyone’s okay! Call 9-1-1 if there are any injuries.

For the next steps, allow me to share a few tips on how to document damages:

Call the local police.

You may need to file a copy of the police report for insurance purposes and the car rental company will need one as well. Also, remember that you’ll be held liable and accountable for any traffic violations that occurred.

Contacts to make:

Call the rental car company. Check in the glove compartment for the car rental company’s contact information and have your account information ready. Don’t have their info or can’t find it? Here’s a list of major car rental company roadside assistance contact numbers:

– Alamo: 1-800-803-4444
– Avis: 1-800-354-2847
– Budget: 1-800-354-2847
– Enterprise: 1-800-307-6666
– Thrifty: 1-877-435-7650

Questions you should ask the rental car company:

– What do you require me to do to document the damage?
– How would you like it documented – Photos? Writing information down?
– What information do you want? (date, time, etc.)
– When and how am i going to receive a replacement car?
– Explain the payments for the crashed car and the replacement car.
– Ask about any other assistance you might need – hotel?

Call your insurance agent.

Carl’s Van Rental TIP: Call your credit card company. Why? Your credit card may offer rental car insurance coverage.

Document the damage of the accident.

Although you may don’t have insurance, it is best to take pictures because doing so could help the process with the rental car company.

Towing the vehicle.

In the event the car has to be towed to a garage or repair shop, be sure to get the exact specifics of the location and name of the towing company and the body shop. You could be held responsible for these towing and storage fees if your auto insurance policy doesn’t cover it.

Carl’s Van Rentals Staff TIP: Grab Your Stuff. Before your vehicle is towed away, look for and remove all your belongings. Don’t forget to check the trunk and glove compartments!

Keep copies of ALL receipts

Hotels, restaurants, gas, repairs, everything – these expenses may be covered under your own car insurance.

Get extra estimates.

Just like you would for your car, you may be asked to get a number of different estimates for any repairs. Your own personal automobile insurance policy might not cover everything in this situation.

Carl’s Van Rentals Expert Tip: Coverage in the event the vehicle needs repairs, your automobile insurance may not cover rental agency expenses, including loss of rental income while the auto is out of service, or any other “incidental” items like towing, storage, and administrative costs that the rental company may incur.

Bottom Line: Document damages, just like you would for your own personal car. You will never know what you might be held liable for!