If your car breaks down, react.

From time to time rental cars break down, even though car-rental companies generally keep their vehicles in a safe and functional condition.If this happens to you, the first thing you should do is make sure you and your passengers are safe.To determine the cause of the breakdown, you will need to inspect the car and call your insurance company and rental-car company, as well as the best course of action.Depending on the location of the car, you may need to call a taxi or find another mode of transportation.

Step 1: Move out of traffic.

You should never panic if your rental car breaks down in a parking lot or on the freeway.Keep a level head and always stay calm.If you are driving, take the car to the side of the road and stop it.If you have flares or reflective devices on your car, put them on the side of the highway so that oncoming traffic can’t see them.Don’t try to drive the car further after a breakdown.Doing so could endanger you and your passengers.

Step 2: If necessary, call for help.

If your broken-down rental car was involved in an accident, or if the car breaks down at night, you may need to call for help.Depending on the severity of the incident, you can use your cell phone to call the police or your insurance company.If the car breaks down in a populated area and no one is injured, you may not need to call the police.If you need to call a tow truck, first call your car-rental company.

Step 3: Take the vehicle for a checkup.

If you can safely exit the rental car and stand in a location where you won’t be hit by passing vehicles, then you should do so.To determine where the breakdown occurred, inspect the car.If the failure was mechanical, you will need to convince the rental car company that you are not responsible for the damage to the car.If the damage is visible, use your phone camera to take pictures.You will need to pay for damages if you were at fault for the breakdown.

Step 4: You should read through your rental agreement.

The document that you signed before you drove the rental car off the lot should have clauses that describe who will be at fault for various types of damages to the vehicle.If you know how the car broke down, you should check the agreement to see if you have to pay for repairs.If you were at fault, you shouldn’t have to pay.When renting a car, plan ahead and always read through the rental agreement.Smaller rental agencies may sneak in clauses that hold you responsible for all damages.

Step 5: Ask the rental company for transportation.

It is the responsibility of the rental company to tow the broken down rental car and to replace it, so you still have a functional car to drive.Some companies may disagree with this policy.Inform the company immediately: explain the incident, state where and how the car broke down, and ask for a replacement vehicle.When you call, say something like, “I rented a car from your agency two days ago, and the vehicle just broke down on the side of I-70, by mile marker 400.”If your car breaks down in the same city as the rental agency’s offices, it may be easier to arrange transportation.A rental car is broken down at a gas station.The rental agreement will usually specify that you must call the company immediately in the case of a breakdown, and follow this guidance.

Step 6: All repairs should be kept in notes and receipts.

The towing service and repairs may be included in the rental car company’s contract.When you return the car, the company should reimburse you for the repair fees.Take notes on what the mechanics did and keep the receipts for the work done to the vehicle.The breakdown is not serious.You should notify the rental company if the air conditioning doesn’t work.It is less likely that the company will hold you financially responsible if they know about the problem sooner.

Step 7: After the breakdown, call your insurance company.

You need to call your own insurance company once you communicate with the rental company.Explain the circumstances of the breakdown and describe the problem with the rental car.Damages and repairs will be covered by your insurance if you clarify whether or not you are at fault for the breakdown.When you call your insurance company, state that you are driving a rental car in Florida and it broke down on the side of the road.I did nothing to cause the engine to stop running.If the breakdown-related damages are not your fault and the rental agreement states that the company will pay, your insurance company may not need to get involved.If the rental company tries to make you pay for damages that are not your fault, it is best to contact the insurance company.

Step 8: Before you rent a car, talk to your insurance company.

Before you travel, you should know what your insurance company provides.If you get into an accident in your rental car, your insurance will likely only cover the damages to the other vehicle, leaving you responsible to pay for the damage to your car.Explain that you are going to be renting a car in Alabama.Does my car insurance cover my own vehicle in the event of a breakdown or if I get into an accident while on CarRentals?For example, repair and towing costs, ask if your insurance will cover them.

Step 9: When renting a car, you should purchase renter’s insurance.

If your insurance company doesn’t cover damages to rental cars, you can purchase rental insurance from the rental company to make up for it.If you are at fault for damages to the vehicle, you can get a liability waiver from the rental company.