A car accident can lead to a wide range of inconveniences. In some cases, you may need medical treatment and may miss time from work taking care of your injuries. Even when a car accident involves only property damage, you have to deal with the inconvenience of not having a car.
For most of us, a car is a lifeline. It’s how we get to and from work, transport children to and from school, and more. In many cases, losing a car is more than just an inconvenience – it can make daily life tasks exceedingly difficult. What recourse do you have when property damage causes you to lose your car following a car accident?
Rental Car Coverage
In some cases, you may be able to rent a car while your own vehicle is being repaired. If you require a rental car following a car accident in California, you may use your own coverage or an at-fault driver’s, depending on the circumstances.
California insurance companies offer the option of rental reimbursement for policyholders, but this is an optional coverage that a policyholder must elect when signing up for insurance. A rental reimbursement policy covers the cost of a car rental while your damaged vehicles get repaired after an accident.
In general, two methods exist by which a person may receive rental reimbursement from an insurance company:
- Get a rental car from an approved provider, who will bill your insurance company directly
- Choose your own rental car and submit a receipt for reimbursement.
Keep in mind, however, that you will have to choose a vehicle in line with your insurance company’s policy. You can’t, for example, rent a Ferrari and reasonably expect reimbursement from an insurance company. Before renting any vehicle, check with the insurance company to determine your ability to be reimbursed.
If you want to take advantage of another driver’s rental reimbursement policy, the other driver’s insurance company will have to accept liability for the accident. This process can take a while, so it might be best to use your own policy if you need a vehicle immediately following an accident.
Why You Need an Attorney
Getting a car accident attorney involved in the claims process can have several benefits. First, it can speed the process of establishing liability, which could allow you to take advantage of an at-fault driver’s rental reimbursement benefits sooner. This can be especially beneficial when you do not have rental reimbursement coverage on your own policy, but a negligent driver does. With an attorney by your side, insurance companies tend to take your claims for reimbursement more seriously.
When you receive a rental from someone else’s rental reimbursement policy, you typically keep it until the claim resolves, either when the shop completes repairs on your vehicle or when the insurance company provides you with a check representing the full value of your vehicle. However, coverage can vary greatly depending on the policy, so check the fine print before assuming anything.
For your own financial protection, Our personal injury lawyers recommend getting all communications and agreements between you and an insurance company providing coverage in writing. This will help insulate you from unreimbursed claims and hold an insurance company accountable for good faith dealings regarding your rental and repair.
If you’re struggling to get around after a car accident, rental reimbursement coverage can help. The terms regarding this type of insurance coverage vary depending on the nature of the policy. A personal injury attorney can help you with the process of renting a car while your vehicle is repaired by negotiating with an insurance company and holding them accountable for good faith dealing.