Rental Cars for Car Accident Victims
Car accidents are scary and stressful enough without wondering "How will I get around now?” After all, the wreck was not you fault, but now you are injured, unable to work, and left with no transportation to your medical appointments, to take care of your daily activities, or to get back to work once you have recovered.
If you were hit by another driver the at fault insurance should provide a rental car for your use. However, there are some important things to know about this “free” rental car.
1. WHEN AND HOW DO I GET THE RENTAL CAR?
It is important to request a rental car as soon as you can after the accident. This is not a service that happens automatically, which means filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance and requesting a rental car is required. We suggesting hiring a car accident attorney to file this claim for you, to prevent the insurance company from trying to take your statement or use your words against you at a later time.
2. HOW IS IT PAID FOR?
This depends on how the insurance company that is providing the car elects to pay for it. The insurance company might directly bill the at-fault driver's insurance, meaning that you would not be paying for the car day-to-day. The other way this would be handled would be through reimbursement for your expenses relating to the rental vehicle. Either method will most likely require a credit card down payment on the rental vehicle at the time of pick up, but this would be refunded by the insurance company once the rental car is returned.
3. WHAT KIND OF VEHICLE DO I GET?
It is important to get a vehicle similar to the one that you were driving before the accident. An example would be, if your car was a mid-size economy sedan, then you should not rent a luxury car or truck. The reason being is the insurance company may reject the claims for the extra costs, leaving you responsible for them. You should however get a truck or SUV, even with the additional costs, if your vehicle before the accident was a truck or SUV.
4. HOW LONG DO I GET TO KEEP THE RENTAL CAR?
This depends on if your car is repairable or has been deemed a total loss. If the car can be repaired, then you are entitled to the rental car until your car is fully repaired. If the repairs take longer than expected you need to discuss this with the insurance adjuster – or if you have already hired a car wreck attorney, with your attorney - to extend your time with the vehicle. Remember you are entitled to a vehicle until yours is repaired.
If your vehicle is totaled you are entitled to the rental car until the property damage claims are settled. You need to be searching for a vehicle to purchase during this time because once the claim is settled you are no longer entitled to the rental car. That leaves you responsible for any costs of keeping the rental vehicle after the settlement for property damage has been reached.