Traveling in a rental car makes exploring a new locale easier, faster and safer, but if the vehicle comes up missing, you bear the liability. Taking the insurance option during the rental process may shield you from some expenditure, but you must still manage the inconvenience of losing the vehicle and your personal property. Don't waste time if your rental is stolen; if you do, it could cost you more.

Call the local police and report the vehicle stolen. Remain calm and explain to the officer that the car is a rental. Describe any personal possessions that you left in the car, such as a suitcase or electronic equipment.

Contact the rental company. Explain to the representative that you must fill out a police report and request the car's tag and vehicle identification numbers (VIN).

Request an accident/incident report form from the car rental agency. Verify with the rental agency what type of liability insurance you opted for. Most car rental companies have three types of rental insurance: liability which protects you in case of accidents; passenger protection, which covers you and any passengers; and full coverage. Full coverage insurance is usually pricey but limits the financial responsibility of the customer if the car is stolen.

Check with your credit card company if you paid for the rental with a credit card but did not opt for theft coverage from the rental company. Customers who do not own a car may have rental theft covered by their credit card company. If you do have regular car insurance, it is possible that your credit card company offers secondary coverage in these cases. Call your credit card company to find out the details of your services and coverage.

Ask your personal car insurance company for help. Some car insurance policies also cover you when you rent a car.

Request a new rental. Some companies assist customers by delivering a car to your location; others require you to visit the rental lot before replacing the vehicle. If you did not opt for rental insurance, the rental company may refuse to rent you another car.

Things You Will Need
  • Cell phone

  • Accident report

  • Incident report form


Store your car rental company's phone number in your cell phone. That makes it easier to contact them in case of an emergency.


If you drive intoxicated, leave your keys in the ignition or leave the doors unlocked, you may still be liable for a stolen vehicle.

If you fail to contact the car rental company quickly, you may be charged for extra rental days, even if the car was not in your possession.