Accidents, bumps and collisions are unfortunately an everyday occurrence on Polish roads. What if a subscription car is wrecked?
This may be less of a problem than damaging your own car. For this to happen, however, the user’s rights should be properly secured in the long-term rental agreement.
Although a car on a subscription is a relatively new service, its popularity is growing rapidly on the Polish market. One of the most important questions asked by persons interested in long-term rental is about breaking down a car. What happens if a subscription car is involved in an accident? What costs can the renting company impose on me?
Read the agreement!
You have to read the rental agreement and terms of service carefully. Issues of responsibility of both the renting company and the user in case of vehicle damage should be precisely described there. It is also worth reading the General Insurance Terms and Conditions of the vehicle, which may also contain important information on what to do in an emergency situation.
Limit of liability
The basic protection of the lessee, which at the same time defines the limit of his/her financial liability in case of damage to a subscription car, is the so-called deductible.
Such a deductible is needed so that the user feels obliged to take care of the car as if it were his own, e.g. be vigilant when parking. However, the amount should be small enough so that it is not a significant burden in the event of serious damage to your car.
Whose fault is it?
Defining the deductible gives us the comfort that regardless of the scale of damage to the subscription car, our liability will not be higher than the mentioned amount, even if the car is sent to be wrecked. The amount of deductible should not depend on whether the accident was our fault or not. This means that we may even feel safer renting a car than if we damage our own car, when there is often a dilemma whether to finance the repair with AC or rather cover it from our own pocket so as not to lose discounts.
Deductible to be reimbursed
Apart from the deductible issues, you also need to check if and how the proposed lease agreement specifies the deductible issues. Some people decide to put down a certain amount of money, e.g. 10% of the vehicle’s value, even when leasing a car. It is worth checking what happens to that amount in case the car is completely destroyed and it is necessary to terminate the rental agreement prematurely. A provision in the agreement that protects the interests of the car user is one in which the own contribution is settled proportionally to the number of months and returned to the lessee for the unused period. It is worth mentioning that the insurer, not the renting company, decides about the total loss.
Apart from the issues related to our liability in case of damage to a subscription car, the way we handle an emergency situation is also important. The idea of car subscriptions boils down to the fact that, as a user, we are not supposed to worry about anything, which means mainly about such issues as repairing or towing a damaged vehicle. The rental company should provide 24-hour assistance, where the user reports the damage that has occurred, and all the activities related to arranging a visit to the nearest garage or towing the vehicle are taken care of by the operator. These are not matters that should be handled personally by the vehicle user.
Remember to call the police
A certain inconvenience connected with the use of a subscription car is the necessity of calling the police at the scene of an accident, even a simple fender-bender, which in case of your own car would be settled by a statement to cover the repair costs from the perpetrator’s liability insurance. Such a requirement is imposed on rental companies by insurers, in order to get more control over cars that are not owned by users.
Necessary substitute car
Before signing the agreement you should check what rights you have with regard to using a replacement car. It should be the rental company’s obligation to provide a replacement car, regardless of whether the collision was your fault or not.