How Do I Get a Rental Car After a Crash and How Long Can I Use It?
Brian White | February 9, 2021 | Car Accidents
When you have been involved in a car crash, your vehicle may need to be repaired or replaced. Unfortunately, getting a rental car after an accident can be confusing and overly complicated.
Dealing with uncooperative insurance providers can leave claimants feeling completely hopeless and frustrated. If you are having trouble getting a rental car following a car crash, contact a legal professional as soon as possible.
In the following post, we will discuss some of the most common questions and concerns that claimants have about getting a rental car after a collision has impacted their vehicle.
Filing a Claim with the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company
When you are involved in a car accident that you did not cause, you can file a claim for a rental car with the responsible party’s insurance provider. It is important to note that insurance companies are notoriously tightfisted. You are likely to be met with resistance if you file a claim that includes a request for a rental car.
In fact, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may not even respond to your claim in time to secure the alternative transportation that you need. If they do respond, they will likely want you to jump through many hoops that can slow down or weaken your claim.
The liable party’s insurance company will probably engage in a thorough investigation of your claim. These investigations can take a significant amount of time, making it less likely that you will receive the help that you deserve.
An investigation of your claim by the at-fault driver’s insurance provider may entail:
- Reviewing police reports from the accident, which can take weeks
- Collecting testimonies from witnesses to the crash
- Gathering other reports or evidence regarding the collision
The insurance company will use almost anything that they find through this investigation to undermine your claim. They will also speak with their customer (the at-fault driver) before approving your claim. If the at-fault driver provides a fraudulent account of the crash, this could also prevent you from receiving the money that is rightfully yours.
Do NOT Provide the Insurance Provider with a Recorded Statement
It is standard practice for insurance companies to request a recorded statement from claimants. The adjuster may tell you that you are required to provide such a statement in order to be approved for a rental car reimbursement.
You should know that providing a recorded statement is not a legal requirement. In fact, you should always avoid providing the insurance company with a statement in written or recorded form.
Adjusters have experience in manipulating well-intentioned claimants. They may ask misleading questions or use quotes out of context in order to undermine the validity of your claim. This may sound unfair…that’s because it is!
If you have any questions about what is required for an insurance claim, speak with a qualified legal representative.
Even if you do manage to clear all of the hurdles that the insurance provider puts in your way, your compensation may be insufficient. In Texas, you are entitled to compensation for a vehicle that is of similar size to the one that was damaged in the crash.
But insurance companies often lie to claimants. For instance, they may claim that you are limited to a $10-$15 per diem repayment. Be aware of this fraudulent strategy.
Filing a Claim with Your Insurance Company
Another option is to file a claim with your own insurance provider. Most claimants believe that their insurance adjuster will automatically cover the costs of a rental car while theirs is being repaired. Unfortunately, this is not true under most policies.
Many companies require drivers to pay an additional $1-2 per month on their policy for rental car coverage. Although this is inexpensive, people sometimes fail to purchase rental insurance because they believe they won’t need it or are unaware of the option.
If you do pay for this type of coverage on your policy, it should be simple to get coverage for a rental car. Filing a claim through your own provider is usually the easiest option, even if you were not responsible for the crash.
Paying for a Rental Car Out of Pocket
You can also pay for a rental car with your own money if you can afford it. This may be the only option for people who need a car immediately following an accident.
When taking this option, we recommend calling the other driver’s insurance provider and learning which rental company they use. Renting a car that is of similar size to yours from that specific company will make the reimbursement process much simpler if you file a claim later.
As we mentioned above, insurance companies may claim there is a rental limit of $10-15 a day. This is false. However, it is a good idea to rent a vehicle for $30 or less per day if you hope to be reimbursed.
Totaled Vehicles and Total Loss Claims
If your car has sustained significant damage, it is smart to begin seeking a permanent replacement vehicle as soon as possible. The insurance company will probably require you to return the rental vehicle quickly once your car is declared to be totaled.
In some cases, your vehicle may be declared to be a “total loss.” In situations like this, you have the option to file a total loss claim. When this happens, your insurance company will compensate you for the vehicle’s value instead of paying for repairs.
Under Texas state law, insurance companies must compensate you based on a “fair market value” for your totaled vehicle. But it is important to note that if you are leasing your car or paying off a car loan when it is totaled, the total loss reimbursement will go to the lienholder for the vehicle.
It can be incredibly difficult to secure transportation when your car has been damaged in an accident. If you are dealing with an uncooperative insurance provider, contact an experienced legal professional to determine the best options for your specific circumstances.