My Car Was Totaled in a Car Accident. Will They Pay for My Rental?
If your car is not drivable because of another party’s negligence, they owe you for your property damage, which includes a rental car until they pay you for your car or your car is repaired.
You have the option of either going through your own insurance company or the other party’s insurance company. If you go through your own insurance company for rental, you must have rental coverage. If you do not have rental coverage, they will not pay you for the rental. If you do have coverage, they only pay for your rental while your car is getting repaired, or until they pay you for your car. Your insurance company will not give you extra days of rental to give you time to find a new car. Furthermore, your insurance company will only pay up to the amount of coverage that you have. If you have $30 a day for rental coverage, they will not pay for anything more than that.
If you go through the other party for your property damage, they other party’s insurance company most likely only pay you for your rental on a reimbursement basis. This means that you will have to come out of pocket for your rental while you wait for payment on your car or while your car is getting repaired. If you stall or delay on getting your car paid for or repaired, they will not pay for your rental during that time. You have a duty to mitigate your damages, which means that you must limit your damages as much as possible. For example, if your car is not drivable, you can not let the car sit in the tow yard while you’re in a rental and expect that the other party’s insurance company will pay you for your rental while the car sat in the tow yard.
Your job is to get your car paid for or repaired as quickly as possible. Then the insurance company will reimburse you for your rental. When you get your rental, keep in mind that they will only pay you for a similar make and model. Do not upgrade to a bigger or nicer car when you get a rental and expect them to pay for it. They won’t and they shouldn’t. They owe you for what your actual damages are, nothing more, but nothing less either.
If the other party does not have enough insurance coverage to pay you for your damages to your car and your rental, they will not reimburse you the full amount of your rental. This is important to keep in mind when you come out of pocket for a car. You will get reimbursed some of your money if there are limits issues, but not dollar for dollar.
In some circumstances the other party’s carrier will pay for your rental directly. When insurance companies do this, it makes the process a lot easier for everyone involved. Unfortunately, most insurance companies do not provide direct rentals because they don’t care about what is right or convenient, they care about saving as much money as possible. If they don’t pay for a direct rental, they limit their damages because a lot of people don’t make loss of use claims if there is no rental.
If you’ve been involved in a crash, [a car accident lawyer can] answer any questions or concerns that you might have.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lem Garcia
West Covina car accident law office, Lem Garcia Law, was opened to give people who were injured in a car accident a place to turn when they need help the most. I am a lifelong resident of West Covina and my goal is to help the area as much as I can. I am the youngest of three boys and the son of an engineer and hairstylist. I went to public schools in West Covina and went to college at Cal Poly Pomona. I went to law school in Western State University College of Law. I believe that by helping injured victims, I am making a difference in their lives.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.