A breakdown or accident is never great. But in a different country and when it’s not your car, it can be even more stressful. In this post, you’ll find our guide on what to do in case of car hire breakdown or accident. 

Hopefully, you won’t ever need it but just in case…

What to do in case of car hire breakdown or accident

1. Safety first

First of all, try and keep calm. The main priority is to get yourself and others out of harm’s way. If it’s safe to do so, move the car to the roadside and switch on the hazard lights. If the car has safety equipment such as a high-vis jacket or safety triangle, use them if appropriate. For instance, if you haven’t been able to move the car from the road, you should place the safety triangle about 50 metres behind the car so traffic behind is well aware of the hazard ahead.

2. Call the police or emergency services if necessary

If you’ve had accident such as a collision with another car or property, you should call the police within 24 hours and ask for a written report. You should also call the police if the car, car keys or any of your possessions inside the car have been stolen. In any of these circumstances, the supplier usually requires a police report for the insurance. And if you have separate insurance such as excess insurance, your insurance company will also require a police report.

If it’s a minor accident and no-one has been injured, you can reach the local police in Spain by calling 092.

Of course, if you or someone else has been injured, you should call the emergency services. You should also call the emergency services if it’s a serious accident that could potentially cause injury. In Spain or any other EU country, you can call the emergency services on 112. The service is free on any mobile or landline. And if you’re not sure which of the two numbers to call, call 112.

3. Call the breakdown assistance number

All suppliers have a standard breakdown assistance service, which you should call.  You can find the breakdown assistance number in the paperwork you were given with the car rental agreement. You’ll need to give them the details of the breakdown or accident. If you need a replacement car, you should request one. They will organise this for you as well as a tow truck if needed. They will also advise you on what you should do next.

You shouldn’t arrange a tow truck or any repairs yourself as there is no guarantee that you will be reimbursed for it by the supplier.

4. Take photos

If you can, it’s sensible to take photos of the car so you have evidence of the condition of the car. This includes taking pictures of the petrol gauge and mileage.

5. If you’ve got additional insurance, call your insurance provider

Car rentals are covered by all the legally required insurances, which generally covers loss or damage from a collision. However, there is usually an excess amount for which the renter is liable for. That is the case unless you have bought additional insurance to cover the excess.

If you bought additional insurance from the supplier, check your agreement for what you should do. And if you bought additional insurance from a separate provider, call the relevant number in your policy to notify them of the breakdown or accident. Do also check the details of what their cover includes. Remember that at the end of your rental period and once the supplier has worked out the cost from any damage/loss, your credit card will be charged. When they do, make sure you ask for receipts of all the repairs and a full report. You will need to supply this information to your insurance provider so you can be reimbursed.

Do also read our guide to making a claim on excess insurance.

More car hire guides