Just because you were involved in an accident doesn’t mean that life stops. Often, your automobile is damaged to a point where it will require repairs or, in some cases, it may not even be drivable. In other instances, the damage to your vehicle is such that it will be deemed a “total loss”. No matter the extent of the damage you still have life’s obligations to tend to.
Work, school and children’s activities don’t end just because your vehicle doesn’t work. Waiting for a damage estimate, for your vehicle to be repaired or for a check in the case your car is a “total loss” do not happen quickly. In these instances, you will need a rental car to keep your life moving and in order.
Who Pays For A Rental Car After An Accident?
First, liability must be determined following your incident and this determination is made by the liability adjusters of both your insurance company as well as the other driver’s liability adjuster. This process of obtaining a rental car typically takes 3-5 days though it may take longer in some more complicated car accident scenarios.
The process becomes more complicated when trying to determine who will pay for the rental car when liability is disputed. Who was at fault for the car accident is the driving factor for determining who will pay for your rental car.
1. If you were in an accident as the result of someone else’s negligence: we can assist you through the process of getting a rental car during your time of need. In Florida, all vehicle owners are required to carry a minimum of $10,000.00 in Property Damage Coverage in addition to $10,000.00 in PIP (Personal Injury Protection or No-Fault Insurance). The Property Damage portion of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy is used to repair your damaged vehicle and the policy will also provide you with a rental car.
2. If you were in an accident due to your own negligence or the negligence of an uninsured driver: your insurance will be primary in repairing your vehicle damages and obtaining you a rental car.
How Do I Get a Rental Car?
How the rental car is obtained is determined by who the liability is placed on for the incident. Whether or not you are at fault in addition to the coverages available to you and the other party in the accident determines how and who will pay for the rental car.
1. If you are found not at fault for the incident following the liability investigation: a rental car reservation number will be provided to your attorney. This number then provided to you with specific instructions on when and where you can obtain your rental car.
2. If you were found at-fault: your insurance company will provide you the rental car assuming you have this type of coverage or you may choose to obtain the rental car on your own should you decide not to want to use your insurance for this incident. Either way, a reservation number will be provided you which you will use to go and obtain the rental car.
What Type Of Vehicle Will I Receive?
You will receive a rental vehicle of comparable make, model, and type of the car or truck that was damaged or destroyed. Often times the vehicle will not be identical to your damaged or destroyed vehicle but it should be similar. If you were in a truck you should receive a truck, if you were in a van then you should receive a van and so on.
How Long Can You Keep The Rental Car?
Many factors determine how long you will be allowed to keep your rental car from the extent of damages to your vehicle to how difficult or easy it is to value your car if it was a “total loss”. Either way, the rental car will be provided to you until a certain date and, after said date, payment for the rental car will be your responsibility should you decide to retain it longer.
1. If your car is repairable: you will be allowed to keep your rental until your car is repaired and in your possession. If you delay picking up your vehicle, for whatever reason, after the repairs are complete you will be responsible for the rental car during the delay. It is strongly advised to pick up your repaired vehicle immediately to avoid any issues with rental car payment and responsibility.
2. If your car is a total loss: the insurance company’s property damage adjuster will provide you an offer after they determine the fair market value of your vehicle and its contents. Should you have any custom or specialty parts or components to your vehicle it will be your responsibility to provide receipts as evidence of the value of these additional custom parts. Before the insurance company reimburses you for your vehicle loss you will need to sign the title over to them as they will be taking ownership and possession of your vehicle after payment and these vehicles are typically sold at salvage auctions. You will receive your rental car until you receive compensation (a check) reimbursing you for the total loss of your vehicle.
If you still owe money on your vehicle: the insurance company will pay the remaining balance of your loan and send you the balance after said is paid.
If you owe more than the vehicle is worth: one of two scenarios will result.
If you have gap insurance: this will cover the difference between the value and what is owed.
If you don’t have gap insurance: you will be responsible for paying the difference between the value of your vehicle and what you owe on your loan.
Who Pays The Deductible?
If the adverse driver was uninsured: your insurance will repair your vehicle and potentially provide you with a rental car. In that case, you will be responsible for any deductibles until your entire case is settled. Typically, this will be added to the monies demanded for your injuries after those are determined in a separate section of your demand letter for monetary losses.
If the adverse driver was insured: their insurance company will cover the repair or replacement of your vehicle, your rental car and any deductibles related to the repair and/or replacement of your vehicle in addition to any out of pocket monies for the rental car should any be incurred.
Where Should I Go To Get My Car Repaired?
You are free to use your own repair shop or one of your own choosing or to use any of the repair shops suggested by the insurance company. Typically, the insurance company will have a repair shop or a list of repair shops for you to choose from in the event you do not have one you prefer.