How Long Will Insurance Pay for Rental Car After Accident

Will Insurance Pay for My Rental Car After a Car Accident?

Being involved in a car accident is stressful enough without having to worry about how you’ll get around while your vehicle is being repaired or replaced. If you depend on your car for daily transportation, securing a rental car is likely one of your top priorities.

But who pays for that rental – you or the insurance company? The answer depends on several factors, including your specific insurance coverage and who was at fault for the accident.

First, Check Your Car Insurance Coverage

The first thing to understand is what your own car insurance policy covers. If you have rental reimbursement coverage, your insurance company will pay for a rental car up to the limits of your policy, regardless of who caused the crash. This coverage is optional, though, so you’ll need to check your policy or contact your agent to see if you have it.

Negotiate With The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance

If the other driver was at fault for the accident, their liability insurance should cover your rental car. In West Virginia, drivers must carry at least $25,000 in property damage liability coverage.

If the at-fault driver is insured and their company accepts liability, they should arrange and pay for your rental car directly. However, insurance companies are businesses, and they often look for ways to avoid paying claims. They may try to shift blame for the accident onto you to deny the claim. If liability is disputed, getting a rental car can be delayed.

To protect your right to a rental car and other compensation, be cautious about what you say to the other driver’s insurer. Even an offhand comment could be used to pin fault on you. Also, be mindful of what you post on social media, as insurers may scour your accounts for anything they can use against you.

When Fault is Being Disputed After a Car Accident

If there’s any doubt about who caused the crash, you’ll need to gather evidence to support your side of the story. Some key things to do at the scene include:

  • Take photos of the damage to both cars, skid marks, road conditions, etc.
  • Get contact and insurance information from the other driver
  • Talk to witnesses and get their contact info
  • Call the police and get a copy of their accident report

If the other driver’s insurer is dragging their feet on accepting liability, you can use this evidence to push back. It’s often helpful to have an experienced car accident lawyer deal with the insurer on your behalf. They can argue your case and put pressure on the company to do the right thing.

How Long Will Insurance Pay for a Rental Car?

If an insurer does agree to pay for your rental, how long will that coverage last? It depends on your situation. Here are some common scenarios:

  • If your car is being repaired, the insurer will usually cover the rental for a “reasonable” time while repairs are made. This can vary based on the extent of the damage and the time needed to complete repairs.
  • If your car is totaled (repairs would cost more than the car is worth), the insurer will typically pay for a rental from the date of the accident until they make a settlement offer on your totaled vehicle, plus a few extra days to allow you to purchase a replacement. This period is often around 7-14 days.
  • If you’re using your own rental coverage, you’ll be limited either by a set coverage period (like 30 days) or your maximum coverage amount, whichever comes first.

In any case, the insurer will only pay for a rental car that is comparable to your own vehicle. If you choose to rent a more luxurious car, you’ll have to pay the difference yourself.

What If the Insurance Company Is Uncooperative?

Unfortunately, even when fault seems obvious, insurance companies can make the rental process difficult. They may unreasonably delay their liability decision, lowball your settlement offer, or stop paying for your rental before you’ve secured a replacement vehicle.

If you’re getting the runaround from an insurer, you don’t have to deal with it alone. A knowledgeable car accident attorney can be your advocate and handle all the negotiations with the insurer. They can work to get you a rental car as quickly as possible and make sure the insurer doesn’t cut off your rental prematurely. And if your claim is wrongfully denied, a lawyer can file a lawsuit to get you the compensation you deserve.

Getting Help with Rental Car Coverage After an Accident

Figuring out rental car coverage after an accident can be complicated. It depends on your own insurance, the at-fault driver’s coverage, and the willingness of the insurers to pay. The key is understanding your coverage and asserting your rights to the insurer.

If you’re struggling to get a rental car after a West Virginia crash, the car accident attorneys at Miley Legal are here to help. We can deal with the insurance company, make sure you have transportation, and fight to get you maximum compensation for your damages. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Author Bio

Tim Miley is the Founder of Miley Legal Accident Injury Lawyers, a West Virginia personal injury law firm he formed in 2006. With more than 30 years of experience in personal injury law, he is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of personal injury cases, including car accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, brain injuries, wrongful death, and other personal injury matters.

Tim received his Juris Doctor from Duquesne University and is a member of the West Virginia State Bar and the Harrison County Bar Association. He has helped his clients win more than $10 million in personal injury verdicts and settlements and has further served the people of West Virginia by filling legislative roles in the state’s government since 2004.

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