Renting a Car after an Accident
If your car has been damaged or totaled in a car accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence, the matter of your own transportation becomes a serious concern. Whether your car needs to be repaired or you need to purchase a new one, you will likely need to rent a car in the interim, and the expense can be hefty. The matter of who is on the hook for the cost of your rental is of primary importance, but an experienced Georgia car accident attorney can help you favorably resolve this issue.
Paying for the Rental Car
If you’ve been in a car accident that was caused by someone else, that driver’s insurance should cover your rental car. You can begin by directly initiating a claim with the other driver’s insurance provider. The adjuster handling your claim will let you know if the other driver’s policy covers car rentals, which most do, and will advise you regarding the next steps.
Some insurance companies allow rental car companies to bill them directly, while others reimburse claimants after the fact. Either way, the rental company may require you to use your own credit card to put down a deposit – to cover any potential damage to the rental car. This amount, however, should be reimbursed when you return the car undamaged and billing is finalized.
Choosing the Rental Car Company
If you’re renting a car that will be billed directly through the at-fault driver’s insurance company, they will likely inform you which rental car company to use. If you need a car, however, you need a car now, and this additional requirement on the part of the insurance company may complicate matters considerably. If there is a far more convenient option available, you can rent the car on your own and go after reimbursement later. You’re well advised, however, to seek approval through the other driver’s insurance provider regarding its limitations in terms of rate and car class.
If You Need a Car Quickly
The inconvenience of your car being out of commission can be immense, and you may not have the time necessary to wait for the other driver’s insurance provider to resolve the matter of your car rental. If this is the case, you can turn to your own insurance policy, which may afford coverage of some kind. Many policies provide a specific amount per day of rental up to a specific maximum amount, which you can use to help cover your costs. Even if your coverage doesn’t include car rentals, you can pay for your rental upfront and seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance provider at a later time. Having a dedicated car accident attorney on your side can make a considerable difference in your ability to prevail with just compensation regarding your car rental.
Your Right to a Comparable Vehicle
You drive the vehicle you drive for a reason. Perhaps you cart a soccer team around on the weekends, regularly take business contacts to lunch, or put many hours in behind the wheel each week and want to drive in comfort. Whatever the reason, you have the right – in the face of car damage that was caused by another driver’s negligence – to rent a vehicle that is comparable to your own.
It’s important to note that the insurance company handling your claim will want to resolve the matter as cheaply as possible, which means its goal is for you to rent the cheapest car available – and it may even require you to go out of your way in the process. Driving around for any amount of time in a vehicle that doesn’t fit your needs can make the immense inconvenience of not having your car that much more challenging, which makes standing your ground on the matter of renting a car that is comparable to your own paramount.
If you can demonstrate that the vehicle you rented is very similar to your own car, you’ll be in a better position to obtain full coverage from the involved insurance company. Anything you choose to pay for on the rental that your own vehicle doesn’t offer will likely come out of your own pocket.
Additional Insurance Coverage
If you’ve ever rented a car, you know that rental companies go in for the hard sell when it comes to purchasing additional car insurance coverage, which can be a considerable expense. The fact is that your own car insurance policy should cover the rental the same way it does your own vehicle, which makes purchasing additional coverage an unnecessary expense. Before refusing coverage through the rental car company, however, it’s important to check with your own provider to ensure that the rental will be covered to the degree necessary. Further, if you are paying for the rental car upfront, your credit card may afford additional coverage on the rental car.
If Your Car Is Repairable
If the damage done to your car by the at-fault driver can be repaired for an amount that does not exceed its overall value, you’ll need to begin the repair process, which can be exceptionally long. The matter of obtaining the necessary parts alone can lead to significant delays, which means that you may need to keep the rental car for a considerable amount of time. Consider the following scenarios:
- If the damage to your vehicle was caused by another driver and your claim is proceeding through that driver’s coverage, you can keep the rental for as long as it takes for your car to be fully repaired.
- If your car damage claim is proceeding through your own coverage, any amount that exceeds your daily limit or the set maximum will come out of your own pocket.
- If your car can be driven, such as if the damage is strictly cosmetic, your car rental will be covered from the time your car actually goes in for repairs.
Because you don’t want to be left facing needless expenses, consulting with a seasoned car accident attorney early on in the process is always well advised.
If Your Car Is Totaled
If the amount of damage to your vehicle exceeds its value, the insurance company will total it, which means that you won’t be able to drive it or have it repaired and will need to promptly begin your search for a new car. In this situation, your coverage for a rental car begins immediately, but the insurance company will want to wrap up this expense sooner rather than later.
Once the insurance company makes an offer regarding your totaled vehicle, it will likely stop covering your rental, and this is true even if you decline the offer they make. The fact is that accepting an amount that is less than your vehicle’s worth leaves you holding the bag for the additional cost of replacement. The insurance company is well aware that it is putting you in a bind, and it’s hoping the sheer inconvenience of being without your own car will push you to accept a lowball offer out of desperation, which many claimants do. The effort you put into obtaining fair compensation now can pay off in the long run – even if you have to pay for your rental yourself while you continue to negotiate a more favorable claim resolution.
If your car was damaged by another driver’s negligence, you’d need to prove their fault in the matter in order for your rental car claim to be covered by their car insurance provider. Generally, this comes down to demonstrating the driver engaged in one of the following common forms of negligence:
- Failing to follow the rules of the road
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving – or another form of impaired driving
- Drowsy driving
- Aggressive driving
If the car accident in question not only causes you to need a rental but also leaves you harmed, you can seek compensation for all the following forms of loss in addition to the cost of that rental car:
- The cost of repairing your vehicle and replacing or repairing any of its contents that are damaged
- Your medical bills
- Your lost income
- The physical and emotional pain and suffering you endure
To help ensure that you recover for your full range of losses, it’s always in your best interest to have the professional legal guidance of a trusted car accident attorney in your corner.
Consult with an Experienced Georgia Car Accident Attorney Today
If another driver’s negligence leaves you in need of a rental car, their insurance provider is responsible for covering the cost, but obtaining just compensation can be a challenge. The focused Georgia car accident attorneys at Spaulding Injury Law dedicate their impressive practice to helping clients like you prevail with full coverage for rental cars and beyond.
We know that some car crash claims are more complicated than others, and we are always ready to assess your lega rights and options. Learn more about how we can also help you by contacting us online or calling us at 770-744-0890 and scheduling a free case evaluation today.