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What to Do in a Rental Car Accident

Rental car accident

At VroomVroomVroom, we understand that accidents can happen. That said, if one should occur whilst you’re driving a rental car, It’s important you know exactly what to do.

What to Do if You’re Involved in a Car Accident

  • Check that everyone involved is safe: The first and most important step is to check if anyone has been injured as a result of the accident. If other cars or pedestrians have been impacted, check the welfare of all involved.
  • Call emergency services if anyone is hurt: Where the accident results in injury or death—or if the accident has occurred due to criminal behaviour (including where drugs and alcohol are involved or the other party drives away from the accident scene)—call the Police and Emergency Services. In New Zealand, the Emergency Hotline is 111. Do not leave the site of the accident until the police have arrived and a statement has been made.
  • Call your rental provider: It’s important you don’t leave the site of the accident until you have spoken to your rental provider. They will need you to complete an Accident Report Form with details of what happened and where the incident occurred, and should a tow truck be required, they may need to grant authorisation for this.
  • Secure the rental car: Where practical, move the rental car out of the path of other traffic, and take photos of the damage and the accident site for your personal records.
  • Damage assessment and repair: At the time of the accident—or when you return the rental car to the depot, whichever occurs sooner—the rental provider will inspect the damage to the rental car and will calculate the cost to repair the vehicle. It may take a few days for this process to be completed.
  • Lodge a claim with your insurer: If you purchased rental vehicle excess insurance, you will be able to lodge a claim with your insurer to obtain reimbursement for your out of pocket expense. Commonly, the insurer will require a completed copy of their claim form, a copy of the vehicle damage report, and a copy of the receipt from your rental provider that outlines any repair costs you paid.

Roadside Assistance

Most rental providers offer some form of roadside assistance. You'll find all the relevant contact numbers in your rental agreement, but keep in mind that non-mechanical incidents may not be covered under basic roadside assistance, such as:

  • Keys lost or locked in car
  • Flat battery
  • Empty fuel tank

Some rental providers offer additional roadside assistance packages that provide a greater level of cover. You’ll need to check the terms and conditions of your rental agreement to find out exactly what you’re covered for.

Financial Liability

When you rent a car in New Zealand, you will have the option to purchase insurance that will reduce your financial liability. The car rental company will have its own protection products available at the counter. Alternatively, if you have travel insurance, there may be cover for rental cars under your policy.

If you’re an Australian resident travelling to New Zealand, you also have the option of purchasing our insurance product for any excess amounts you may have to pay in the event your rental car is damaged or stolen.

Read more about driving a rental car in New Zealand.


If You Need Roadside Assistance

Check your rental agreement to find contact information for roadside assistance. You can also ask your rental provider for more information when you pick up your vehicle. Remember, there are some things that may not be included under the basic roadside assistance plans.