What to Do if Your Hire Car Breaks Down
The last thing you want to deal with when you’re on a trip is your hire car breaking down. Not only is it annoying, but it can also be a danger to yourself and any passengers in the car. Hire cars should be serviced regularly so a breakdown is unlikely. However, it is still possible.
Our below guide can help you deal with your hire car breaking down in a safe manner and get you back on the road as soon as possible.
Get to Safety
The first and most important thing to do if your hire car breaks down is to get yourself and any passengers to safety. If the car is still able to move, you should get it to the hard shoulder or a layby. If these aren’t available, you should try to get the car as far off the road as possible.
Make sure to leave your wheels pointing away from the road – this way, if someone hits the back of your car, it will be less likely to jump into the road and cause an accident.
Put on your hazard lights and if you have a warning triangle, place it at least 50m behind your car. You should only use a warning triangle if it is safe to do so – avoid using it on a motorway as it will be too dangerous. If you have a reflective vest or jacket, you should wear it. Some countries have a legal requirement for what tools you will need to carry with you in the event of an emergency, like a vest or triangle.
You should make sure all passengers are out of the car and waiting away from the road. They should exit the vehicle from the doors that aren’t facing the road. If you think it’s safer to remain in the car, make sure everyone is wearing their seatbelts and the hazard lights are on.
Call for Help
Your hire company should have given you the contact details for roadside assistance in the event of a breakdown. Call them and tell them what the issue is and where your car is located. They’ll then be able to tell you what next steps to take.
If your car has broken down in a dangerous place, you will also need to call the local police to notify them. If you’re in a country in the European Union, you can call 112 and let them know where you are and how urgent the situation is – they’ll then be able to direct your call.
If you have a smartphone, there are a couple of ways you can automatically find the local emergency services. If you have an Android phone or older generation iPhone, open the phone app and find the button that says, ‘emergency call’. Tap it and it will call the emergency services. If you have a newer iPhone, press the sleep/wake button five times and it will automatically call the local emergency services.
Notify the Car Hire Company
You should notify the car hire company that your hire car has broken down. They’ll then be able to arrange alternative transport for you if your current hire car can’t be repaired in a timely manner.
Make sure to keep the receipts for all repairs and keep notes of what work has been done. Depending on the terms in your contract, you may have to pay for the work to be done and the hire company may reimburse you when you return the vehicle. As long as the breakdown was not directly caused by you, you should not be liable to pay for any of the damages.
If the breakdown was caused by your actions, you could have to pay for the repairs and the towing costs. Even if you have insurance, you could still have to pay a large excess fee. Direct Car Hire Excess offers excess car hire abroad so you won’t have to pay any costly excess fees if you break down. Our policies start at just 12p per day and even include towing costs. Get a quote or contact us to speak to an expert adviser about your car hire excess insurance needs.