If another driver caused the accident, can I get a rental car?
The general answer to this question is “yes”. The period that it takes to repair your vehicle is called “loss of use.” The insurance company of the driver who is at-fault in causing your accident is responsible for your “loss of use”.
There are two things that you can do while your car is being worked on:
- You can rent a car yourself and save the receipt for reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
- You can contact the insurance company of the at-fault driver and ask if they will provide a rental car for you. Insurance companies can generally get a rental car at a discounted rate since they rent so many of them. They may provide one for you.
If the insurance company thinks that you will not rent a car by yourself, they may not provide a rental car for you. They may believe that if you do not rent a car, they will not be held responsible for your “loss of use”. Of course, if you do rent a car on your own, they are responsible for reimbursing you for the full cost of renting a vehicle while yours is being repaired.
So, the key thing to remember in all of this is to try to make the insurance company think that you will rent a car on your own right away if they don’t rent one for you. They will usually provide you with one pretty quickly if they know their driver is at-fault in the accident because they don’t want you to run up a huge rental car bill.
Whose insurance do I use to rent a car after an accident that was not my fault?
It’s bad enough that someone has wrecked your car and it’s not available to you because it is being repaired, or even worse, it’s totaled out! If you do not have another vehicle that is available to you, you may need to rent a comparable vehicle. The big problem, for some folks, is that they don’t have a credit card or some other restriction (under age 21) that prevents them from renting a car in their own name.
My first piece of advice is to try to rent a car if you can. The “at-fault” insurance company will have to reimburse you for the reasonable cost of renting a comparable vehicle for the time period that your vehicle is being repaired. Or, if your car is totaled, until the time that they actually pay you for the totaled-out cost of your vehicle. Sometimes, this can take a while. So, make sure that you keep proof, whether it be receipts or a credit card statement showing the costs incurred for having to rent a vehicle.
Lots of folks ask the question, “Do I use my insurance or the other driver’s insurance for my rental car?” My advice to people is that sometimes, the other driver’s insurance will assist you in obtaining a rental car, but the problem with this is that often you have to wait for the police report to prove to the other driver’s insurance company that their driver is responsible. This can take several days. That is why I advise that if you can get a rental car on your own, it is better to do it right away. You can get reimbursed for it at a later time.
Sometimes, folks have rental car coverage on their own vehicle. By all means, if you have this coverage- you should use it. Your insurance company can always get reimbursed from the other driver’s insurance company for the cost of paying for your rental car.
One common question that people have is, “Do I have to pay a deposit or other additional insurance on the vehicle that I am renting?” Generally, when you rent a car, your liability coverage with your own insurance company will cover you if you are liable or at fault in causing an accident. There may be additional coverage that the rental car company will offer to you, but the “at fault” insurance company may not reimburse you for this additional coverage that you purchase.
Sometimes, a car rental company may make you put down a deposit when renting a car. If the deposit is returned to you when you return the car, it’s probably not something the “at fault” insurance company will reimburse you for. However, if the deposit is not refundable to you, then you might have the argument that the deposit was a reasonable and necessary cost for renting the vehicle and should be reimbursable to you from the “at fault” insurance company.
Why do I have to pay a deposit on a rental car?
It’s very frustrating for folks that have been in an accident caused by another driver to have to pay any money out-of-pocket for anything. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a while to set up an insurance claim or talk to an adjuster about reimbursement for your losses. If you do not have rental car coverage on your vehicle, you may have to pay some upfront costs, which may include a deposit for a rental car. Some folks put the deposit on their credit card. The important thing is to keep receipts of all your expenses related to an accident that is not your fault.
You can seek reasonable reimbursement for all your financial losses. These financial losses include reimbursement for reasonable expenses for renting a car while yours is being repaired. They also include other reasonable expenses related to the property damage of your vehicle. Sometimes it is helpful to contact an attorney with specific questions about your rights with respect to property damage or reimbursement for a rental car.
DISCLAIMER: It is important to note that this is general information, and should not be considered “legal advice.” I have been handling personal injury cases for many years, and can offer general answers to common questions, but please do not construe anything on this website to be legal advice about your case. Each case is different. An attorney can only give legal advice when he or she understands the facts involved in your case. There are also strict time limitations on filing a personal injury claim. You should contact a personal injury attorney immediately if you have questions about your case.