After a car accident, it is likely that your vehicle is damaged or totaled and that you find yourself in need of a rental car, so that you can manage your daily obligations. If your vehicle is unable to be driven, you’re probably wondering who is responsible for paying for your rental car? When is the insurance company is going to pay for your repairs? If your car is totaled, when are they going to send you a check so you can buy a new car?
Rental Cars and Insurance
First things first, check your auto insurance policy and see if your insurance provides rental car coverage. This is included in some policies, and an optional add-on for other policies that provides you a rental car for use after an accident, if your vehicle is rendered un-drivable. You’ll need to make sure this coverage is on your policy BEFORE the wreck, otherwise it cannot be added afterwards, and you’ll be out of luck. If your policy includes rental car coverage, you need to let your insurance agent know you need one when you call them to report the wreck to your insurance immediately after your accident. They will typically make arrangements to get you a rental car right away, but in some cases may want to investigate the crash first. Once they authorize the rental, you will be able to use your rental car until they fix your vehicle, or cut you a check once its classified as totaled.
The at Fault Drivers Insurance
It’s also possible, in the event that your policy doesn’t cover a rental car, that the at fault driver’s insurance company will provide you a rental. The at fault driver is obligated in North Carolina to provide a rental car to the other driver. This is mostly done through the insurance company, who will be the one paying for the rental. This means that you must contact the at fault driver’s insurance to request a rental car after the accident, and don’t count on them offering this without prompting. The at fault insurance will most likely want to briefly investigate the accident before authorizing a rental as well.
The at Fault Drivers responsibility
If the at fault driver’s insurance won’t provide a rental car, the driver is still responsible for providing you a rental car if your vehicle is un-drivable. Often times, if their insurance denies to pay for the rental car, they will use that as an excuse for why they shouldn’t have to either. In this case, your only recourse is to threaten to, or file a lawsuit. This is a long and drawn out process though, so be aware that you won’t get reimbursed for your rental car until your case settles or resolves in court, which can take months or longer, depending on a variety of factors.