Rental Car: What to do after an Auto Accident?

The Rental Car Expense is Recoverable

If your car is either totaled or is going to require repairs before it is drivable, the at-fault driver’s insurance (much like our discussion on medical bills and lost wages) will pay for your rental car after your auto accident. It just might not be before you need to go to work on Monday morning.

The Car Wreck

Last Friday after a fun-filled evening at Dave & Buster’s Bobby was in a jarring car wreck, but luckily–other than a few aches and pains–he was not seriously injured. But, the aftermath of this car wreck is not about medical care. It is about the difficulties Bobby encounters on Monday morning when he is trying to answer the question, “Who pays for the rental car after an auto accident?”

The wreck unfolded like many before it. As Bobby approached the intersection with a green light, he noticed a blue Buick in the opposite lane waiting to turn left across his lane of traffic. As he glanced to see the white Honda Accord travel through the intersection in front of him, he noticed the Buick start to initiate its left turn, but the Buick paused. Bobby breathed a sigh of relief, but after the brief pause, the Buick attempted to “shoot the gap” between his car and the Honda Accord. When he saw the Buick attempting to make the turn, he tried his best to avoid the collision. But his evasive actions were not fruitful, and he struck the Buick in the passenger side.

Following the accident, he was transported by EMS to the emergency room, and his car was towed from the scene. Unfortunately, when Bobby’s friend picked him up from the emergency room the next day, his car was sitting in a tow yard somewhere, not to mention, he was in a tremendous amount of pain.

How do you get to work on Monday?

If you put yourself in Bobby’s shoes, you can understand that the pain from the whiplash and bruises of a car accident also carry with them the anxiety of Monday morning. As you can imagine, all of your friends and family have their own responsibilities at 7:30 on Monday morning, and you are left to wonder: “How am I going to get to work?”

The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Will Pay for Your Rental Car After Car Accident–Just Not When You Need It

To answer this question clearly and unequivocally, if your car is either totaled or is going to require repairs before it is drivable, the at-fault driver’s insurance will pay for your rental car after an accident. The only problem is that it just might not be Monday when you need it.

“Don’t you think that is fair?”

When Bobby called the Buick’s insurance adjuster, the “good neighbor’s” demeanor and tone conveyed a heartfelt concern and a splash of honesty, but his actions relayed the exact opposite. Although he kept saying that he wanted to help, it was obvious that he did not have Bobby’s best interests in mind.

Even though Bobby insists that the collision was not his fault and sends the adjuster the Accident Report, which places blame on the Buick and not Bobby. The Buick’s adjuster (in a warm and heartfelt tone) tells Bobby, “I was in a car accident recently, and I completely understand how difficult this is for you. And if it were up to me, I would get you in a rental car today, but unfortunately, we have to complete our investigation into the wreck before my company will approve the car. Don’t you understand that we need to conduct an investigation (and speak to our insured)? Once we speak to our insured, I am sure we will approve the rental car. I have been doing this for years, and that is how it is always done. Don’t you think that is fair?” (It’s as if the “good neighbor” said to Bobby, “Bless your heart and no offense. But, you are a liar.”)

More importantly, the only problem with the adjuster’s “fairness” and “reasonable” approach is that Bobby needs a car immediately. His job does not provide sick or vacation days, and if he doesn’t show up, he runs the risk of losing his job.

What are you supposed to do on Monday morning?

If you are in Bobby’s shoes, I am sure you can understand the predicament and frustration, but practically speaking, what are you left to do on Monday morning. Make no mistake, the at-fault driver’s insurance will pay for your rental car after a wreck. But, you will have to seek reimbursement later for the money you spend during their “investigation.”

Practical Advice

 

  • Call Enterprise Rent-A-Car (This is not an endorsement, but remember this is the company that will pick you up. And, they work with every insurance company in every state. Not to mention, their website says that you can “[e]njoy fast and easy car rental bookings from Enterprise Rent-A-Car at one of our 7200 branches in cities, airports, and neighborhoods near you.”)
  • Lay out the facts to Enterprise and tell them that the at-fault insurance company is investigating the case.
  • Give Enterprise your credit card information or your automobile insurance to initially cover the rental car expenses (if you have it).
  • Make it very clear that you intend to transfer the rental car financial responsibility to the at-fault driver’s insurance company as soon as they complete their investigation.
  • Pick out a rental car that is comparable to your damaged vehicle.
  • Don’t purchase additional supplemental insurance on the rental car, as long as you maintain insurance on your wrecked vehicle.

Call an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer if you Need Assistance.

If you encounter an issue with the insurance company on who’s going to pay for your rental car after the accident and need guidance, you might need a personal injury lawyer to help you with your car accident, and we are here to help. Don’t hesitate to give us a call at (864) 757-0757 or send us a message at any hour of the day or night.