How Do I Get a Rental Car after a Crash and How Long Can I Use It?

There are a large number of tasks involved with car accidents: settling claims, dealing with new insurance agencies, and possible hospitalizations. One worry that often comes up is reimbursement for a rental car. What do you do when you need immediate transportation for work or school? Who will cover those costs?

Check Your Policy

If circumstances and policies surrounding the accident provide the benefit, rental reimbursement coverage is the simplest method. If you have this coverage, the insurance company will pay for a rental car. This option often comes without a deductible.

There are limitations, however, the most notable of which is the loss per day limit. This clause limits the amount per day that will be reimbursed for a vehicle, so you’ll likely need to rent an economy car. Special exceptions can be made if the vehicle is needed for certain purposes. For instance, someone who uses the vehicle for work related transport of materials may need a truck or large van, should their primary vehicle become totaled.

Often this policy also includes a time limit of up to 30 days. Contact the agent representing the policy directly to understand these limitations.

If the Other Driver Is at Fault

If you are a victim of another person’s negligence you have the right to recoup costs that are disruptive to your life. If their insurer attempts to side with the other driver and block your right to rental coverage on the claim, get their written statement as to why they are denying the rental. Immediately bring that statement to a lawyer who will be able to verify the legitimacy of the auto insurer’s response and put pressure on the company if their reasoning is invalid.

Sometimes the at-fault insurer will avoid making a decision. This is challenging to handle without a lawyer because nothing nudges a company into action like a lawsuit.

What Are an Insurer’s Options?

Auto insurance companies aren’t necessarily obligated to provide you with a rental car. When it comes to reimbursement, companies have several options. Some will rent the car themselves and sign it to you, meaning you’ll have no extra paperwork. Many companies will utilize loss per day and pay up to a fixed amount, while others will make the victim pay upfront and reimburse all costs at the end.

Make sure you obtain the facts before renting a car yourself. Renting on your own may violate the policy and you could wind up with no financial reimbursement. When in doubt, ask a lawyer.

Wrecking the Rental

What happens if the rental car is involved an accident? Some rental reimbursement coverage policies include a clause addressing accidents that happen while driving the rental car. This is not true for all policies, so check with your agent.

It’s also possible to buy temporary insurance on your rental car. Rental car companies have their own auto insurance that will sometimes fully cover accidents. Contact a personal injury lawyer to further explore options. With three parties involved and a confusing mess of rules between as many as three different insurers, it can be difficult to understand your best course of action.

Know Your Rights

Keep a record of all dialogue exchanged with the insurance company. Check and double-check the policy of the at-fault party and your personal auto insurance. Understand that, depending on the policy, you could wait for weeks for rental reimbursement, if it happens at all.

Brian White

Working in Houston, TX, Brian White is a personal injury lawyer with the expertise to get you through challenging legal problems. Contact Brian if you find yourself in an accident that totals your car or you are unsure about the rights afforded by your policy. He is willing to help with any questions you may have.

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