As you recover from injuries sustained in an auto accident, one of many questions on your mind is likely who will pay for a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired or replaced. The answer to this question depends on who is determined to be at fault for the accident. If the other driver is found solely at fault, their insurance company is typically responsible for covering the cost of your rental car. However, if you are found partially at fault or fault is unclear, the situation becomes more complicated. Fletcher Law can help with your insurance claims.
Your Auto Insurance Policy Coverage
As the victim in an auto accident, you are typically entitled to rental car coverage under your own auto insurance policy. Most standard auto insurance policies include coverage for a rental vehicle if your insured vehicle is in the repair shop due to an accident.
Under your auto policy's rental reimbursement coverage, your insurance company will pay for a rental car for the reasonable amount of time required to repair or replace your vehicle. The typical limits of this coverage are between $30 to $50 per day for a maximum of 30 days. You will need to pay for fuel costs and any additional insurance for the rental.
To utilize your rental car coverage after an accident, you must first file a claim with your insurance company. They will verify the details of the accident and confirm that repairs are needed for your vehicle. You will then be instructed to obtain an estimate for repairs or total loss evaluation. With an approved claim, your insurance company will cover the cost of a comparable rental vehicle during the repair period according to your specific policy limits.
It is important to note that the at-fault driver's insurance policy typically does not cover the costs of your rental car. Their liability coverage pays only for the repairs or replacement of your vehicle. Your own comprehensive and collision coverage, including rental reimbursement, applies regardless of who is at fault. Utilizing your own policy ensures you have transportation during the claim process without delay.
In summary, after an auto accident your best option is to file a claim with your own insurance company to take advantage of your policy's rental car coverage. They will promptly handle the details while providing you a rental vehicle to mitigate any inconvenience during the repair or replacement of your insured vehicle.
The at-Fault Driver’s Insurance
When another driver causes an accident that leaves your vehicle undrivable, their insurance typically covers the cost of a rental car. However, there are a few factors that determine how much coverage you receive.
The At-Fault Driver’s Liability Coverage
The at-fault driver’s liability coverage limits dictate the maximum amount their insurance will pay for your rental vehicle. If their coverage is $25,000 per person for bodily injury and $50,000 per accident, that same amount would apply to any rental car reimbursement. You would be responsible for any additional costs beyond their liability limits.
The Type of Vehicle You Rent
You are only entitled to a rental car that is comparable to your own in terms of size, seating, and features. Renting a luxury vehicle when you normally drive an economy car would not be covered. The at-fault driver’s insurance will reimburse you for a similar rental vehicle for the reasonable time needed to repair or replace your car.
Your Own Insurance Coverage
If the at-fault driver lacks sufficient coverage or is uninsured, your own collision coverage would apply. The same goes if you only carry liability coverage on your vehicle. In these cases, you would need to pay any deductible and your insurance may only cover a basic rental. They may also cap the number of days for which they will reimburse a rental vehicle.
By understanding these key factors, you can choose an appropriate rental car in the event of an accident and ensure maximum coverage for the expense. If needed, don't hesitate to contact both the at-fault driver's insurance company as well as your own to determine your options for rental car reimbursement.
Your Health Insurance
Your health insurance policy may cover the cost of a rental car after an accident. Many auto insurance policies do not include rental car coverage, so you will need to check with your health insurance provider to see if they offer this type of coverage following an injury.
To qualify for rental car coverage under your health insurance, the accident must have resulted in injuries that prevent you from driving your own vehicle. You will need documentation from your doctor stating that you are unable to drive due to your injuries or that driving could further exacerbate your injuries or slow the healing process.
If your health insurance policy includes rental car coverage, they will typically pay for a rental car for the duration of time that your doctor deems you unable to drive. The type of vehicle covered is usually comparable to your own vehicle. Your health insurance may cap rental fees at a certain dollar amount per day and for an overall maximum number of days. You will still be responsible for fuel costs, rental car insurance, and any rental fees that exceed your policy limits.
Always check with your specific health insurance provider to determine if rental car coverage is included in your policy and understand any limits or caps on coverage before renting a vehicle. Provide the necessary documentation from your physician and keep records or receipts for the rental car in case you need to submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement. While health insurance rental car coverage can help relieve the financial burden following an accident, it typically only provides coverage for a limited time based on the severity of your injuries. Additional coverage may need to be purchased if you are unable to drive for an extended period.
