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Is the Liable Party Responsible for Providing a Rental Car While the Vehicle is Being Repaired?

You’ve just been in a car accident in Phoenix. The collision rendered your car unable to return to the road until it undergoes repairs. While your vehicle is at the shop, however, you still need to get around. Renting a car for days or weeks can result in several hundred dollars in expenses. Who will pay for your rental car so that you can continue to drive to work? Here’s what you need to know about the cost of a rental in the interim between a crash and repairs.

Coverage from Your Car Insurance Company

If you were at fault for the crash, you may still be eligible for rental car coverage through your own insurance policy. This will be the case if you have purchased rental vehicle reimbursement coverage. This is an optional type of coverage that typically only costs $1 to $2 extra per month on car insurance policies. Review your insurance policy or call your agent to ask if you have this type of coverage. If so, your own insurer will provide a rental car for you while your vehicle gets repairs.

Coverage from your own company may also apply if you need a rental after someone steals your car, vandalizes it, or severe weather damages it. It will not apply, however, if you want to rent a car for a vacation or while your vehicle undergoes routine maintenance. Keep in mind that most insurance companies have rental cost limits. Check your policy before you rent your interim vehicle to make sure you don’t go over this limit.

Coverage from Another Liable Party

If you weren’t at fault for the crash, the party who is liable may end up covering the cost of your rental. Exchange information with the driver who caused the collision, making sure to get insurance information. After you file your claim with the insurance company, the liable party’s insurer should pay for your rental car. How fast you receive this payment can depend on how soon you file the claim and how fast the company processes it. You may need to pay out of pocket for the rental and receive a reimbursement from the company later.

The insurance company will be able to give you details about this type of coverage, such as what kind of rental you can choose and for how long it can be used. You will typically be able to rent a vehicle similar to your own. For example, if you normally drive an economy car you may not be able to rent an expensive sports car using insurance coverage. Find out exactly what the policy covers before choosing your rental. Also learn if the insurer covers damages to the rental car before you purchase collision damage insurance from the rental company.

What if the Other Driver Doesn't Have Insurance

In particularly unlucky situations, you may be in a collision with an uninsured driver. In this case, you can request rental car coverage through your own insurance company even if you weren’t at fault for the crash. You may also be able to recover the cost of a rental through purchased uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, if you have this on your policy. If you end up paying for a rental vehicle yourself following an accident, an attorney may be able to help you recover these expenses in a subsequent insurance or personal injury claim.


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