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Do Insurance Companies Pay for Rental Cars?

Posted on January 14, 2020 in Car Accidents

Renting a car may be a necessity if you crash your own vehicle. While you wait for repairs or a check to replace the car from an insurance company, you may need to drive a rental. Your insurance company may or may not cover the costs of a rental depending on your policy. Receiving reimbursement for a rental car after an accident depends on the circumstances of the crash, fault, and insurance coverage.

Rental Reimbursement Insurance

If you need to rent a car to get around while yours is in the shop post-accident, ask your insurance agent if your policy will cover the costs of a rental. Your insurer will only pay for a rental replacement car after a crash if you have the right type of coverage. California insurance laws do not require this type of coverage. You only need $15,000/$30,000 in bodily injury liability per person/accident and 5,000 in property damage liability. You would have had to purchase additional insurance, therefore, to receive rental car coverage.

Find this type of coverage listed under available insurance when purchasing or adding to your policy: Rental Car Insurance. For a small extra fee added to your insurance premiums, you can purchase insurance that will pay for your rental vehicle after an at-fault crash. If you have to wait to finish a claim and purchase a new car with the settlement check, for example, the costs of renting a vehicle for multiple weeks can be steep. If you added rental insurance to your policy, your out-of-pocket costs could be $0.

If you never added rental car insurance to your policy, you may not be eligible for rental reimbursement after an auto accident. An exception exists, however, if someone else caused the crash. If another driver caused the accident, his or her insurance company may lawfully have to reimburse you for a vehicle rental. You may have to pay out of pocket until you can settle your claim and receive reimbursement unless you eliminate the waiting period by buying your own rental replacement insurance.

What to Do After an Accident

Take the right steps to ensure you do not have to pay out of pocket for a rental vehicle after a crash that damages or totals your car. First, remain at the scene and report the collision to the police. Submit a crash report to the California Highway Patrol or the local police to create an official record of the accident. Take photographs of the damage to your vehicle before sending it to the repair shop. Then, get medical care for your injuries. Once you receive medical attention, contact the correct insurance company to file a claim.

California is a fault state in terms of car insurance and vehicle collisions. The driver or party at fault for causing your accident will be responsible for paying your damages. Call that driver’s insurance company to report your losses. Supply supporting documents such as medical records and repair shop estimates to get a fair settlement offer. If you need to rent a car, include this as part of your claim. You can receive reimbursement for rental expenses in a few different ways.

The insurance company may send you to a rental car company it has partnered with for a free rental car. You will not need to pay anything upfront to rent the vehicle. The rental company will communicate directly with the insurer to settle the balance. In other cases, you may have to pay out of pocket upfront to rent the car, then list this as one of your expenses during settlement negotiations for reimbursement later. A third scenario is if you have rental reimbursement insurance on your policy. In this case, you will request reimbursement directly from your insurer to receive it instantly – thus avoiding paying out of pocket. Your insurer will then contact the at-fault driver’s insurer for reimbursement. Work with a skilled Los Angeles auto accident lawyer if you need help securing coverage for a rental after a car accident.