More than 45 million people rented cars in 2019. Enterprise Holdings, which owns Enterprise, Alamo, and National, controls the highest market share. The second-largest car rental company in the United States is Hertz, which also operates Dollar and Thrifty. The third most successful American rental company is Avis.
Car Rental Crashes
For some reason, rental cars experience a higher collision rate than their non-rented competition. However, the Journal of Advanced Transportation reports that the reason for this is difficult to determine. One theory is the fact that drivers of rental cars struggle with the unfamiliar vehicles, which reduces their response time. Another potential cause is the fact that many car renters drive the vehicle in unfamiliar terrain. One other reason could be owed to the fact many rental car operators are on vacation, so they are more relaxed than while they are on roads at home. Drivers most likely to crash their rental cars are men under the age of 25.
Whatever the underlying cause, if you’re involved in a collision while you are renting a car, follow these steps:
- Assess the situation.
Makesure that everyone is safe and that no one is hurt. Once you’ve established that all concerned parties are physically okay, head to a safe location. Don’t stand where you could be hit.
- Call police.
Depending on the law enforcement policies associated with the location of you crash, police may decline to take a report. But let them make the call. It’s always preferable to involve authorities so that evidence is recorded and can be called upon if necessary.
- Gather evidence and information.
Much as you would do if you are involved in a crash while driving your own vehicle, collect the registration, driver’s license and insurance card for the driver of the other car. If police arrive on scene, ask for a copy of the police report. Also, record the badge number for officers who responded to the call. Take as many photographs of the involved vehicles as well as the surrounding location as possible.
- Call the rental company.
Most companies post their phone number inside rental vehicles. If you can’t find the number on the automobile itself, check the paperwork. Ask for direction about what to do with the car that was involved in the crash. If it is drivable, ask if they want you to deliver it to them. Before hanging up, make sure you ask for the customer service representative’s name and ID number (if applicable). Also note the time and date of the call, since you could be asked to recall it at a later date in the event of a dispute.
- Call your insurance provider.
The most common reason insurers deny claims is because of time delays. So, avoid this by filing as quickly after the accident as possible. Do not accept blame or explain yourself to insurers but honestly answer questions to the best of your ability. By the way, in most cases, as long as you have sufficient car insurance, you do not need to purchase additional coverage from the rental car company. So, ignore high-pressure sales tactics. Rental car representatives earn extra commission for selling this type of unnecessary coverage.
- Take care of the car.
(If it is drivable), drive the vehicle where the rental car instructs you to take it. If it is inoperable, call roadside assistance and have it towed to an auto body shop. But don’t authorize work. Call an attorney to find out your rights.
- File a report with the rental company.
Although you will have explained the story to police on scene as well as your insurance company, you will likely need to give a detailed account to the rental car company as well so they can quickly process the claim.
- Call experienced rental car accident attorneys such as the ones at Moet Law.
If you fail to return your rental car in the same condition in which you received it; you could be billed for damages. These can add up since even small scratches can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. We will handle all the details, make medical appointments, and even advance you funds to cover your expenses. And we don’t get paid unless you get paid; so our interests are aligned.
About Moet Law in Irvine and Ontario, California
Moet Law has an experienced team of personal injury lawyers that are available to best advise anyone on compensation due to them if they or their loved ones were involved in an automobile accident, whether the associated vehicle is a rental, lease or purchase. Even though California law allows a claim to be filed for up to two years after a pedestrian accident, the faster the information is handed over to personal lawyers, the better the outcome.