What Happens If I’m in a Rental Car Accident?
At the end of October, Stockdale, NC was the site of a rental car accident involving a collision between a van and an SUV that left 17 people injured, according to WRAL-TV. Reportedly, the injury victims included a one month old and a 90-year-old. Two of the injured had to flown to the hospital in a helicopter for treatment. There were no fatalities as a result of the multi-vehicle wreck, according to officials from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
The van involved in the crash was a rental vehicle. It was carrying a church group from Virginia prior to the crash. The church group is part of a Martinsville, Virginia Jehovah’s Witness church. They were traveling to Salisbury, North Carolina at the time of the incident. The wreck happened about 7 am on US Highway 158 near the Stokesdale intersection. The SUV, a Chevrolet Blazer, was heading in the opposite direction when it crossed the centerline into the van’s lane, which resulted in the collision.
The driver of the Blazer was charged with careless driving, reckless driving, misdemeanor child abuse and driving while impaired. The child abuse charges are due to the fact that the driver of the SUV had her one month old daughter in the vehicle with her.
Here’s What to Do If You’re in a Rental Car Accident
Whether you’re in a rental car or not, no one wants to be involved in a traffic accident. However, if you ever are in a wreck while in a rental car, here’s what you should do, according to NerdWallet, a consumer information website:
- Call 911, and check to see if you or anyone else is hurt. Make sure anyone who is injured receives immediate medical attention.
- If you feel like there’s an explosion or fire risk, get away from the vehicles.
- If you can safely remove the vehicles from the road, do so. If not, put out road flares or reflectors to redirect traffic around the accident scene.
- Get the names and contact information of the other drivers and passengers involved in the wreck. Also, get contact information for any witnesses and the insurance information of the other drivers involved in the crash.
- Take pictures of the vehicles, accident scene and your injuries.
- If your injuries allow, do not leave the accident scene until the police say it is okay for you to do so.
- Tell the police what happened but do not admit fault.
- Do not tell the other driver or witnesses that you’re driving a rental car.
- Report the accident to the rental car company and your own insurance company.
- Check to see if you have collision and comprehensive coverage under your car insurance policy. Collision and comprehensive coverage will protect your rental car. If you purchased the extra rental car insurance, make sure to let your insurance company know. You may have two different auto coverages that provide insurance for the wreck. One is the coverage you bought when you rented the vehicle (if you elected to purchase it) and the other is your own auto coverage that covers the vehicle that you own or drive on regular basis. In most situations, you cannot rent a vehicle unless you purchase coverage or have your own auto coverage.
- Make sure you read the policy before you purchase the rental car company insurance. In some cases, the policy will provide complete coverage as long as you pay the premium. In other situations, the policy will cover the cost of the rental car damage and the cost of the other vehicles involved in the wreck (if you were at fault), but if the policy limit is low, you may need to file a claim with your insurance company to cover the difference.