Getting a Rental Car After a Collision

Car Accidents | August 31, 2020

Getting into an accident is something no one wants to experience. Unfortunately, vehicle accidents are not uncommon throughout California. Vehicle accidents are responsible for many injuries throughout the state each year, and they are also responsible for significant property damage. In many cases, accident victims must rely on rental vehicles after a crash so that they have transportation while their vehicle is being repaired. If you or a loved one was involved in a car crash, an experienced accident lawyer can help during a free consult.

Why is a Rental Car so Important?

After sustaining an accident, your first priority is ensuring that any injuries are taken care of. However, reality will begin to set in as you realize that your method of transportation may not be available for some time.

  • How do vehicle accident victims get to and from work?
  • How do vehicle accident victims run any errands?
  • How will an accident victim get their kids to and from school?

Unfortunately, most people quickly discover that renting a vehicle out-of-pocket can be expensive, particularly if you need it for a week or more.

Will the At-Fault Driver Pay for the Rental?

If the other driver involved in your vehicle accident was at fault, then their insurance carrier will be responsible for paying for your rental car until your vehicle is repaired or until they have paid the current market value in the event your car is totaled. Not only will the at-fault driver’s insurance typically be responsible for paying for the rental vehicle, but they must generally provide a vehicle that is similar to the one you were driving. For example, if you have an SUV to accommodate your family, the rental company will typically not be able to just send you a compact car to use in the interim.

When Will I Get the Rental Car?

Ideally, the insurance carrier of the at-fault party will take responsibility for the incident and pay for your rental car immediately. Unfortunately, the process is not always not easy. If there is any dispute as to which party was at fault, the other driver’s insurance carrier may not pay for the rental car until the claims process is complete.

This can present challenges, particularly if your own insurance coverage does not include rental car coverage. It may be the case that you have to pay for the rental vehicle out-of-pocket and get reimbursed from the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier when the claims process is complete. This does not come without risks because if the other driver is not found to be at fault, then you will not be reimbursed for your out-of-pocket rental expenses.

How Long Will I Have a Rental Car After a Car Accident?

It is important to note that nearly every insurance carrier will only pay for rental car coverage for a certain period of time (typically 15 to 30 days). If a vehicle is not repaired quickly and a rental is needed for longer than the time frame the insurance carrier is willing to pay for, a crash victim will have to pay out-of-pocket to keep the rental longer than that period.

Most insurance companies offer relatively inexpensive rental car coverage as part of their policies. You should strongly consider paying for this coverage so that you do not have to worry about what will happen in the event you get into an accident.