There are few things that are less convenient in life than being in a car accident. Even if you walk away unscathed, you will be dealing with a myriad of inconveniences for weeks — or months to come. If your car was damaged to the point that it requires repairs, that will likely include needing to get a rental car.
After an accident, you’ll need to be able to get around to do the errands and tasks of everyday life: going to work or school, getting groceries, and taking care of your kids. That is why a rental car is often necessary after a car accident, particularly if you don’t live in an area of the country where public transportation is easily accessible.
For many people, the question then becomes who pays for the rental car. Do you have to pay out of your own pocket, or does an insurance company pay for it? If so, how does that work?
As a seasoned Philadelphia car accident lawyer can explain, there are three ways that a rental car may be paid for after a motor vehicle collision. The details depend on the facts of the case, including the type of insurance that you have and whether the at-fault insurance company is willing to pay for the rental car. Learn more by reading below.
Option One: Your Own Insurance
Many drivers in Pennsylvania carry Rental Car Reimbursement on their insurance policy. This is a relatively inexpensive add-on to your car insurance that will pay for a car rental up to the limits of your policy after an accident. Generally, you will be allowed to use your rental vehicle until your car is repaired or you receive a settlement check.
It is important to check with your insurance agent about the details of your reimbursement plan. As a rule, this type of coverage will have time limits for rental car coverage, and may also have a cap on mileage and the type of vehicle that you can rent.
Using the Rental Car Reimbursement policy is simple. Just go to the office of a rental car agency after contacting your insurance company. Provide them with your claim number and insurance information; they will submit the claim to the insurance company on your behalf.
Option Two: The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance
If you don’t have Rental Car Reimbursement, then you can seek coverage for a rental car through the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If their driver was obviously to blame for the accident, then the insurance company may make arrangements to provide you with a rental car. In most cases, you will be required to handle most of the details to get a rental car through the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
When you call the insurance company, ask detailed questions about the limits and conditions of the coverage for the rental. If you fail to do so, then you may be required to pay for part of the bill if you go over the mileage or day limit or pick a car that is not covered. Confirm that the cost is covered before you go to pick up the rental car.
After discussing this information with the insurance company, write down the claim number and the rental information before going to the rental car company. Do not use your own money to rent the car in this scenario. Instead, ask the rental car company to submit the claim to the insurance company for you.
Option Three: Self-Pay
If neither your insurance company nor the at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay for the rental car, then your final option is to pay for the car yourself. This may occur in situations where liability is not clear and you do not have Rental Car Reimbursement on your own policy. In this case, you may need a vehicle to get to work or elsewhere, and paying for a rental may be your best choice until the legal issues are resolved.
If this occurs, put the car rental on your credit card. When it is time to settle your personal injury claim against the at-fault driver, your attorney can include the charges for your rental vehicle. The insurance company will be held responsible for these charges, as it is liable for not just personal injuries, but all damages that result from the accident.
How a Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you have been in a car accident, you may be confused about the next steps. Even something as simple as how to go about getting a rental car may seem overwhelming when you are already dealing with injuries, pain, lost wages, and more. Solnick & Associates is here to help.
Our team of experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyers will stand by your side through the process, aggressively advocating for you so that you can achieve the best possible outcome. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation, call our office today at (215) 481-9979, or contact us online.