Last Updated on August 15, 2022 by Michael

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If your rental car is stolen while in your possession, you could potentially get hit with a huge bill. Buying the rental car insurance over the counter may shield you from some of the monetary responsibility, but you still may be on the hook for some of the liability.

It’s vital that you act as soon as you discover the theft. Waiting could cost you more.

Of the more than 92,000 rental cars stolen in the United States between 2015 and 2018, the vast majority were not the fault of the renter. Here’s what to do if it happens to you.

5 Steps to Take if Your Rental Car is Stolen

Call the police

As soon as you realize the car has been stolen, report it. Explain that the car is a rental. If you have the rental contract available, or if you can access information about the car via an app, provide it to the police. Describe any personal possessions that you left in the car, such as a suitcase or electronic equipment.

All rental car companies require calling the police as the first step. Failure to promptly notify the police nullifies any coverage. Your instinct might be to call the rental car company first, but the rental car company will ask for the police report number. Some states require you to report that the vehicle has been stolen before they start a trace.

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Call the rental car company

Next, report the theft to the rental car company. Request the car’s license number and vehicle identification number (VIN), which you will need to fill out the police report.

When you call a rental car company’s toll-free number, you will likely have an option to select reporting loss or damage of the rental vehicle. Be sure to document the details of this conversation. Get the representative’s name, title, and phone number. Provide all information requested by the company.

Verify with the rental car company whether you opted for any coverage with your rental. The collision damage waiver (CDW) or loss damage waiver (LDW) will limit or eliminate your responsibility for loss and theft. Third-party liability or personal accident insurance won’t cover your rental car.

Ask for an incident report form

Regardless of whether you purchased protection from the rental car company, you’ll need to fill one out. The sooner you can provide this, along with the police report number, to the rental company, th