Your life will change after a car accident. You will face the mental and physical trauma of getting injured. But you must also solve the practical problem of getting to doctor appointments and pharmacies without a vehicle. Fortunately, most people live close enough to rental car agencies that they can rent replacement cars until their vehicles get repaired. Here are 3 options for who pays for rental car after accident.
How Car Insurance Works
Every state except New Hampshire requires car owners to buy property damage liability (PDL) insurance. But PDL coverage does not cover your car in an accident. It only covers other vehicles that you negligently damage.
If you run a stop sign and hit another car, your mandatory PDL coverage will pay for the other driver’s car. But it will not cover yours. Conversely, if a distracted driver rear-ends your vehicle, their PDL coverage will pay for the damage to your car but not for their vehicle’s repairs.
Insurance coverage for your car is optional, and many vehicle owners do not buy it. Comprehensive coverage pays you for the value of your car if it gets damaged or destroyed due to any event except a crash. For example, you would file a claim under your comprehensive coverage if a tree fell onto your car.
Collision coverage pays to repair or replace your vehicle after a collision with another vehicle or a fixed object. Many insurers require you to buy comprehensive coverage if you want collision coverage.
Comprehensive and collision policies pay benefits regardless of fault. You can get paid to repair or replace your vehicle whether you caused the crash or someone else did. But collision and comprehensive will not pay for a rental car.
Paying for a Rental Car
Rental car costs might seem like a logical consequence of a car crash. But paying for a rental car often ends up being more complicated than it should be.
The 3 options for who pays for rental car after accidents include:
1. You Pay
You can pay for your rental car out of your own pocket. This option ensures that you have a rental car so that you can get to work and medical appointments. But the cost falls on you unless you have rental insurance or a claim against another driver.
If you caused your crash or damaged your vehicle in a single-vehicle accident, you might have no option for a claim against another driver. And if you do not have rental insurance, you cannot file a claim with your insurer. As a result, paying out of pocket might be your only option for who pays for rental car after accidents.
The price of a rental car depends on your location, the model of the car, and the length of time you need it. Luxury cars, full-size cars, and SUVs cost more to rent than compact cars. And short-term rentals often cost more per day than weeklong or month-long rentals.
Also, you will usually pay more in markets without a lot of inventory. Large, busy markets like Richmond or Baltimore often have higher prices due to higher demand. But small, rural markets might also charge high rates because they have fewer vehicles available.
2. Rental Insurance Pays
Although your collision and comprehensive coverage will not pay for a rental car, you can buy special rental car insurance. This coverage could determine who pays for rental car after accidents. But you must have this on your policy before your crash. If you buy it after your crash, it will not cover your rental fees.
Using rental car insurance is not as easy as paying for the rental yourself. You will need to file a claim with your auto insurer, and they must approve it. The insurer might not do this until a representative evaluates the damage to your vehicle and either approves your repairs or determines your car is a total loss.
Once the insurer approves your rental claim, you can rent a vehicle. The rental coverage you bought probably has limits on how much it will cover. Shop around so that you can pick a vehicle price and schedule that fall within these limits.
3. A PDL Claim Pays
If someone else’s negligence caused your crash, you can file a claim against their PDL coverage. Negligence happens when someone fails to exercise reasonable care, and as a result, you suffer losses such as injuries and property damage.
You typically prove negligence by showing that the other driver violated a traffic law. Tailgating, speeding, and failing to yield the right-of-way are some of the most common causes of car accidents. But you can also prove negligence if the other driver did something legal but careless, such as eating while driving.
PDL insurance covers a broader range of losses than collision insurance, including these:
- Bus, taxi, or rideshare fares
- Repair or replacement of your vehicle
Most importantly, your PDL compensation can pay for your rental vehicle.
After your crash, you should keep receipts for all out-of-pocket expenses associated with the loss of your vehicle, including rental receipts. When you file your claim against the at-fault driver, you will include these records with your property damage claim.
A claims adjuster for the at-fault driver’s insurer will investigate your claim. If you prove negligence and establish that your rental vehicle was necessary and reasonable based on your losses, you should get your rental expenses reimbursed.
Before you rent a vehicle, you should schedule a free consultation with A personal injury lawyer Baltimore to assess the other driver’s negligence and who pays for rental car after accidents. If you rent a vehicle and fail to prove negligence, you will not get reimbursed for your car rental expenses.
The Role of an Injury Lawyer
Your claim for property damage and out-of-pocket expenses will usually get filed with your injury claim. Your injury lawyer will prepare your claims and negotiate with the claims adjuster to try to reach a fair resolution.
To discuss your accident and the losses for which you could seek compensation, contact The Joel Bieber Firm for a free consultation.
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