Does At Fault Driver Pay For Rental Car?

Does the at-fault driver pay for the rental car? Or do you have to pay for it yourself? The answer depends on several factors.
Does the at-fault driver pay for the rental car? Or do you have to pay for it yourself? The answer depends on several factors.

If you cause a car accident and your vehicle is too damaged to drive, you may need a rental car to get around until your car is repaired.

But who pays for the rental car after an accident? Does the at-fault driver pay for the rental car? Or do you have to pay for it yourself?

The answer depends on several factors, such as who caused the accident, what type of insurance coverage you have, and what state you live in.

Here are some scenarios and tips to help you understand who pays for the rental car after an accident.

Scenario 1: The Other Driver Is At Fault and Has Liability Insurance

If the other driver is responsible for causing the accident, then their liability insurance should cover the cost of a rental car for you. Liability insurance is required by law in most states and it covers the damages and injuries that the at-fault driver causes to other people and their property. Rental car expenses are considered part of the property damage that the at-fault driver’s liability insurance should cover.

However, there are some limitations and challenges that you may face when relying on the other driver’s liability insurance to pay for your rental car. For example:

  • The other driver’s insurance company may not agree to pay for your rental car until they accept liability for the accident.
  • The other driver’s insurance company may not pay for the full cost of your rental car. They may only pay up to a certain daily or total limit, which may not match your actual rental car expenses. They may also only pay for a certain type of vehicle, which may not suit your needs or preferences.
  • The other driver’s insurance company may not pay for your rental car for as long as you need it. They may only pay for the reasonable length of time it takes to repair your vehicle, which may not match the actual time it takes to get your vehicle fixed.

To avoid these potential problems, you can do the following:

  • Contact the other driver’s insurance company as soon as possible after the accident and request a rental car. Provide them with the details of the accident, such as the police report, witness statements, photos, and videos. Ask them to confirm their liability and their coverage limits for rental car expenses.
  • Keep receipts and records of your rental car expenses. Make sure you rent a vehicle that is similar to your own vehicle in size and features. Do not rent a luxury or sports car if you normally drive a compact or economy car.
  • Follow up with your auto repair shop and the other driver’s insurance company regularly. Ask them for updates on the status of your vehicle repair and your rental car reimbursement. If there are any delays or disputes, try to resolve them as soon as possible.

Scenario 2: The Other Driver Is At Fault and Does Not Have Liability Insurance

Driving without liability insurance is illegal in most states
Driving without liability insurance is illegal in most states

 

If the other driver is responsible for causing the accident but does not have liability insurance, then you will likely not receive any reimbursement for your rental car expenses from them. Driving without liability insurance is illegal in most states and it can expose the uninsured driver to legal consequences, such as fines, license suspension, or even jail time.

However, this does not mean that you have to pay for your own rental car if you are not at fault in the accident. You may have other options to cover your rental car expenses, such as:

  • Your own collision or comprehensive coverage. Collision coverage pays for the damage to your vehicle caused by a collision with another vehicle or object, regardless of who is at fault. Comprehensive coverage pays for the damage to your vehicle caused by events other than collision, such as fire, theft, vandalism, or natural disasters. Both collision and comprehensive coverage are optional in most states and they usually have a deductible that you have to pay before your insurance company pays for anything.
  • Your own uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. UM/UIM coverage pays for the damages and injuries that you suffer from an uninsured or underinsured driver who is at fault in an accident. UM/UIM coverage is required by law in some states and optional in others. It usually covers both bodily injury and property damage, including rental car expenses.
  • Your own rental reimbursement coverage.Rental reimbursement coverage pays for your rental car expenses if your vehicle is damaged in a collision or comprehensive accident.
  • Rental reimbursement coverage is optional in most states and it usually has a daily and total limit that you can choose when you buy your policy.

To use any of these options to pay for your rental car expenses, you need to have them on your policy before the accident. You also need to file a claim with your own insurance company and pay any deductibles or limits that apply. Your insurance company may also try to recover the money from the uninsured driver through a process called subrogation.

Scenario 3: You Are At Fault in the Accident

If you are at fault in the accident, then you are responsible for paying for your own rental car expenses, unless you have rental reimbursement coverage on your policy. Rental reimbursement coverage is optional in most states and it usually has a daily and total limit that you can choose when you buy your policy.

If you do not have rental reimbursement coverage, then you have to pay for your rental car out of your own pocket. You may also have to pay for the other driver’s rental car expenses if they file a claim against your liability insurance.

To avoid paying for your own rental car expenses if you are at fault in an accident, you can do the following:

  • Buy rental reimbursement coverage when you buy or renew your auto insurance policy. Compare the cost and benefits of different rental reimbursement options and choose the one that suits your needs and budget.
  • Drive carefully and avoid accidents. Follow the traffic rules, drive defensively, and avoid distractions. Accidents can happen to anyone, but you can reduce the risk and severity of accidents by driving safely.

 

Conclusion

To avoid paying for your own rental car expenses after an accident, you should buy rental reimbursement coverage when you buy or renew your auto insurance policy.

You should also drive carefully and avoid accidents.

Rental cars can be a convenient and flexible way to get around after an accident, but they can also be a costly and stressful hassle if you do not know who pays for them.

If you enjoyed reading about Does At Fault Driver Pay For Rental Car, you might also like these articles: