Who Pays for the Rental Car After an Accident?

In addition to being dangerous and jarring, car accidents are downright inconvenient. Your car might be totaled or otherwise left in an undrivable condition, on top of the injuries you’ve personally suffered. If you need to rent a car to commute to work and other activities while your car is being repaired, are you responsible for the rental costs? Can you expect any help from the insurance companies? Read on to learn about who pays for a rental car after a car accident. Call a dedicated New York car accident lawyer for help after an accident.

If Another Driver Was at Fault

If another driver drove negligently and crashed into your car, you’ll be filing a claim with their insurance provider for your auto damage (and, if you were seriously hurt, your injury costs). Their insurance company should also be responsible for covering the cost of your rental car. You’ll need to notify the insurer that there was an accident and that you’re requesting a rental car while your car is in the shop. The insurer may direct you to a specific car rental company with whom they have a partnership, or they may let you choose your own, within reason (they likely won’t cover you if you rent a luxury car). Most likely, they’ll cover the cost to rent a car equivalent to what you own–if you have a small sedan, you can rent a small sedan.

If You Were At Fault

If you’re responsible for the accident, your insurance company will be responsible for paying the other driver for any property damage caused. If you have collision insurance, your insurance will cover the repairs to your vehicle in the event of an accident with the other driver. (The basic, standard car insurance is liability insurance to cover the other driver, not you.)

If your car is damaged in the wreck, you’ll need a rental car. Your insurance may cover the cost of your rental car depending upon what coverage you opted for. Rental reimbursement is not a standard feature that is always included; you have to choose to include it in your policy coverage. If you did choose to include rental reimbursement, then your insurance will cover the cost of your rental.

There are policy limits, however. Your policy likely sets limitations on the type of car you can rent and the maximum amount of time you can keep it. If you keep the rental car past the maximum number of days, you may need to start paying out of pocket.

Fault is Disputed

If you and the other driver disagree about who caused the accident, you could be left in an unfortunate position. You file your claim with the other driver’s insurance and they with yours. You ask for a rental car. Their insurance disputes whether their driver caused your accident, and denies your claim for a rental car. Disputes over fault can take time to resolve, leaving you without a car in the meantime.

At that point, you can either ask your insurance to cover the rental, or you can pay out of pocket and seek reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance later when their insurance provider accepts responsibility. Should you prevail in proving the other driver was at fault, you are entitled to reimbursement for expenses you incurred as a result of the accident, including the cost of a rental car. It’s a calculated risk, however, because you’ll need to prove fault and convince the insurer to take responsibility before you’ll get repaid.

Seasoned Advice and Representation After a Bronx Car Accident

If you or someone you love has been hurt by someone else’s negligence in New York, find out if you’re entitled to money damages for your injuries by contacting the experienced and effective New York car crash lawyers at the Bronx offices of the Kohn Law Firm for a free consultation, at 718-409-1200.

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