If your vehicle is damaged in an accident with a negligent driver, that driver’s insurance carrier is responsible to pay for your rental vehicle while your vehicle is undriveable or being repaired. If, however, your vehicle is drivable (and safe to drive), the adverse carrier will compensate you for a rental only while your vehicle is in the auto body shop actively being repaired.
It, oftentimes, takes an adverse insurance carrier a week or two to get up to speed to accept responsibility for the accident. They will need to talk to the insured driver, interview eyewitnesses to the accident and obtain a copy of the police accident report. During this delay, you may rent a vehicle on your own and pay for the rental fee. Assuming that the carrier ultimately accepts responsibility, they will reimburse you a reasonable daily rental fee (usually between $30.00 and $60.00 per day). This usually means that you should rent a compact/economy car or you may be stuck with part of the rental fee. Adverse carriers do not pay for gas charges or your purchase of insurance on the rental.
If you can wait for the adverse carrier to accept responsibility, most will place you in a direct bill rental where the carrier sets up the rental and pays the rental company directly.
If you have purchased rental coverage from your own insurance company, you may also obtain a rental without waiting for the at-fault party to accept liability. If you choose to use your own policy for a rental vehicle, you must remember that most policies have a maximum time period (often 30 days) and also a maximum per day ($40-$50 per day) that they will cover. This means, if your rental vehicle costs more than the coverage available with your insurance, you will need to pay the remainder from your own pocket. But, you may be able to recover the out of pocket expenses from the at-fault party’s insurance once they have accepted liability.
Once your rental is returned to the rental company, your insurance company will begin their subrogation procedure (to recover all (or some) of the rental costs).
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, motorcycle accident or pedestrian accident, reach out to the experienced lawyers at Select Law. With our extensive experience in the legal field, we know what it takes to win your case. Call us at (206) 237-8383 to arrange your FREE CONSULTATION with an experienced attorney (in person, phone, zoom or your residence/hospital)
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