Roadside Realities A Guide to Handling Rental Car Accidents in Romania

Roadside Realities: A Guide to Handling Rental Car Accidents in Romania

Accidents can happen to even the most seasoned drivers, and it’s crucial to know how to handle such situations, particularly when driving a rental car. Even if you are an experienced driver, the risk of an accident remains high, especially in bad weather. 

For example, difficult curves and turns, as well as congestion, are among the primary factors contributing to accidents on DN17, a road that links the cities of Suceava and Cluj-Napoca. Having adequate knowledge and information before you rent a car Cluj Napoca can greatly enhance your readiness in any situation and reduce the consequences of a road accident.

No matter which city in Romania you’re renting a car in, it’s always important to be prepared and know what to do in case of an accident. 

Before you hit the road, take a moment to check out our comprehensive step-by-step guide below. It will give you all the information you need to handle any unexpected situations with confidence.

Learn About Romanian Traffic Laws

As a responsible driver, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the following key points to ensure both your safety and compliance with local regulations.

Driving License

Ensure that you have a valid international driving permit (IDP) in addition to your regular driver’s license. The IDP should be carried with your original license while driving in Romania.

Traffic Direction

Romanian drivers drive on the right side of the road. Pass on the left side of the road and be cautious at intersections, roundabouts, and pedestrian crossings.

Seat Belts and Child Restraints

All vehicle occupants must wear seat belts. Children under 12 and those under 1.35 metres (4′ 4″) in height must be secured in the proper child restraint systems.

Children can travel in the front seat starting at age 12 if they are taller than 1.50 cm and properly secured with safety systems. It is important to consider airbags, which are suitable for individuals weighing over 55-60 kg (12–130 lbs). If a child weighs less, it is recommended to deactivate the front airbag to prevent potential injury. 

When legally transporting children in the front seat, they should sit with their back against the seat and have the seatbelt properly fastened across their waist and chest, avoiding the neck area.

Speed Limits

Speed limits vary depending on the type of road and the area: 

  • In urban areas, the speed limit is usually 50 km/h (31 mph). 
  • On national roads, it ranges from 90 km/h (56 mph) to 100 km/h (62 mph).
  • And on highways, it is generally 130 km/h (80 mph).

Mobile Phones

It is illegal to use a handheld mobile phone while driving. Use a hands-free system or pull over to a safe location if you need to text, make a call, or adjust your driving destination.

Alcohol and Drugs

The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for drivers is 0.00%. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is strictly prohibited and can lead to severe penalties.

Traffic Signals and Signs

Obey traffic signals, signs, and road markings. Familiarize yourself with common traffic signs and their meanings to ensure safe and compliant driving.

By adhering to Romanian traffic laws, you ensure a safe and enjoyable driving experience for yourself and others. Responsible driving is not only a legal obligation but also a commitment to the well-being of all road users.

Once you are familiar with the traffic laws, you can proceed to the next steps in renting a car.

Understanding Insurance Coverage

When renting a car in Romania, it is critical to understand the insurance coverage provided by the rental company. Here are some examples of common types you may encounter:

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)

CDW is a basic insurance option that limits your financial liability for rental car damage. It typically comes with a deductible, which is the amount you must pay before the insurance coverage kicks in. CDW may not cover certain damages, such as tires, windows, or the undercarriage of the vehicle.

Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW)

In Romania, SCDW insurance provides better protection for rented vehicles by lowering or removing the renter’s financial liability in the event of accidents or damage.

Theft Protection (TP)

TP provides coverage in case the rental car is stolen. Similar to CDW, it usually includes a deductible. However, note that leaving the keys in an unattended vehicle may void the theft protection coverage.

Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)

PAI provides coverage for medical expenses and accidental death benefits for the driver and passengers in the rental car. However, if you already have personal health insurance or travel insurance with adequate coverage, you may not need PAI.

Keep in mind

It is critical to carefully read the terms and conditions of the rental company’s insurance coverage. Pay close attention to any coverage exclusions, deductibles, or additional fees. Consider contacting your own insurance provider to check if your personal auto insurance or credit card offers any rental car coverage in Romania.

In the event of an accident, notify the rental company and your insurance provider as soon as possible. 

Follow their claims procedure instructions and provide all required documentation, photos, and any other requested information. 

More on that later.

Immediate Actions at the Accident Scene

In the event of an accident in a rental car in Romania, it is important to take immediate action at the accident scene. 

Here are the key steps to follow:

  • Ensure safety: Move to a safe location away from traffic and turn on hazard lights.
  • Check for injuries: Assess if anyone requires immediate medical attention and call emergency services if necessary.
  • Contact the police: Report the accident to the local police and follow their instructions.
  • Document the accident: Take photos or videos of the vehicles, damages, and injuries. Gather relevant information from other parties involved and potential witnesses.
  • Contact the rental company: Inform the rental car company about the accident and follow their instructions.
  • Notify your insurance provider: Contact your insurance company and provide them with the necessary details.

