How to Get Rental Car After an Accident

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If you’ve been involved in a car accident that requires you to get a rental car to continue your daily life, the process can often be more complicated than you would expect. Another frustration for drivers involved in accidents is dealing with the insurance companies when they’re trying to get a replacement vehicle while their claim is being processed. There are many actions that you need to complete after an accident, but being able to compute is essential.

If you’re having difficulty finding a rental car and are unable to afford the cost until your car is fixed, contact a car accident attorney at Sutliff & Stout. We are proud to offer dependable and honest legal services that you can count on to represent you. Filing a car accident claim and seeking compensation for the damages you suffer can help you through the aftermath of a serious car accident.

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    How to Get A Rental Car Through The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company

    If the car accident wasn’t your fault and you are unable to pay for the rental car, you have the option of filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company to provide you with a rental car until your car is fixed. Oftentimes insurance companies will tell you that they need a recorded statement from you about your accident to determine whether they will accept responsibility, and say that it’s a requirement to get you a rental car.

    This is in fact not a requirement, and you should avoid providing any written or recorded statements about your accident. Insurance adjusters have been known to ask questions in ways that likely lead to answers that are favorable to them in the claims process and, not necessarily, fair to you. The insurance company can also say that it needs to speak to its customer, the at-fault driver, about the accident before it will accept responsibility. If the at-fault driver does not tell the truth about the accident, it can substantially delay your claim and you getting your rental car. We’ve seen both of these scenarios play out with our clients.

    Should I Contact My Insurance Company for a Rental Car?

    Many drivers think that their insurance company will automatically cover the cost of a rental car if they’ve been in an accident that’s not their fault, but that’s not the case. In most modern car insurance policies, drivers have to opt-in and pay extra for rental car coverage, which is usually very inexpensive, $1 to $2 extra per month. Despite the low cost, drivers often still choose not to get rental car coverage because they think they’ll never need it.

    If you do have rental car coverage under your car insurance policy, it will be much easier and hassle-free to get your rental car through your own insurance company, even if the accident wasn’t your fault. In fact, you should be able to get approved for a rental car right away. Under Texas law, you’re entitled to rent a vehicle that is of similar size and make as the one you’re replacing. For example, if you’re replacing a van or SUV because you take your children to school, you’re entitled to a similar replacement.

    What Happens If You Wreck A Rental Car With Insurance?

    If you have an active policy and it extends to your rental, then your insurer should cover the damages. Alternatively, many renters purchase a collision damage waiver (CDW) at the time of the rental. This policy shifts responsibility to the rental company in the event of an accident. This policy typically covers bodywork for damaged rentals. It’s recommended to contact your insurance provider before you rent to confirm if your existing policy will cover your rental.

    If the opposing driver was found responsible for the crash, they would be responsible for the damages to your rental vehicle. Communication with your rental company and the insurance provider would be key in scenarios like this.

    How Does a Total Loss Claim Affect My Ability to Rent a Car?

    Your car insurance company can declare your vehicle a “total loss” when the cost to fix your car exceeds the cost of your car’s worth, or what they call “actual cash value.” Companies must follow certain state laws — in Texas, they must use fair market value for their analysis when making total loss determinations.

    When you file for a total loss claim your car insurance company will pay you the fair market value of your totaled car, including depreciation. If you choose not to dispute this claim, you can choose to receive a full settlement according to the fair market value and forfeit the car to the insurance company. You can also choose to get a partial settlement, in which you can keep the totaled car and either repair it or sell it yourself, or you can donate it to charity and receive a tax write-off.

    If you have a loan or lease for your car when it’s declared totaled, the cash settlement won’t go to you, but the lienholder of the car, such as your banking institution. In the case that you’re “underwater” or “upside down” on your car loan, which means that you owe the lender more than what the car is worth according to fair market value, your “gap coverage” in your insurance policy can help you pick up the check — if you have this type of coverage. Gap insurance protects you from having to pay the difference in this instance.

    If you still have questions about your entitlement to a rental car or are facing a difficult financial situation and want to know all of your options, contact a trusted legal professional that can help you evaluate all of your options to help you get your life back on track.

    What Types of Compensation Are You Eligible to Receive after a Car Accident in Texas?

    There are many losses that a car accident can inflict upon another individual. If you were in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you have the right to seek compensation for the damages you incur. When you’re in need of a rental car, that can be included in the compensation due to the loss of your vehicle. Some of the other types of compensation you can receive include:

    • Property damage
    • Lost wages or income
    • Treatment and hospital bills
    • Physical therapy and rehabilitation expenses
    • Cost of prescription medication
    • Pain and suffering
    • Loss of enjoyment of life
    • Punitive damages

    A car accident attorney can assist with gathering evidence, building your claim, and advocating for your interests. Your car and mobility are an important aspect of you and your family’s life. Without the ability to drive to work, school, and even the grocery store, you may feel overwhelmed. Talking with an experienced car accident lawyer can significantly relieve some of the burdens on your shoulders.

    Can You Add Rental Car Insurance After An Accident?

    You can technically add rental insurance following a car accident, but it will not offer coverage for your prior accident. Traditionally, insurance will only cover you in an accident that takes place after the policy start date. 

    In the event of an accident that renders your rental undrivable or heavily damaged, rental car reimbursement coverage may be used to cover the cost of repairs. This coverage option is usually optional and can be added to your policy at the time of vehicle reservation. Talk to your rental agent the next time, as they would be the best source of information about this coverage option.

    Contact an Experienced Texas Car Accident Attorney Today

    As a leading injury and accident law firm, we know that there can still be financial difficulty from the accident, and you want to know all the options available to you. With over 30 years of experience, Sutliff & Stout can deliver the results and compensation that you deserve. Our goal is to provide you with the necessary tools and equipment to go about your daily life. We want to get you back to the important moments in life and driving is an essential part of most people’s lives, especially those with families.

    Call (713) 987-7111 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation or talk with one of our team members today.

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