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How to handle an accident in a hire car

Hiring a car on holiday provides plenty of flexibility for your trip, but what happens if you face the unfortunate situation of something going wrong?

Even if you’re not at fault for an accident, it’s still important to know how to act and who to contact.

Of course, most trips are stress-free from start to finish, but if you are involved in a collision or another emergency, the safety of both you and your passengers is paramount.

Safety first

Depending on the seriousness of the accident, you and others may be able to walk away unscathed. Regardless of whether this is the case, you should check the safety of everyone involved as quickly as possible.

Those in serious pain should not be moved – for risk of worsening any injuries – and you should get away from the road to a safe location, while it’s imperative you remain calm.

Contact the emergency services

Write any emergency numbers down before travelling and save them on your phone too. Following an accident, you should contact the police from a safe location. In Europe, this can be done by dialling 112 from any mobile or landline.

Note that in certain countries – including Germany it is a legal requirement to contact the police, regardless of whether emergency assistance is needed.

Your car hire policy should detail any requirements and be sure to request a police report, as this will be required by your insurer.

Get the essential details

Following an accident, you should get the details of any other drivers and people involved, as well as any potential witnesses. Should you hit a parked car for example, when the other driver is not present, you should still look for witnesses.

Your mobile phone can be incredibly useful at this point, as you should document the scene and take as many pictures of the vehicle as possible.

You should also note down the date and time of the accident and details of the vehicles involved, such as the registration, colour, make and model.

Write down any damage to the vehicles and to any surrounding property, as well as any notes on any injuries suffered at the scene.

Should you be involved in an accident in the EU with a third party, you’ll get presented with a European Accident Statement form to fill in too – this should include all of the essential details.

Speak with the car hire firm

Finally, you’ll need to speak to your car hire firm as they should deal with any recovery companies and insurers on your behalf.

Notify them at the first opportunity and do not agree to any liability at the scene, prior to the car hire firm making a decision on who is responsible.

Could car hire excess insurance help?

Should you be involved in an accident or your hire car be damaged in another way, the hire company will likely charge you for repairs in the form of an excess, which could total hundreds or even thousands of pounds.

You can cover this excess figure using a car hire excess insurance policy. Note that while you would still need to pay the excess in the event of a claim, you can then claim the finances back using your policy.

Date Created: 03/07/2019

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