Additional Options if Insurance Won’t Cover
If your insurance company denies your claim for a rental car after an accident, you have a few options to consider:
Pay Out of Pocket
You can pay the rental car fees yourself and continue pushing your insurance company to reimburse you. Keep records of all communication with your insurance provider, as well as receipts for the rental to build your case. If they continue to deny the claim, you may need to get local authorities like the police involved or pursue legal action.
Use a Credit Card
If you used a credit card to rent the vehicle, check if it provides rental car insurance. Many cards offer coverage for damage, theft, or other losses. You will still need to pay the rental company, but can file a claim with your credit card issuer to be reimbursed. Be aware that coverage limits and requirements vary between cards.
Check for Additional Coverage
You may have purchased additional coverage from the rental car company or another third party that can help in this situation. Look for policies like a damage waiver, loss damage waiver, or supplemental liability insurance. While these add to the overall rental cost, they can provide vital coverage if your primary insurance falls through.
Negotiate with the Rental Company
Explain your situation to the rental car company and see if they will waive or reduce the fees, especially if the accident was not your fault. They may allow you a grace period to sort things out with your insurance or work out a payment plan. It never hurts to ask, and many businesses will try to accommodate reasonable requests from loyal customers.
If all else fails, you may need to take the insurer to court to recover costs, but hopefully one of these alternative solutions will help resolve things. The most important thing is avoiding further financial hardship after an accident that was not in your control. With persistence and patience, you can get through this difficult situation.
FAQs: Common Questions About Rental Car Coverage After an Accident
Many people wonder who is responsible for paying rental car fees after an accident. Typically, the at-fault driver's insurance company will cover the cost of a rental vehicle for the not-at-fault driver during the time their vehicle is being repaired or replaced.
Your Own Insurance Company
If the other driver is at fault but does not have insurance, your own insurance company may pay for a rental car, depending on your coverage limits and policy details. Comprehensive and collision coverage will usually cover rental car fees after an accident. Liability-only policies typically do not. You will need to pay any deductibles that apply to your policy.
The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company
The at-fault driver’s insurance company is usually obligated to pay reasonable expenses for a rental car during repairs or while you shop for a replacement vehicle. However, there are some exceptions:
• If the at-fault driver disputes who is at fault for the accident, the insurance company may delay approving a rental vehicle until liability is determined.
• The at-fault driver’s policy limits may be insufficient to fully cover all costs, including a rental vehicle. Their insurance will pay up to the policy limits.
• The at-fault driver may not have auto insurance at all. In this case, you would need to pursue the driver directly to recover costs.
• The at-fault driver's insurance company will typically provide a rental vehicle comparable to your own vehicle. Upgrades will be at your own expense.
• Keep records of all communication with insurance companies, rental car receipts, repair estimates and other accident-related paperwork. This can help substantiate your claim for reimbursement.
In summary, if you are not at fault for an accident and need a rental car during repairs or replacement of your vehicle, the at-fault driver's insurance should cover the cost. However, there are exceptions, so check with all insurance companies involved to determine coverage and get pre-approval for a rental car to avoid out-of-pocket costs.
Call Fletcher Law For Help With Your Car Accident Case
If you have been in a car accident, you will likely need a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired or replaced. In many cases, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is responsible for covering the costs of a rental car. However, there are a few factors that determine if you will be reimbursed and for how much.
First, the other driver must be found predominantly at fault for the accident. Their insurance provider will not pay for your rental car if you are found mostly or entirely at fault. You will have to go through your own insurance coverage in this case.
Second, the repairs to your vehicle must take longer than a certain number of days, often 3 to 5 days, as specified in your policy or state law. Short-term rentals are considered part of the normal inconvenience of an accident and will typically not be covered.
Finally, the type and cost of the rental car must be reasonable. You will not be reimbursed for an upgrade to a luxury vehicle, for example. The insurance company will pay for a standard vehicle similar to your own. They may provide a daily reimbursement limit that you cannot exceed.
To recover the costs of your rental car, keep records of the accident details, repair timelines, and rental invoices to submit to the at-fault driver’s insurance. However, dealing with insurance companies can be complicated and time-consuming. The attorneys at Fletcher Law have extensive experience helping car accident victims recoup losses from insurance providers. Call our office for guidance through the legal and claims process to make sure you receive full and fair compensation. We will stand up for your rights as an accident victim so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.