Although it’s rare, people do occasionally have problems with their hire cars – either accidents/collisions, or even more rarely, a breakdown.
If this happens to you, the important thing is to stay calm and follow the right procedure. Failure to do this can cost dearly – but if you do things right, your car hire company will normally help you sort things out.
What should I do if I have an accident?
If any other vehicle is involved (even if the damage is slight and no one is hurt), follow this procedure unless advised otherwise by your hire company:
Call the local police to report the accident – make sure you get some kind of incident/crime reference number
DO NOT admit liability – even if it was your fault
Try to get the name, address, telephone number and vehicle registration number of all other drivers involved
Call the hire company’s emergency assistance number – if the vehicle is still driveable, they will probably advise you to continue to the nearest hire office, where you vehicle will be replaced. If the vehicle is not driveable, your hire company will arrange its recovery for you.
All hire companies should provide an emergency assistance contact number – perhaps on the back of the tax disc holder or in the hire documentation. Ask when you pick up your vehicle if you are not sure.
Don’t try and get your car repaired without prior approval from your hire company – they will probably refuse to pay the bills.
What should I do if I break down?
Hire car breakdowns are extremely rare, as hire cars are usually under one year old.
Breakdown Assistance is normally included with all rental cars. You should be given a telephone number to ring in the event of a breakdown – if it happens, just call the number and follow their instructions.
It may also be wise to report the breakdown to the hire company directly.