What to do if your Rental Car Breaks down


Mostly the companies of car rental keep their cars in a stable and functional condition, but there is always a possibility of the car break down. If this happens to you, your first priority should be to make sure your own safety, and the safety of others who travels with you. Then there will need to examine or inspect the car to find out the cause of the breakdown and also to call both your Rental Company and insurance company to determine liability and the best course of action. It depends on the location when a car breaks down, you may need to call a taxi or find any other source of transportation.

Here we are going to give some suggestions if your Rental car breaks down:

1: Keep calm and move out of traffic

If your rental car breaks down suddenly in a parking lot or while driving down the freeway, you should not panic. Always keep calm, and keep a level head. If you’re driving, steer the car to the side of the road and bring the vehicle to a complete stop.

If your rental car has roadside safety devices, like reflective or flares devices, set these up on the side of the road so that coming traffic can avoid your car.

Try to avoid the driving after breakdown as more driving in broken condition can definitely damage the car severely so don’t take any risk for your safety and others who are traveling with you.

2: Call for help

In case your broken-down rental car gets involved in an accident case or if you are in an unsecured or unsafe area, or if the car breaks down at night, definitely you will need to call for help. Once you’re safely out of traffic, you should use your cell phone to call traffic police helpline number, or your insurance company’s roadside assistance phone number, it depends on the situation or severity of the incident.

If the car breaks down on a safe area and every one is safe during the incident, you may not need to call the police. In a safe condition, there will need to call your car-rental company, and then call a tow truck if it is necessary.

3: Examine or inspect the Car

If you can safely exit the rental car and can stand in an area where there is no chance to hit by passing traffic and it is not in the middle of the road, inspect the car to know where the breakdown happened. If the cause of break down is mechanical, you’ll need to inform the rental car company that it is not your fault so you are not responsible to pay any fine or extra charges.

You should capture the photo of the actual damage or broken parts (if it can be seen), by using your mobile phone and in case if it was your fault for the breakdown, because of any irresponsibility or wrong driving, you will have to pay for the damages.

4: Read your rental agreement first

The signed document that you signed before driving the rental car, which describes that who will be at fault for different types of damages to the car. If you know the actual cause of break down, there is need to check the agreement to know if you will be required to pay for parts and repairs unless you were directly at fault, you shouldn’t have to pay.

When renting a car, before signing the agreement, always read carefully all things. Well-known rental companies are generally trustworthy, but smaller companies might have some hidden charges which hold you responsible for all damages.

5: Contact the rental company to Replace the car

Mostly it’s the responsibility of the rental company to tow the broken-down rental car and to replace the car. While some companies may bicker over this policy. it is better to inform the company immediately and explain the incident, location of incident that where and how the car broke down, When you will inform to your car rental company about the incident and, say something like, “I rented a car from your company three days ago, and the vehicle just broke down and how should I have this car towed and exchange it for another?”

It will be easier to arrange transportation if your car broke down in the same city as the rental company’s offices. 

6: Keep all receipts from all repairs performed

It is also possible that the rental car company may ask you to pay for the towing service and repairs to the car this may even be determined in the contract. If so, the company should also refund you for the fee of repair when you return the car. It will be useful to take notes on what mechanics fixed, and save all receipts for maintenance.

If the breakdown is not serious like the air condition is not working you should notify the rental company immediately. To inform them soon is better to avoid any extra charges from the company.

7: Call your insurance company immediately after the breakdown

After the detailed conversation with the rental car company about the incident, you’ll need to talk to your own insurance company. Explain them about an incident of the breakdown and define the problem with the rental car. Better to tell them that it was your fault or not your fault for the breakdown, and ask if repairs or damages will be covered by your insurance.

If the breakdown-related damages are not your fault and the rental agreement describes that the rental company will pay, so there is no need to involve the insurance company. It will be better to contact the insurance company though, in case the rental company tries to make you pay for damages for which you were not at fault.

8:  Better to ask your insurance company about coverage before you rent a car

Before starting your journey, you should find out what type of rental-car coverage your insurance company provides. If you have a good vehicle insurance plan, if you get into an accident in your rental car, your insurance will likely only cover damages to the other vehicle, leaving you responsible to cover damages to the rental car. Also ask if your insurance will cover fees charged by the rental company, like repair and towing costs.

9:  Better to Purchase renter’s insurance when renting a car

If the insurance company is not providing the full coverage for damages to rental cars, as some rental car companies have the policy to cover the specific percentage of insurance if you are not at any fault, so it is recommended for you to buy full coverage of insurance from the rental car company before you begin driving the car, this will ensure any damages to the rental car for which you are responsible.

Some rental companies also sell a “liability waiver.” This will prevent you from liability and financial responsibility if you are at fault for damages to the vehicle.

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Syed Zain

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