What if You’re Not At-Fault for a Rental Car Accident?

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Jan Reburiano

If you’re not at-fault for a rental car accident, you may pursue a car accident claim to cover your damages. You can use rental car reimbursement coverage for the initial repair costs, but taking legal action against the guilty party may increase your chances of a higher settlement.

If the rental car accident was the other driver’s fault, even if you have rental coverage, their insurance should pay for the cost of your rental car. Using the other driver’s insurance is a good option to avoid raising your insurance rates by filing a claim. 

To have your rental car covered by the other insurance company, you need to file a claim and provide proof that the other driver was at-fault. In this case, insurance companies generally cover the cost of rental cars for a limited time, about 30 days

Insurance companies will often deny or reject rental car claims and dispute who was responsible for the accident. They can also take a long time to process claims, leaving you without payment while waiting for your settlement.

If you want to pursue a rental car lawsuit, you need an auto accident attorney who knows your state’s laws in-and-out. Different states have different at-fault insurance laws. You need a professional in your area who knows the specific laws about vehicle accidents in your state.

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What to Do After a Rental Car Accident

Just like all car accidents, the first thing to do after a rental car accident is to check for injuries. Don’t be afraid to call 911 if immediate medical assistance is needed, if able. If you can, pull over to the side to prevent yourself from blocking traffic.

Most states require you to notify the police after accidents involving bodily injury or heavy property damage, so call them just in case.

Exchange the following information with the other driver for your attorney to use in your rental car accident claim. Your insurance company, the rental car company, your attorney, and yourself will thank you later.

  • Driver’s name, address, and phone number
  • License plate number and registration
  • Drivers license number
  • Insurance company and policy number

Another benefit to calling the police is acquiring a police report to further establish liability. Police reports contain an objective point-of-view of the accident with diagrams and pictures to show liability. If any party falsely claims you were liable when exchanging information, you can show the police report to prove them otherwise.

When talking with the other driver, avoid saying anything that implies you were liable for the crash, like “I’m sorry” or “I should’ve driven better”. Avoid signing any agreements like car accident release forms or agreeing to pay for their damages. Let the attorneys handle liability, to maximize the amount you’ll gain for your settlement.

Who to Call After a Rental Car Accident

Inform your rental car company as soon as possible after a rental car crash. They usually have a number located inside the car in which you can call them. Ask them about their process on dealing with accidents. Oftentimes they’ll give you an incident report requiring the same information as what you collected above.

The next person to call is your insurance company. Even if you’re not at-fault for the accident, your insurance company is required to know when you get into an accident.

Avoid accepting any deals from your insurance company before talking to an auto accident attorney. You may get a better deal when pursuing damages against the other party’s insurance company instead.

Who Pays for the Rental Car Accident?

If you’re not at-fault, the responsible party’s insurance company will pay for the damages after your rental car accident. Their insurance will also pay for your replacement rental car if your current one is too damaged and needs repairs.

Their insurance company may stall payments in order to solidify each party’s liability. If your policy allows, you can rely on your insurance company’s rental car reimbursement coverage to cover immediate costs. Don’t worry about the payments, because you’ll be reimbursed by the other party’s insurance if you’re not at-fault.

Determining who’s at-fault may be tricky, and it’s possible for multiple parties to be at-fault, depending on the type of car accident you suffered. If liability isn’t clear-cut, talk to your auto accident attorney before proceeding further. They should know when to rely on your policy for coverage, or when to wait for compensation from the other party.

What if the At-Fault Driver Was Uninsured?

Getting compensation from an uninsured driver is much trickier, as most states, like Indiana, require insurance. If you’re caught driving without insurance in these states, you may be fined and charged a misdemeanor.

(a) A person that knowingly:

(1) operates; or

(2) permits the operation of;

a motor vehicle on a public highway in Indiana without financial responsibility in effect as set forth in IC 9-25-4-4 commits a Class A infraction. However, the offense is a Class C misdemeanor if the person knowingly or intentionally violates this section and has a prior unrelated conviction or judgment under this section.

IN Code § 9-25-8-2

If you find yourself in a rental car crash and the at-fault driver was uninsured, you may pursue a claim against them with an auto accident attorney.

Getting adequate compensation from them may be difficult, but they may provide other sources to make up for your damages. They may face income garnishment, or required to sell their belongings to pay for the difference.

Your insurance policy may have uninsured motorist coverage (UIM) to pay for the difference. States like Idaho require UIM for every policy, equal to the state’s minimum liability insurance amounts. This type of insurance may pay for damages while you’re settling your claim.

What Rental Car Do I Get?

Your replacement rental will typically be the same type of car you were driving before the accident. If you were driving an SUV, expect your insurance to pay for a similar type of SUV as a replacement.

Insurance companies may try to lowball you by offering the cheapest car possible. Avoid this by talking with your auto accident attorney. Further negotiations may get you the rental car you deserve.

Many insurance companies put a limit on the number of days they will cover (usually 30 days) and the type of vehicle you can rent. It is best to check your policy to see exactly what is covered, or you could end up paying out of pocket.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Rental Car After an Accident?

The amount of time it takes to get a rental car after an accident changes on a case-by-case basis. If you have rental car reimbursement coverage, you can contact your insurance company and have your car ready on-call.

If you’re sure you’re not at-fault, you can save your rental car receipt so the other party’s insurance company can pay for it. Be careful, because if liability is not clear, you may not get your money back. Insurance companies usually stall for weeks if liability is in doubt, so you may get your money back when everything is settled.

Find an Auto Accident Attorney ASAP For Your Rental Car Accident

Sometimes, your only choice to get rental car compensation is through a vehicle accident lawsuit. An auto accident lawsuit through an experienced auto accident lawyer means your lawyer can handle the filing and negotiations with the insurance company. They understand the process and can get the best result for your case.

To find an experienced auto accident lawyer in your area to help with your vehicle accident lawsuit, contact LegalASAP. We have a network of trustworthy lawyers who can review your case for free. Don’t wait. Speak with an auto accident lawyer today!

Jan Reburiano is a content writer and SEO specialist for law firms focusing on personal injury, disability, employment law, among other practices. He has written and edited numerous articles and created commercial spots for broadcasters that you can find in his LinkedIn. Jan currently lives in Los Angeles, California while writing for clients from around the United States.