One of the most frustrating and challenging aspects of automobile accidents is when drivers are left without a vehicle and alternative means of transportation. This can occur while a car undergoes repairs or when the collision is a total loss car accident. Without a rental car, many are unable to travel to work and care for their families, resulting in increased financial strains.
Knowing how to secure a rental car can make it easier to ensure you have a ride to work, your children can get to school, and you can care for your family. In many cases, auto insurance includes rental car coverage. However, you have options even if you do not have this benefit on your car insurance policy.
Renting a Car with Rental Car Insurance
Luckily, if your own insurance policy includes rental car reimbursement, you will be immediately entitled to a rental car, and your insurer will pay for that rental car. You should not have to pay anything out of pocket. Most automobile insurance providers partner with a specific rental car company and have an agreement where they pay that partner directly.
Your insurance company should be able to tell you where to pick up your car and may even make the reservation for you. The only thing you will have to worry about is getting to the rental car lot to get your vehicle. In some cases, some companies may even deliver the vehicle to your home if you do not have a ride.
This coverage generally applies regardless of the severity of damage to your car. You can get a rental vehicle any time your car needs repairs because of an accident or incident, including after a collision caused by another driver. This means you do not have to wait until they declare your car a total loss before you can get a rental.
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Receiving a Rental Car Without Rental Car Insurance
If you have not paid premiums for rental reimbursement under your own insurance policy, you must wait for the at-fault party to accept liability. This usually happens after the police report is issued and the insurance company has had a chance to speak to their insured.
After that time, they will either declare your car a total loss or begin repairs. Insurers in Louisiana are statutorily obligated to begin loss adjustment within thirty days of proof of loss, as outlined in the following two parts of La. R.S. 22:1892:
Louisiana Revised Statute 22:1892.A(4)
This statute provides that “all insurers shall make a written offer to settle any property damage claim, including a third-party claim, within thirty days after receipt of satisfactory proofs of loss of that claim.” The penalties due under this provision include attorney’s fees and 50% the amount due on the claim or $1,000, whichever is greater.
Louisiana Revised Statute 22:1892.B(4)
This statute states that “whenever a property damage claim is on a personal vehicle owned by the third-party claimant and as a direct consequence of the inactions of the insurer and the third-party claimant’s loss the third-party claimant is deprived of the use of the personal vehicle for more than five working days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, the insurer responsible for payment of the claim shall pay, to the extent legally responsible, for reasonable expenses incurred by the third-party claimant in obtaining alternative transportation for the entire period of time during which the third-party claimant is without the use of his personal vehicle.”
Thus, while your car is being deemed a total loss or being repaired, you are entitled to a rental vehicle.
Are Rental Car Costs Recoverable Damages?
In many cases, drivers whose cars were damaged need a vehicle immediately. If this happens to you, you may be able to get a rental car faster by reserving and paying for it on your own. You can swap to a car paid by the applicable insurance policy as soon as the insurer handles the process on their end.
The cost of the vehicle you pay for out of your pocket is recoverable damage. You will just include the cost in your insurance claim or use the receipt as evidence to support your civil lawsuit. If you suffered injuries in the crash, you will be filing a claim or civil action to recover other damages, as well.
Your rental car costs are unlikely to be disputed or denied, especially considering it will likely only be a small part of your financial recovery. Other recoverable damages in an injury accident include:
- Medical bills, current and future
- Ongoing care and support costs
- Lost income if you missed work
- Reduced earning ability if you cannot return to your work
- Property damages, including car repairs
- Pain and suffering damages
- Other intangible losses
An attorney can help you build your case and demand an appropriate payout from the at-fault driver and their insurer. This will include any rental car costs you had to pay.
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Talk to an Attorney at Morris Bart, LLC About Your Legal Options
The attorneys here at the Morris Bart law firm are happy to help navigate the rental car process after a collision in our service area. We have 15 locations and serve clients in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. We provide a free consultation and represent clients based on a contingency fee. Contact us now to get started.
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