Can I get a rental car after an accident?

Getting a rental car after an accident can be a battle.  The rental vehicle provided should be comparable to the vehicle damaged in the accident. If you were driving a pickup truck, it is not reasonable for your replacement vehicle to be a subcompact. The simplest path is when the at-fault driver’s insurance company agrees to immediately accept liability for the traffic collision. In this case, the insurance carrier will pay until for your rental car until they pay you the fair market value of your totaled car or pay for the complete repairs of your car.

More problematic is when the at-fault insurance company makes no decision at all regarding who is at fault. This state of limbo puts the victim in a bind. Insurance companies usually make no decision when they are not able to reach their driver to obtain their version of the crash. In this case, Plan B is to find out if you have rental coverage through you own insurance company. If you do, they will pay for your rental car while your property damage issues get resolved. Your insurance company will, in turn, fight the at-fault driver’s insurance company to get compensated for the money they paid for your rental car once the issue of responsibility for the motor vehicle crash.  Having a lawyer is often helpful, because that lawyer can apply pressure to the insurance company to be reasonable and make a speedy decision.

If the insurance company is denying fault, then you are forced to use your own collision coverage to repair your property damage and provide you a rental car.  This will likely come with applying your deductible, but you have no other choice.  This situation reveals why it is very important to have your own coverages – you can’t trust the insurance companies to be looking out for you.  You may be able to later prove the insurance company wrong, or win in court, but that result may take a long time.  In a situation like this having a lawyer from Rainwater, Holt & Sexton may be beneficial to get the result you deserve.

In most jurisdictions, you can keep your rental car as long as you are waiting for a check (for reasons that don’t involve your delay) if your car is totaled or a reasonable period while repairs are being made.  Keep in mind that laws are different in each state and different insurance companies have different laws and policies. Call Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, one of our attorneys can help you navigate the whole process and make sure the insurance company is doing everything it can for you.

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