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What to do if you’re in a rental car accident

Traveling, whether for work or pleasure, is an escape from your day-to-day routine. It’s a chance to go somewhere new, try something different, and see inspiring sites. If you need to drive during your trip, it can also be a chance to test out a new set of wheels if you’re renting a car. Car rental companies offer a wide variety of transportation options, and if you’re treating yourself while away, or if your company is picking up the tab, then renting a car you wouldn’t otherwise drive can add a bit of fun to your trip. 

Driving in a new city with a rental car that you’re probably unfamiliar with can present challenges. As with anytime you’re behind the wheel, there’s a potential for danger. Most of the time, nothing goes wrong. But, accidents can happen, and it’s important you know what to do if you get in a mishap in a rental car.

Preparing to drive

If you own a vehicle, it’s important you’re properly insured. Car rental dealerships have each of their cars insured, but they’ll also offer you additional insurance to cover potential incidents. Typically, it’s a marginal cost to cover a potential accident and something to consider investing in. Check to see if your regular insurance covers rentals as well. 

Before jumping on the highway, make sure to familiarize yourself with the car and the area. Adjust your mirrors and get a feel for the vehicle. While all cars are generally set up the same way, small changes can make a big difference, especially if you’re not aware of them. Locate your turning signal, emergency lights, and other features that may differ from what you’re accustomed to. Consider reviewing directions before pulling out of the lot. If you’re in a new area, it helps to know where you’re going so you’re not multitasking on the road. 

After an accident

If you are in an accident, the best resource you can have is information on how to react. Remember, your priority should be your well-being and safety. Immediately monitor yourself for any signs of injuries. Do you feel any soreness? Is any blood visible? Both can indicate more serious injuries. If you’re in a position to remove yourself from the vehicle, do so. If others are involved in the accident, check on them. If you are knowledgeable about first aid, help others and then call for help. Continue providing first aid while help is on its way. 

If you have time before emergency responders arrive, try to reconstruct the accident in your head. What led up to it? What vehicles were involved? What speed were you going? What direction and which street were you driving? If others were involved, speak with them to confirm your memory. Any information you’re able to recall will be important in determining the cause of the accident. It can also be useful to take pictures, videos, or notes to document what happened.

When emergency responders arrive, direct them to whoever needs help the most. Have them examine and scan your body for any injuries. Police on the scene will take statements from those involved. Make sure to tell them exactly what happened and include any additional details you can remember.

After the safety and well-being of people involved in the accident is taken care of, call your insurance company and contact the rental company. The rental company will often take their own statement about the accident.

Recovering to rent again

One accident shouldn’t keep you off the road. In the aftermath of a crash, put your physical and mental health first as you work to recover. Regardless of injuries, visit a doctor after a crash. They can help determine if there are any potential injuries you might have missed. Take time to properly recover, and if you have the flexibility, consider taking off time from work and other obligations to allow yourself to rest. 

Many car accidents produce similar injuries, so it’s important to know what to expect after a crash. While doctors can give you an overall assessment after an accident, often a chiropractor can offer expert advice regarding particular injuries resulting from a crash. The right chiropractor can put together a recovery designed especially for your injuries and your recovery timeframe. 

Back on the road

Experiencing a car accident can be traumatic, but it shouldn’t keep you off the road. If you’re in an accident in a rental car, focus on your safety and health. After an accident, work to figure out details like insurance coverage and make sure you visit a doctor. As you work toward recovery, consider contacting a local chiropractor who can make the process easier for you as you work toward a full recovery. 

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