Blog Header Image

What To Do If Your Rental Car Breaks Down

Help! My Rental Car Broke Down

Did you know over 69 million car breakdowns happen each year in the United States?

A rental car breakdown is a nerve-wracking experience you never want to undergo during a vacation.

No doubt, rental cars offer flexibility, comfort, and safety during vacation journeys. But, these claims are valid only when you rent a car from a reliable car rental company that offers a fleet of high-quality and well-maintained premium vehicles.

However, breakdowns can also happen with new and well-maintained cars due to several factors, including poor road conditions, inappropriate weather, accidents, and more.

If you don’t know how to deal with rental car breakdowns, you may end up losing peace of mind during your vacation.

This guide helps you understand everything you need to know about rental car breakdowns.

What to Do If Your Rental Car Breaks Down

Don’t Panic!

If you panic and undergo stress, you may make hasty decisions that could lead to inconvenient and frightening consequences. Instead, follow the below provided simple procedure that helps you quickly fix the car and ensures your vacation journey unfolds as planned.

Pull Over Safely

If your vehicle breaks down in the middle of the highway, make sure to pull it over to the right side of the road and turn on flashes. Unable to move the car from where it stopped? Consider calling the police department for help. 

Upon pulling over the car to the right side, try to determine the source of the issue. If the issue is an empty gas tank, flat tire, or dead battery, you can likely fix it on your own without visiting the repair shop. 

Call for Assistance

If you cannot identify the source of the issue or the issue identified is too complex to resolve on your own, you can call for assistance. You may like to call your rental agency to seek their help fixing the issue. In most cases, rental agreements clearly state that the traveler is legally required to report any breakdowns to the rental agency regardless of who’s at fault. The car rental agency will be able to send roadside assistance to fix the issue.

If you are a member of associations such as AAA, USAA, or AARP, you may like to seek help from them.  For instance, AAA offers 24/7 roadside assistance from coast to coast. No matter if you want to repair the car, receive roadside assistance, or replace a dead battery, an AAA tow truck will arrive at your spot as fast as 35 minutes to one hour.

Many credit cards, including Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, and many others, will offer free roadside assistance to their customers. Check whether the credit card you used to reserve the car covers roadside assistance or not.

Get Your Rental Repaired

Seek the right help at the right time to get your rental repaired quickly and continue with your vacation plans. If the mechanic tells you that the repair work takes time, you may ask the rental agency to arrange an alternate vehicle.

How To Pay for Rental Repairs

There are various ways to pay for rental repairs. They may include filing a claim with the rental company, paying out-of-pocket, and taking additional insurance coverage.

Let’s dive deeper into which method is appropriate at what time below:

File a Claim with the Rental Company

The rental agency is responsible for repairs if the breakdown is caused due to mechanical failure or a troubled engine. You may need to call the rental agency to explain the reason for the breakdown and check if it will cover the costs.

Typically, rental agreements state that the renter is responsible for the damages caused by him or her. So you may need to prove that you are not responsible for the breakdown. For instance, if the battery is dead because you left out the light on in the car for a whole night, the rental company may not compensate for it. However, you can claim compensation from the rental company if the battery is dead because it is old and outdated. 

Regardless of who’s at fault, save all repair receipts related to mechanical issues such as engine troubles, squeaky brakes, and everyday wear and tear so that you can claim a reimbursement from the rental company.

Consider Additional Car Insurance Coverage

Typically, your rental car company includes the liability insurance and loss damage waiver in the basic rental cost. However, it covers the costs up to a certain limit.

Let’s take an example to get a better understanding of this:

In most cases, the rental contract carries a limited liability clause which states that the basic rental cost includes the liability insurance and collision damage waiver (CDW) with coverage of up to $20,000.

  • If repair costs are $30,000, your rental company will pay $20,000, and you will pay $10,000 out of your pocket.

  • If repair costs are $15,000, your rental company will cover everything, and you will pay nothing out of your pocket.

You may want to speak with the rental company to get a fair idea about how much auto insurance coverage it is offering and what additional coverage you need to purchase.

 You may seek answers to the following questions from the customer service team of your rental company:

  • How much rental car coverage is it providing at the basic rental cost?

  • What components are included?

  • Does it include personal liability and CDW?

  • How about supplementary liability insurance and personal effects insurance?

If you think the rental company’s car insurance cover is not sufficient, you should consider taking additional insurance coverage. Typically, the full coverage car insurance policy will cost you between $31 and $60 per day, depending on the vehicle class, pick-up location, and vehicle age.

If you have booked the car rental with a credit card, you may already have collision coverage offered by the credit card company. For instance, many credit card companies, including Chase and Capital One, are offering collision coverage of up to $75,000 or the cash value of the car.

Cover Costs Out-of-Pocket

You may need to cover costs out-of-pocket if the breakdown is caused by you. Let’s look at a couple of examples where you need to pay out of pocket:

  • If your rental vehicle meets with an accident due to your negligent behavior such as signal jumping or overspeeding

  • If your rental car is clamped or impounded due to illegal parking

There are always some exclusions and limited liability clauses related to claims from the rental agency and insurance company. So you should prepare to pay for a few out-of-pocket costs regardless of how the breakdown happened.

Receive High-Quality Vehicles with AVR

Choosing a reliable car rental service provider can vanish half of your worries related to car breakdowns. If your vehicle breaks down during the vacation, pull it over safely and call for assistance from your rental agency. You can also seek help from associations such as AAA or AARP, as they offer 24/7 roadside assistance.

Airport Van Rental (AVR) is a family-owned van rental service business with a fleet of high-quality SUVs, minivans, and passenger vans. With a network of over a dozen rental locations, we provide roadside assistance to all of our customers at any time and anywhere in the country.

Book a high-quality rental van from AVR to avoid the worries of vehicle breakdowns!

AVR Van Rental

Book with confidence, we have your back.

Follow Us On
media icon
media icon
media icon
Mobile App

Rent Anywhere, Anytime

Contactless Rental

24/7 Pickup & Returns

Leading Cleaning Services

Get the AVR App