By following these steps, you can ensure the safety of all parties involved and initiate the necessary processes for resolving the accident.

Seeking Legal and Medical Assistance

Obtaining legal and medical assistance is crucial after experiencing an accident with a rental car in Romania. Follow these guidelines:

Medical Attention: If you or anyone involved in the accident has sustained injuries, promptly seek medical attention. Contact emergency services or visit the nearest hospital or medical facility for a thorough evaluation and necessary treatment.

Legal Support: It is advisable to seek the advice of a local attorney specializing in personal injury or car accident cases, especially if the accident resulted in significant damages or injuries.

Insurance Claims: Inform your insurance provider about the accident as soon as possible. Follow their instructions and provide all the required information and documentation to facilitate the process.

Keep Records: Gather all relevant accident-related documentation, including accident reports, medical records, repair estimates, and correspondence with the rental car agency or insurance company. To support your case or insurance claim, take pictures of the accident scene, the damaged vehicles, the victims, and any other pertinent information.

Review Insurance Coverage: Become familiar with the conditions of your rental car insurance and comprehend the level of protection it offers.

It’s important to keep in mind that getting legal and medical help will help you protect your rights, get the right medical attention, and deal with the accident’s legal ramifications. Consult experts who can provide guidance that is tailored to your particular situation.

Getting in Touch with the Rental Car Company

When involved in an accident with a rental car in Romania, getting in touch with the rental company promptly and efficiently is crucial for a smooth resolution.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Contact the Rental Car Company: Reach out to the rental car company as soon as possible to report the accident. Use the provided contact information or consult the rental agreement for specific instructions.
  • Provide Accurate and Comprehensive Information: Clearly describe the accident to the rental car company, providing accurate details such as the date, time, and location of the incident. Include the police report and any other relevant information that might assist in their assessment of the situation.
  • Follow Company Guidelines: Follow any instructions provided by the rental car company regarding the accident. They may advise you on procedures for repairs, insurance claims, or arranging a replacement vehicle.
  • Document All Communication: Maintain a record of all interactions with the rental car company, including dates, times, and individuals spoken to. This documentation can serve as a reference and help resolve any potential disputes or misunderstandings.

Pro tip

Stay in contact with the rental car company throughout the process to ensure effective communication and to address any additional questions or concerns that may arise.

Post-Accident Follow-Up

It is important to follow up on various issues after being involved in an accident, including:

Insurance Claim Process: Keep in touch with your insurance company and keep them up to date on the status of your claim. Follow their instructions and provide any additional information or documentation requested.

Get Repair Estimates: Ask authorized repair shops or garages for repair estimates. To speed up the claim process, share these estimates with your insurance provider.

Document Expenses: Keep track of any out-of-pocket costs associated with the accident, such as towing fees, rental car fees, or medical costs, and document them. This documentation will be useful for reimbursement purposes.

Medical Treatment and Follow-Up

Follow Treatment Recommendations

Follow the treatment plan as prescribed, and attend follow-up appointments as scheduled by the healthcare professionals. Keep track of all medical records and receipts related to your treatment.

Communicate with Insurance

Provide your insurance company with all necessary medical documentation, such as reports, bills, and receipts. This will speed up the reimbursement process for medical expenses covered by your policy.

Understand Insurance Coverage

Become acquainted with the medical expense coverage outlined in your insurance policy as it relates to the accident.

Add more information to your records

As you keep detailed records of all accident-related expenses, add medical bills, vehicle repairs, rental car costs, and any lost wages due to missed work. This documentation will accurately reflect the financial impact of the accident and will support any insurance claims or legal proceedings.

Keep an eye on your emotional health

In order to prevent emotional trauma, it is important to keep an eye on your emotional health. After the event, be mindful of your mental and emotional health and, if necessary, seek out the right support.

From Challenge to Resolution

To summarize, being involved in an accident while driving a rental car in Romania can be a difficult situation, especially when you’re in a foreign country. But don’t fret! By following the practical steps outlined in this guide, you can navigate through the aftermath with confidence and ensure that you comply with the local regulations.

Remember to prioritize safety above all else, promptly reach out to the authorities and rental companies, document every important detail, exchange necessary information, obtain a police report, and involve your insurance company and legal professionals when needed. These steps are critical to protecting your interests and achieving a favourable outcome.

Accidents happen, but armed with the right knowledge and approach, you can minimize their impact and keep moving forward. 

So, embrace safe travel and responsible driving as you embark on your adventure. You’ve got this!

Gheorghe Florin Campan

Gheorghe Florin Campan

* Short, medium and long term car rental experience
* Over 15 years of experience in the field of car import
* In-depth knowledge of tourism and the automotive sector

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© GCA