Almost any time you are involved in an automobile accident there is resulting property damage that will need to be fixed, even in minor impact collisions. This means your car will have to go into the repair shop for a period of time and you will essentially be without a vehicle. On top of that, it will often take some time for an insurance company to issue a check for your property damage (assuming you are not at fault for the accident). This article will hopefully shed some light on what you can do to help get a rental car and what your options are after a motor vehicle accident while your car is getting repaired.
In large part, whether or not you will be able to get a rental car paid for after your accident will depend on whether or not the at-fault driver’s insurance company immediately accepts or denies liability for the accident. There may be a period of time where the insurance company may not immediately accept liability, but rather decides to wait and make a decision on liability until an investigation is completed. In that event, your own insurance policy may cover you for a short period of time.
If The At-fault Driver’s Insurance Company Accepts Responsibility
In the best-case scenario, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will immediately accept responsibility for the accident and cover the cost of a rental vehicle while our car is being repaired. Some insurance companies will claim that they are accepting responsibility for the accident but will only provide you a rental vehicle for a definite period of time. If your own vehicle takes longer to be fixed, you will need to battle with the insurance company about the length they will provide the rental car. In short, the at-fault driver’s insurance is responsible for all causally related expenses, even if your vehicle takes longer then they claim to get fixed.
If The Insurance Company Decides To Wait And Make A Decision
Many times after a car accident the insurance company will want to conduct an investigation into the accident to determine who was at fault before they make a decision about liability. This will include obtaining a copy of the accident report and speaking to any witnesses about the accident, including their own insured (the alleged at-fault driver) and potentially trying to get a recorded statement from you.
Unfortunately, this process will inevitably take some time and you will be forced to cover the cost of your rental vehicle out of your own pocket until the decision is made. This is certainly not ideal, but there really is no way around it. In the event the insurance company later accepts liability for the accident you will be reimbursed for the costs of your rental vehicle you had to pay. Even more unfortunate, having a lawyer in this particular situation won’t necessarily ease your trouble, as it is illegal and unethical for an attorney to cover your costs out of their own pocket
With that said, an attorney can help to keep pressure on the insurance company during the investigation process, and can even expedite the process in providing information to the insurance company to move the decision along as fast as possible. They can also make sure you are quickly reimbursed for all out of pocket expenses once a decision is made.
If The Insurance Company Denies Responsibility For The Accident
If the insurance company denies liability for the accident, your own insurance policy may provide you with a rental car for a certain period of time. This is not automatically included in all policies, but rather is an additional option you would have obtained when you initially purchased your policy. Again, however, generally under your own policy, they will only cover the cost for a certain period of time, perhaps thirty to sixty days, but this is certainly better than nothing and would provide you adequate time to speak with an attorney to discuss your options moving forward.
Speak With An Auto Accident Attorney in Charleston, SC
If you are having trouble dealing with the insurance company about getting a rental car after your accident, or maybe you need some help combing through the language of your own insurance policy to determine if it provides coverage for a rental car, feel free to contact our experienced car accident lawyer in Charleston, SC at 843-991-6528 to discuss your options.