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Rental Car Cost Coverage After An Accident Explained

Rental Car Cost Coverage After An Accident Explained

If you’ve been in a car accident, you’re likely facing various challenges, from dealing with the aftermath of the collision to getting your vehicle repaired or replaced. One key issue that often arises is who is responsible for the cost of a rental car while your vehicle is out of service. This can be confusing and stressful, but understanding your rights and options can help provide some much-needed clarity.

This blog post will explore who pays for a rental car after a car accident and the factors that can influence the coverage and reimbursement process. Whether you were the driver at fault or the innocent victim, having this information can help you manage the situation and ensure you’re not left footing the bill for something that wasn’t your responsibility.

Who Pays for the Rental Car When You’re Not at Fault?

If the accident wasn’t your fault, the at-fault driver’s insurance company should shoulder the cost of your rental car. Since their insured caused the accident, they are liable for the resulting expenses, including your rental vehicle.

The at-fault driver’s insurance should provide you with a rental car or reimburse you for the rental costs while your vehicle is being repaired or replaced. This coverage typically includes the daily rental rate and any applicable taxes and fees. Be sure to keep all receipts and documentation related to the rental, as you’ll need to provide this information to the insurance company when filing your claim.

It’s important to note that the at-fault driver’s insurance may limit the number of rental days they will cover or the maximum daily rate they will pay. If your rental costs exceed these limits, you may need to cover some additional expenses out of pocket. Your own auto insurance policy may also provide some rental car coverage, which can help offset these costs.

When the Other Driver’s Insurance Won’t Pay

Unfortunately, there may be situations where the at-fault driver’s insurance company is unwilling to pay for your rental car. This could be due to a dispute over liability, a claim that your rental costs are unreasonable, or other coverage issues.

In these cases, you have a few options:

  • Immediately file a claim with your auto insurance provider. Many personal auto policies offer some level of rental car coverage. This coverage can help offset the rental costs while you settle your claim against the other driver’s insurance. You may still be responsible for your deductible, but it provides a way to secure the rental car you need in the interim.
  • Negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If they are disputing coverage, provide documentation or evidence to support your claim. You can also seek assistance from a car accident lawyer, who can advocate on your behalf and potentially reach a more favorable settlement.
  • Pay for the rental car out of pocket and seek reimbursement later. There may be better scenarios than this, as it can strain your finances. However, if the other insurance company needs to be more cooperative and your auto policy doesn’t include rental car coverage, this may be the only way to secure a rental car in the short term.

What If the Other Driver Has No Insurance or Minimal Coverage?

Unfortunately, not all drivers have adequate insurance coverage or any coverage at all. If the at-fault driver in your case does not have insurance or only carries the bare minimum required by your state, their policy may not be sufficient to cover the cost of your rental car.

In these situations, you have a few options:

  • Use your own auto insurance policy’s rental car coverage. Many policies include this as a standard feature, and it can provide the necessary coverage when the other driver’s insurance is insufficient.
  • File a claim under your auto insurance policy’s uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This type of coverage is designed to protect you when the at-fault driver lacks adequate insurance, and it can help pay for your rental car expenses. In South Carolina, uninsured motorist coverage is required, but underinsured motorist coverage is not.
  • Seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver directly. If they have limited or no insurance, you may need to take legal action against them personally to recover the rental car costs. This can be a complex and challenging process, so it’s often best to consult a car accident lawyer who can advise you on the best course of action.

When the Vehicle Is Declared a Total Loss

Rental Car Cost Coverage After An Accident ExplainedIf your vehicle is deemed a total loss following the accident, the situation around rental car coverage can become even more complicated. In these cases, the insurance company responsible for the total loss claim (either your own or the at-fault driver’s) is typically only obligated to cover rental car costs for a reasonable amount of time, such as one to two weeks.

The insurance company will do its best to settle your claim with a check to replace your vehicle, eliminating the need for a rental car. However, delays in receiving the settlement or purchasing a new car can leave you responsible for covering any additional rental expenses out of pocket.

Your own auto insurance policy’s rental car coverage can be helpful in these situations, as it may provide extended coverage beyond what the at-fault driver’s insurance is willing to pay. It’s essential to stay in close communication with the insurance companies involved to ensure you understand the limitations of their rental car coverage and plan accordingly.

Seek the Guidance of a Car Accident Lawyer

Working with a Columbia car accident lawyer can increase your chances of securing the rental car coverage you’re entitled to and prevent you from being left with the financial burden of an expense that wasn’t your fault. This can provide much-needed peace of mind during an already stressful time, allowing you to focus on your recovery and getting your life back on track.

If you’ve been in a car accident and are facing challenges with rental car coverage, the team at Goings Law Firm, LLC may be able to help. Our experienced car accident attorneys have a proven track record of helping clients navigate these complex situations and achieve the best possible outcomes. Call us at (803) 350-9230 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can assist you.

Last Updated : April 12, 2024
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