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What should I do if I have an accident or breakdown in my rental vehicle?


Have you considered what you’d do if you had an accident or a breakdown in your rental vehicle? Whilst none of us like to prepare for the worst, it is a very sensible thing to do. If you’re hiring a car for a holiday, planning ahead for all eventualities is a great way to reduce stress and so disconnect and enjoy our holiday more.

But people don’t just rent cars for holidays. If we’re renting a car for business or a van for moving, it’s just as important to know the steps to go through if we breakdown or have an accident. Imagine, for example, losing valuable time searching through the internet or rental manuals when a simple phone call was all that was necessary?

So, what should we do if we have an accident or breakdown in our rental vehicle?

Accidents in rental vehicles

Accidents in rental vehicles are no different to accidents in your own vehicle – first and foremost is the safety of yourself and any passengers.  Thereafter, you will need to act fast to stop a bad situation from getting any worse.

·         stop the vehicle as safely and quickly as possible

·         turn off the engine

·         turn on the hazard warning lights to warn other drivers

·         check for injuries and call an ambulance if you or anyone involved needs one

·         get everyone to safety

·         call the police if the vehicle is blocking the road or you suspect foul play

·         get the details of the other drivers and vehicles

·         if no-one else is around, for example you hit a parked car, then leave your details at the scene, under the windscreen wiper

Nowadays, almost everyone has a smart phone, so getting some photos is advisable; not only can these be used as evidence, it will help you to remember important details.

The rental company should be told immediately or at the first opportunity if the accident occurs outside of the branch opening hours.  Even if no-one is injured, you are obliged to inform the police of your involvement in an accident within 24 hours.

If the vehicle is damaged by an unknown person, in a hit-and-run incident or dented in a supermarket car park, then again be sure to let the police and the rental company know as soon as possible within 24 hours. Failure to do so could leave you liable for any damage.

Breakdowns in rental vehicles

If you are unlucky enough to have a breakdown while on the road, you will need to call roadside assistance. All rental vehicles will have breakdown cover included, whether this is supplied by the manufacturer as part of their first year warranty or a separate agreement with another company like the AA or RAC as arranged by the rental company.

This information will be given to you at the rental start, along with your other rental paperwork; make sure you are familiar with this so that in the unlikely event of a breakdown, you can be fully prepared.

We wish you safe and happy driving!


For more information, contact the friendly team at Mayday, today!