What Should I Do if I Am Involved in a Rental Car Accident in North Carolina?

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A person takes a photo of damage after a car accident in a rental car.

Many travelers may opt to rent a car while on vacation, traveling for business, or for any other reason. However, while many people are on vacation or away from their homes, the thought of being involved in an accident will seldom cross their minds. However, a car accident can happen to anyone at any time while out on the road. Therefore, it is essential to understand what steps to take should you be involved in a car accident while driving a rental car in North Carolina.

Have you been involved in a car collision while driving a rental car in North Carolina? Contact the experienced North Carolina personal injury attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters,’ at (800) 529-0804 or contact us online to receive your free, no-obligation case evaluation. Our attorneys have provided car accident injury victims in North Carolina with favorable outcomes for over 65 years.

Rental Car Accident

If you are involved in a rental car accident, your own car insurance may cover the car collision, depending on the coverage that you hold at the time of the accident. Liability and comprehensive car insurance will typically extend to a rental vehicle. However, you should contact your car insurer to ensure that you will be covered through your policy. You should also keep in mind that the coverage will be based upon the value of your car, and often when traveling, renters opt to choose newer, more expensive vehicles. As a result, personal auto insurance may not be adequate to cover rental cars whose value far exceeds your own personal vehicle. If this scenario applies to you, you may want to consider buying additional insurance to cover the gap.

Rental Car Company Insurance Coverage

Alternatively, many car rental companies will offer purchasable insurance separate from your own personal car insurance. Rental car companies may offer the following forms of rental car insurance:


Liability insurance is mandatory in 48/50 states in the U.S. It will be required unless you live in New Hampshire or Virginia. Supplementary liability insurance may be available in addition to the liability coverage you already carry. As mentioned previously, this may be beneficial if you plan on driving a high-value vehicle. In addition, supplemental liability insurance might cover property damage and medical expenses that others may sustain due to your accident if you were found to be at fault.

Personal Accident Coverage

Similar to PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance, personal accident coverage insurance will cover medical expenses you may incur if you are injured in a rental vehicle and will likely be available from your rental car company.

Personal Property

Many times rental car companies will offer personal property insurance that will cover the loss of your personal property. Personal property may be lost or stolen from a rental vehicle during your travels. However, homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance may also cover this type of loss. Refer to your specific coverage and policies to see if your property is protected if taken from a rental vehicle.

Loss Damage Waiver

While not considered insurance, you may be offered a form of protection from the car rental agency known as loss damage or collision damage waiver. This waiver means the car insurance company will be responsible for any vehicle damage or theft.

Supplemental Credit Card Coverage

It is possible that your credit card company may offer supplemental car insurance coverage that may cover losses not covered by existing insurance. Reach out to your credit card company to see what type of rental coverage they may have.

Before Getting Into a Rental Car

In addition to considering supplemental car insurance coverages, after renting a vehicle, you should inspect the car to ensure that another driver has not damaged it prior to obtaining the car. It is a mistake just to take the vehicle, as you could be held liable for damages that occurred prior to you receiving the car. Instead, thoroughly inspect the vehicle before driving away from the rental lot.

Things to Do After a Rental Car Accident

If you have been involved in a car collision while driving, take the following steps:

  •   Pause, stay calm, and assess if you or any passengers have sustained any injuries.
  •   If possible, move the vehicle to the side of the road to not obstruct any traffic.
  •   Call 9-1-1 immediately and alert them if you or a passenger need any immediate medical assistance.
  •   If possible, exchange personal information, insurance information, and driver’s license information with the other driver.
  •   Never acknowledge fault for the accident, even if you believe you are liable until all of the facts surrounding the accident are brought to light.
  •   If possible, take pictures of the accident scene and include photos of both vehicles, license plates, and the surrounding area.
  •   If there were any witnesses to the accident, try to obtain their contact information.
  •   Receive medical attention as soon as you are able. Even if you do not feel hurt, car accident injuries may take several hours or even days to appear.
  •   Contact the car rental company to inform them what has happened. They will likely contact information on the rental agreement or in the glove compartment.
  •   Report the accident to your car insurer. Discuss your coverages and any required deductibles.

Car Accident Lawyer

If you have been involved in a car accident while driving a rental car, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer right away after receiving medical assistance. Contact the law office of Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters’,  today by calling (800) 529-0804 or contacting us online. We are here to assist you with your legal concerns. The attorneys at Tatum & Atkinson have represented hundreds of North Carolina car accident victims and have helped them to receive the best possible outcome for their personal injury claims. If we take your case, you will owe us nothing until we win.