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Whose Insurance Pays for Rental Car Costs After a Car Crash?

Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on Jan 28, 2022  in Car Accidents News

woman handing a man a rental car's keys If you were involved in an accident that left your vehicle badly damaged, you may be wondering what your options are for getting a temporary replacement vehicle while yours is being repaired.

You may be able to use your own insurance coverage, but you may also be able to get the other driver’s insurance to cover your rental car costs.

Our experienced New Jersey auto collision lawyers are prepared to review your claim to see how we may be able to help you get your rental car costs and other damages covered.

Below, we discuss who should be liable for the costs of renting a vehicle and what your options may be if the insurance company refuses to pay.

Does the Liable Insurance Have to Pay?

Under New Jersey auto insurance law, an at-fault driver’s insurance company is required to reimburse the victim for the cost of renting a car. That said, the liable insurance company is not required to commit to making payments until it is reasonably clear their policyholder is at fault for the crash.

It is important to note, the liable insurer is only required to pay for a rental car or substitute transportation for the period when the vehicle is being repaired. If your vehicle is a total loss, the insurance company may be required to reimburse you for rental car costs until the claim is settled.

Usually, the insurance adjuster will be in contact with you about the details of your vehicle rental. Be sure to keep the conversation about the rental, as you do not want to discuss anything about your injuries or the facts of the accident.

New Jersey law does not specify the type of vehicle the liable insurance company is required to pay for. Typically, insurers will reimburse you for a vehicle that is like the one you were driving before. If an insurance company is only going to pay a certain amount per day, they must tell you where you can go to rent a car for that amount.  

What Are my Options if the Liable Insurance Refuses to Pay?

In some cases, liability may not be apparent, and the insurance company may refuse to cover the costs of renting a vehicle. Fortunately, you may still have some options available to you to recover these costs or have them paid up front.

You may be able to file a first-party claim with your own insurance company if you have a rental car coverage option on your policy. This insurance add-on is usually encouraged for these types of situations.

You may be able to get the liable insurance company to reimburse you after the claim is resolved. You may need to pay up front for the rental car. However, some rental car companies offer discounts to those renting a car because the other car they drive was damaged in a crash. You would need to research rental car companies to see what discounts may be available.

Mistakes to Avoid When Renting a Vehicle

If you are able to get your insurance company or the at-fault driver’s insurance company to cover the costs of renting a vehicle while yours is being repaired, it is important to keep a few things in mind.

The type of vehicle you rent should be similar to the one that was crashed. Just as the insurance company cannot skimp on a compact vehicle if you have an SUV, you also cannot expect to be given a luxury vehicle if you drive an older model. If you try to upgrade, you may need to pay the additional cost not covered by insurance.

You should also know that the period for which you are given a vehicle varies depending on how long it will take to repair your damaged vehicle. If your vehicle was totaled and you need to replace it, the insurance company may only cover rental costs for a few days. It is important that you ask, and are told explicitly, how long you have the vehicle contracted. Remember that the cost of using the vehicle for any extra time will be billed to you.

You may also want to talk to the insurance company about the limits of your rental car coverage. You may want to purchase additional coverage from the rental car company if you can afford it.

Let Us Help. Call Today

If you need help filing a claim after an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, our attorneys are prepared to help.

We offer a free consultation and do not charge you anything up front. We only get paid if we successfully recover compensation on your behalf. There is no risk to you.

Call (800) 518-0508 to learn more. 

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