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Who Pays for Rental Car After Accident?

July 29, 2019

If a car accident leaves you without a vehicle during repairs, renting a car could be the most efficient way to get around. You might not have to pay out of pocket for your rental car, however. Depending on the situation, your insurance policy or the other party’s insurer may cover the expenses of a rental while you wait to get your vehicle back. Finding out who will pay for your rental may take a conversation with a car accident attorney.

An Insurance Company

Your first outlet for potential rental car compensation will be the other party’s insurance company. Since 2003, Colorado has used fault-based insurance laws to determine liability in car accident cases. Before 2003, Colorado was one of only a few states to use no-fault insurance laws. In a no-fault state, each driver will seek benefits from his or her insurance company, regardless of fault. Today, however, the driver that causes the accident will be liable for damages.

First, gather information such as the other driver’s name and insurance information. Then, get medical help for any injuries. Once you are in a safe place, call the driver’s insurance company to report an accident and file a claim for damages. Include the need for a rental vehicle in your claim. Depending on the other driver’s coverage, his or her insurance company may pay for the costs of your rental car. Most paid-for rentals are equivalents to your vehicle. If you drive an economy vehicle, for example, do not expect the insurer to pay for a sports car rental.

Your Rental Car Insurance

If the other driver does not have insurance, you were in a hit-and-run accident or the other driver’s insurance company will not cover the costs of a rental car, turn to your insurer for compensation instead. Filing a claim with your insurance company could lead to a payout for the costs of your vehicle repairs, lost wages, medical bills and other out-of-pocket costs such as car rentals.

Your insurer may cover the costs of a rental if you have rental car insurance. This is an optional type of coverage in Colorado you might have turned down. You might have it through collision, comprehensive or liability insurance coverage. If you recover compensation for a rental car through any insurance company, you might have to first pay for the rental yourself. Then, the insurance company will reimburse you for what you spent in the form of a settlement check later.

Some insurance companies work directly with rental car companies. If this is the case, you might not have to use your own money to pay for a rental. Instead, your insurance company will send you to a specific rental car partner. You will receive a rental for $0 out of pocket. The rental company will bill your insurance provider directly rather than billing you. Then, you can drive the rental while your insurance company deals with the payment.

Rental Fees as Part of a Settlement

Whether or not someone else pays for your rental car expenses at the time of the accident, you could receive reimbursement for the costs later through a settlement. An insurance settlement from the at-fault party’s insurer could include compensation for what you paid to rent a car while yours was in the shop. If the insurance company refuses to settle your case for what you or your personal injury lawyer believe it to be worth, you might be able to take the defendant to court.

A successful accident trial could result in a judgment award that includes payment for a rental car. A trial could also end in compensation for physical pain, emotional suffering, mental anguish, property damage repairs, lost income and medical bills. A lawyer could help you determine fault, evaluate your damages and file an injury claim within Colorado’s three-year deadline. If you had to pay for a rental car yourself, your lawyer could list this expense as part of your desired compensation.