Who is Responsible if a Rental Car Breaks Down?

Who is Responsible if a Rental Car Breaks Down?
Author: Joy Aliyu
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How do you navigate the responsibilities when a rental car breaks down?

We are here to explore the key points to help you understand who is responsible for what in such situations.

This guide will walk you through the steps from reporting and assistance to insurance coverage and other unusual circumstances.

Read on to get the details and prepare yourself for such situations.

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Key Takeaways

  • Regardless of fault, reporting breakdowns or accidents to the rental company is essential, especially if additional rental car protection was purchased.
  • The rental company usually offers a free replacement vehicle
  •  if the breakdown is not the renter’s fault.
  • For a non-drivable rental car due to mechanical failure, prioritize personal safety by moving to a safe location off the road.
  • The rental company’s generally responsible for towing the broken-down car and providing a replacement, ensuring the renter still has a functioning vehicle.
  • Insurance coverage plays a crucial role. Damage and collision coverage from the rental company or independent insurance will protect against potential costs.

Reporting and Assistance

The first thing to do when a rental car breaks down is to report breakdowns or accidents. This ensures compliance with the rental agreement and helps facilitate the resolution process.

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Additionally, if you purchased a rental car protection plan, it is essential to understand its implications in such situations.

These plans often provide additional coverage and services, including roadside assistance.

How to contact the rental company?

In case of a breakdown, contacting the rental company is vital.

They usually have a dedicated roadside assistance service to provide prompt support.

If the breakdown is not your fault, the rental company will likely offer a solution, such as swapping you into a new rental vehicle free of charge.

It is advisable to contact the rental company in advance and make necessary arrangements to ensure a seamless transition.

It is good to understand your legal obligations and rental contract terms.

Also, if you adhere strictly to your legal obligations, you can navigate a breakdown situation effectively.

Remember, the tone of empathy and motivation from the text examples encourages you to take proactive steps and remain optimistic throughout the process.

Dealing with a Non-Drivable Rental Car

When faced with a non-drivable rental car, you should find a safe place out of traffic.

Look for a secure location away from oncoming vehicles, such as a parking lot, shoulder, or designated safe zone.

Also, prioritize personal safety, such as turning on hazard lights to alert other drivers and passengers of the situation.

When the rental car is not drivable due to a mechanical failure, follow these two steps:

  • Call the rental company’s roadside assistance immediately and provide them with all the necessary details about the breakdown. Be prepared to give the exact location, description of the issue, and any relevant rental information.
  • Expect the rental company to arrange towing services to transport the non-drivable car. They should also provide a replacement vehicle to ensure you can continue your journey without further inconvenience.
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Remember, maintaining clear communication with the rental company and adhering to their instructions is crucial during this process.

Insurance Coverage

There are two main coverage options. These include:

1. Rental company’s damage and collision coverage

When renting a car, the company may offer insurance coverage for damages and collisions. This coverage can provide financial protection in case of accidents or damage to the rental car.

2. Independent insurance coverage

Alternatively, you may have independent insurance coverage through your auto or a separate rental car insurance policy. This coverage can offer additional protection beyond what the rental company provides.

But you can file a claim or pay out of pocket when you don’t have insurance coverage.

You may be personally liable for the costs of repairs or damages. This can result in significant financial burdens and potential legal consequences.

Remember, having appropriate insurance coverage can help protect you from unexpected expenses and provide peace of mind during your car rental experience.

Unusual Circumstances and Manufacturer’s Warranty

Rental companies generally have specific responsibilities regarding unusual circumstances and the manufacturer’s warranty.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Coverage under the Manufacturer’s Warranty

The rental company takes responsibility when a rental car experiences a breakdown or any issues covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.

This means you can rely on the rental company to address the problem and provide necessary repairs or replacements.

It’s essential to understand the terms and conditions of the manufacturer’s warranty to ensure proper coverage and avoid any potential misunderstandings.

2. Potential Costs for the Renter

However, while the rental company is responsible for addressing issues covered by the warranty, there might be certain costs that the renter could be held accountable for.

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These costs could include deductible fees, expenses for damages not covered by the warranty, or any additional charges specified in the rental agreement.

Reviewing the rental terms and conditions thoroughly to understand the potential financial implications in such unusual circumstances is essential.


In conclusion, understanding who is responsible in the event of a rental car breakdown is crucial for every renter.

You can confidently navigate such situations by adhering to the guidelines discussed throughout this article.

Remember to report any incidents to the rental company and utilize roadside assistance when necessary.

Additionally, ensure you have the appropriate insurance coverage to avoid unexpected expenses.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if my rental car breaks down?

Report the breakdown to the rental company and contact their roadside assistance for support.

Who is responsible for a rental car breakdown?

The rental company is generally responsible for towing the car and providing a replacement.

Will I be charged for a breakdown that isn’t my fault?

The rental company will likely offer a free replacement vehicle if the breakdown is not your fault.

What if I don’t have insurance coverage?

With coverage, you may be able to file a claim with your insurance or be responsible for repair costs.

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