Am I entitled to a car rental while my vehicle is being repaired or replaced after my auto wreck?

Using a Car Rental Website After a CollisionWhen a negligent driver causes your accident, one of your immediate concerns—after receiving medical treatment—is getting your vehicle repaired or replaced if the insurance company totals your vehicle. If you are like most people, you rely on your automobile on a daily basis and cannot afford to be without it even for a day. Fortunately, you have options for obtaining a rental car after a car accident.

Where Can You File a Claim for a Car Rental After Your Car Accident?

You have more than one avenue for obtaining a car rental while your vehicle is being repaired or you are negotiating a settlement with the insurance company. You have the following options to be paid for a car rental:

  • Negligent driver’s insurance company. As part of the compensation that the negligent driver is responsible for paying you, you are entitled to your car rental fees while your vehicle is being repaired or replaced. His insurance company would pay this cost as part your settlement.
  • Your own insurance company. You are not required to purchase car rental insurance under Georgia law. However, if you purchased this type of insurance, you could file a claim for your car rental costs, whether or not the negligent driver had insurance that would pay them.

Pros and Cons of Filing a Car Rental Claim With the Negligent Driver’s Insurance Company or Your Own

You will need to decide which insurance company to file a car rental claim with. The pros and cons of each that you should consider include:

  • Your claim with your own insurance company may be processed more quickly—meaning you will have a car rental to use sooner.
  • If you have car rental insurance, what is covered will be based on the coverage you purchased. Often, there is a maximum amount that your insurance company will pay per day for a car rental and a maximum amount of coverage—or both. This could leave you with out-of-pocket expenses to try to recover from the negligent driver.
  • Your daily car rental rate under your own insurance policy could be $30 or somewhere around there, which may not be sufficient to rent the type of vehicle you want.
  • The negligent driver’s insurance company is responsible for paying your car rental while your vehicle is being repaired or replaced. There is no fixed limit of days for coverage like under your own policy.
  • The negligent driver’s insurance company will investigate your claim more thoroughly before authorizing a car rental. You could be without a vehicle for a week or more while this process is completed.

Can I Get a Vehicle That Is Comparable to My Car?

Once your claim for a car rental has been approved, many insurance companies will work with a car rental company to provide you with a car rental. You may need to pick up the car or it may be delivered directly to you. The insurance company is trying to keep its costs as low as possible, so it will probably offer you the cheapest, smallest vehicle available.

Do you have a right to a vehicle that is comparable to yours? That depends on which insurance company is paying for it. If you filed your claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company, it would be responsible for providing you with a vehicle that is similar to the one you were driving. Your own insurance company is also responsible for providing you with a comparable vehicle, but only up to the limits of what they are required to pay under your policy. For example, if your policy only requires your insurance company to pay $30 per day, this may not be sufficient to pay for a higher-end model.

How Long Can You Rent a Vehicle?

You are generally entitled to keep the rental vehicle during the period your car is being repaired or until you replace it. Once your vehicle is repaired, you will need to arrange to pick it up and turn in the rental one as soon as yours is ready. If the negligent driver’s insurance company is paying for your car rental and your vehicle is totaled, you should be aware that the adjuster will not authorize a car rental for more than a few days after they make a reasonable offer or settle your claim. You want to have a replacement vehicle arranged so that you do not incur car rental fees on your own while you are deciding on a new vehicle.

Will You Have to Pay a Deposit?

Even though the negligent driver’s or your insurance company will be paying for your car rental, the rental company could require you to have a credit card on record before they will release the car to you. If you do not have a credit card, you will need to contact the car rental company to see if they will accept a deposit using a debit card or any other requirement you can meet.

The car rental company may try to convince you to purchase additional insurance. If you have collision insurance, this would cover any damage to the rental vehicle and purchasing additional insurance is unnecessary and costly.

If you need to file a property damage claim, you may be surprised at how complicated it can be and how the insurance company may delay paying your claim. The experienced legal team at Brauns Law has helped many clients with all types of insurance claims after a car accident. Start an online chat or call us to schedule your free consultation to get your questions answered and learn how we can help you.