So, you’re finally on vacation. Yay! After stepping off the plane, where do you go first? The rental car agency, of course. At the counter, you confidently decline the rental insurance because you “don’t need it.” Three days later, you get into an accident…in said rental car. If you’re internally screaming at yourself for declining the rental insurance, you’re not alone. Getting into an accident on vacation in a rental car is the perfect storm of bad luck.
My husband and I were on a romantic anniversary trip in our favorite place on earth: Maui. Unfortunately, we learned that it’s possible to be rude even in paradise; someone side swiped our rental in the parking lot of a restaurant before driving away.
Metromile customer or not, here’s what you should do if you get into an accident in a rental car:
Step 1: Keep your cool. Make sure your car is fully stopped before exiting the vehicle.
Step 2: Check-in with your passengers and the parties in the other car. If anyone needs medical attention, dial 911 immediately. Then, move your car out of the flow of traffic (as best you can).
Step 3: Report the accident to the police. This step is critical, especially in the case of a hit-and-run.
Step 4: While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, do not admit guilt or apologize (an apology can be considered an admission of guilt in some circumstances).
Step 5: Document the scene with photos and videos. Snap pictures of both cars, the driver, signs, lights, lane markings, skid marks, road construction, etc.
Step 6: Obtain a police report. Having a police report can help expedite an insurance payout.
Step 7: Contact the rental car company and ask how you should proceed. If you purchased rental insurance, they will explain the next steps.
Step 8: File a claim with your personal insurance company.
If you’re a Metromile customer, you’re in especially good hands — our agents are here to help and our claims team is lightning fast. But if not, knowing the steps to follow in the event of an accident in a rental car is beneficial. Don’t let it ruin your vacation!
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Julianne Sawyer is a freelance writer, app producer, and real-life Metromile customer living in the San Francisco Bay Area.