We’re committed to our readers and editorial independence. We don’t compare all products in the market and may receive compensation when we refer you to our partners, but this does not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn more about Finder.
Step 1: Determine whether you need emergency services
If someone is seriously injured you should call an ambulance immediately.
You should also call the police if:
- Someone is trapped.
- A car is blocking the road and police need to direct traffic.
- Any of the drivers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or refuse to provide their details.
Step 2: Assess whether you can move the car
If it’s safe and possible to do so, move the car off the road and out of harm’s way.
Step 3: Record the information
Take the other driver’s name, address, contact number and insurance details, and provide yours as applicable.
If possible you should also get the contact details of any witnesses to the accident.
Record the accident in as much detail as you are able, including the time and place, the damage caused and anything else that’s relevant.
It’s also a good idea to take photos of the damage and accident scene.
Step 4: Contact the rental car company
Call the rental car company and let it know what happened. Typically it should be able to let you know what the next steps are.
Depending on the situation and crash severity this might be waiting for a tow truck, driving the car somewhere nearby for emergency repairs, or waiting for a company representative to come to the accident site.
How can I avoid paying the rental car excess?
To help protect yourself from a rental car excess, you have rental car excess insurance. This is exactly what it sounds like. If you’re renting a car, and can’t afford to run the risk of paying thousands of dollars in the event of an accident, then it might be worth considering.
Protect you and your rental car. Compare car rental excess insurance
|Name||International or domestic cover||Eligible driver age||Features||Starting price (per day)||Apply|
|Both||19–99 years||$9.48||Get quote|
|Both||21–71 years||$9.30||Get quote|
|Both||21–71 years||$5.68 (with a $300 excess payable)||Get quote|
*Always read through the product disclosure statement (PDS) to make sure the product is suitable for you.
Who pays for the damage?
Typically, the rental company’s insurance will cover the damage to the car, but you will need to pay the “rental car excess”. This is the amount you need to put towards repairs in the event of an accident. It will typically be a sizable amount, running into thousands of dollars.
Your rental car excess should be mentioned in your rental agreement.
What if the excess is less than the cost of the damage?
The excess is the maximum you should be paying, regardless of how much damage there was to the vehicle.
What if the excess is more than the cost of the damage?
If the car’s damage costs less than your rental car excess, you may still need to pay the full amount. Typically, you will be able to get the extra amount refunded.
For example, if your excess is $2,000 and the damage costs $500 to repair, you will pay the full $2,000, and then get $500 refunded later.
You may need to actively seek a refund. If you’re not refunded as due, then you may be able to seek a chargeback from your bank or credit card provider.
What if I’m paying too much, or the rental company isn’t refunding the excess?
For example, if you’re paying several thousand dollars in a rental car excess for a small amount of damage, or the rental company refuses to reimburse your remainder.
It depends on the situation, but the best course of action might be to get your own quotes for the repairs, for a sense of whether or not you might be getting cheated, or get charges reversed by your bank.
More guides on Finder
1 in 6 drivers have lied on their car insurance application
Thousands of Australians are at risk of having their car insurance claims rejected, according to new research by Finder, Australia’s most visited comparison site.
Finder car insurance rating
Want to know how we ranked our car insurers? Check out our methodology here.
Coronavirus landlord support
Your guide to coronavirus support and relief options for landlords and property investors.
Travelling during coronavirus? Here’s what you need to know [Updated]
Your options for travel explained.
Safeguarding your credit score during the coronavirus outbreak
Answers to questions about how Coronavirus-related events could affect your credit score and how to protect it.
Coronavirus: Where to get mental health support
Here's how you can get online and over-the-phone mental health support and still be covered by Medicare and private health insurance.
16 airlines and sites where you can book flexible flight tickets on new bookings
Have to cancel a flight? These airlines are offering you flexibility when you need it most.
Coronavirus: How to manage your credit card
Learn about coronavirus financial support options, complimentary insurance and other credit card details you may be wondering about.
Reading your energy meter during coronavirus
You might need to get your meter read if you're switching or leaving an energy contract.
Tigerair suspends all domestic flights
Learn what your options are if you were booked on a trip with Tigerair on or from 25 March 2020.
Ask an Expert