Here are five important steps to take in the event of an auto accident.

Rental Car Crash
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Nothing can ruin your day more than having a fender bender with your rental vehicle. The first thing to do: call 911 immediately to report any injuries and request police assistance. If an ambulance is needed, tell the emergency operator.

Remember to ask the other driver if they’re O.K. It’s important to stay as calm as possible, no matter who is at fault. And remember, accidents happen. Here are five steps to help make the follow-up insurance claims process as painless as possible.

Request an Accident Report

Whether the damage is extensive or as small as a dent, it is important to call the police and report the incident. “Be sure to obtain the officer’s name, badge/ID number, investigating department, phone number, and the case number assigned to the accident,” says Karen Drake, Director of External Communications at Hertz.

Document the Damage

When it comes to any accident, the more documentation the better. Take photos, ask for the other driver’s contact information and insurance details, and write down a description, including the date, time, and location of the incident. All of this will be helpful when filing a claim with your rental company.

Ask for Assistance

Most rental companies have 24-hour emergency roadside service. If the damage is significant, call the hotline. The company can arrange a tow truck and provide you with a replacement vehicle.

File a Report

Make sure to fill out an incident report with the rental company—most can be done online. It’s typical for agencies to
ask that you file it within 24 to 48 hours of an accident. Be prepared to answer questions regarding injuries and damage.

Contact Your Insurance Provider

If you declined the rental company’s optional coverage, contact your personal insurance provider to file a claim. The process will likely be the same as if you were driving your own car.