Who Pays for a Rental Car After an Accident?

by Eric Chaffin | Last Updated: April 30, 2021

Who pays for your rental car, after an accident, depends on who is at-fault for the crash. If the other driver is responsible for the collision, their car insurance should pay for the rental, but if you are at fault, payments come out of your pocket or via your insurance policy.

Much depends on whether you purchased a car rental option with your policy. Your insurance agent will let you know whether you have such coverage, but you cannot add it after an accident.

For most people, not having access to a car for more than a day or so can severely affect their ability to work, care for family members, and perform other daily tasks. A Pittsburgh Car Crash Lawyer at Chaffin Luhana can also deal with insurance companies and assist in obtaining a rental car for you. 

Where to file the claim

You need a rental car right away, so that plays a role in where you file a claim. If you have rental car insurance, going through your insurer generally means faster claim processing, so you should have a car at your disposal more quickly.

While the at-fault driver’s insurance company should pay for your vehicle rental while your car is in the repair shop, it will also thoroughly investigate the claim to ensure its customer was indeed responsible for the crash. That task could take a week or more, leaving you without a vehicle in the meantime.

Other considerations

Keep in mind that your rental car insurance applies only to the amount of coverage you purchased. If your vehicle repairs are going to take a long time, you could run past the policy maximum.

Insurers generally offer a maximum per diem rate for a car rental, along with a maximum coverage amount. If the maximum rate is not that high, you will end up with either a smaller vehicle than you might like or pay the difference for another rental out-of-pocket.

You can recover your out-of-pocket costs from the at-fault driver. If you do opt to have the other driver’s insurer pay for your rental car expenses even if it means some delay, there is also no limit on how long the other insurance company must pay for this rental.

The rental car company may ask you to purchase additional insurance for the rented auto. If you purchased collision coverage through your insurance policy, this additional insurance is not necessary.

Comparable vehicles

If driving a vehicle comparable to your own is essential, using the at-fault driver’s insurance company is probably your best action. What your insurer provides you with– depends on your rental car coverage and policy maximum.

However, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is required to accommodate you with a vehicle that is comparable to yours.

The totaled car

If the at-fault driver totaled your car, meaning its value is not sufficient to justify the cost of repairs, the situation changes. Under such circumstances, the at-fault driver’s insurance company should offer a settlement within several days post-accident.

After offering the settlement, the insurance company will probably not authorize a vehicle rental for more than a few days. If you accept this offer, you should purchase or lease a new car as soon as possible, so that you do not end up paying car rental fees on your own for a long period.

If you do not think the insurer is offering a fair value for your totaled vehicle and have evidence to prove they are not valuing it correctly, you should obtain legal advice on how to proceed.

Contact a Pittsburgh Car Crash Lawyer

If you were involved in a car accident caused by another driver’s reckless or negligent behavior, you need the services of our experienced team at Chaffin Luhana. We offer free consultations, so call us 24/7 or contact us online.

We can negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company on your behalf over car rentals, the value of a totaled vehicle if there is a dispute, and other issues relating to the accident. We can also handle any claims relating to personal injury from the collision.