How Long Will Insurance Pay for a Rental Car After an Accident?

how long will insurance pay for rental car after accident

You’re driving down the highway, minding your own business, when suddenly – BAM! An erratic driver slams into your car, leaving you shaken but thankfully unharmed. However, your vehicle is in rough shape, undrivable even. As the reality of the situation sinks in, a million questions race through your mind. One of the most pressing is: “How am I going to get around while my car is in the shop?”

Luckily, your car insurance probably covers this with rental reimbursement coverage. But, how long and how much it covers can be different for everyone.

At DP Injury Attorneys, we’ve helped many clients understand insurance policies after car accidents. With our years of experience, we can answer an important question: How long will insurance pay for your rental car after an accident?

What is Rental Reimbursement Coverage?

Rental reimbursement, also known as rental car coverage or transportation expense coverage, is an optional add-on to your auto insurance policy. Its purpose is to foot the bill for a rental vehicle while your damaged car is being repaired or replaced after a covered incident.

Imagine your car being out of commission for weeks on end – how would you get to work, run errands, or shuttle the kids around? Rental reimbursement bridges that gap and typically kicks in once you’ve filed a claim and your insurer has decided that your car is indeed undrivable.

But rental coverage can differ a lot between insurance companies, and even in the same company. Some might only pay for a small car for a few days, while others might let you choose a bigger car for longer.

Determining the Rental Car Coverage Period

So, how long can you keep that rental car courtesy of your insurer? The answer, as with most things insurance-related, is: it depends.

Many policies have a standard rental period, often around 30 days, give or take. Usually, this time frame is based on the idea that repairs for most accidents can be finished by then.

But how long you can rent a car might depend on how long it takes to fix your specific vehicle. For example, if the mechanic says it’ll take 20 days, your insurance might only pay for the rental for that time, even if they say they cover longer rentals.

Ultimately, rental policies can vary a lot in how much money they give you each day, how long the policy lasts, and if you can extend it. It’s really important to check your specific policy details or talk to your insurance agent to understand what exactly you’re covered for.

How to Maximize Your Car Rental Reimbursement

While your insurer foots the bill, there are still good ways to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your rental reimbursement:

  • Shop Around for Affordable Rentals: Even if your insurer suggests a rental place, don’t automatically assume it’s the cheapest. Look at prices from different places to find the best deal that fits your policy’s daily limit.
  • Document Everything: Make sure to keep careful records of what you spend on the rental, including receipts and rental agreements. This documentation will be very important when submitting for reimbursement from your insurer.
  • Dispute Low Rental Limits: If you think the time or money your insurance offers for the rental car isn’t fair, don’t be afraid to negotiate. Show them proof, such as repair estimates or how much your car was valued if it’s totaled, to explain why you need more coverage.
  • Explore Additional Living Expenses: Depending on your policy, you might also get extra help paying for things like hotels or food if you can’t stay at home because of the accident.

Return your rental car once the repairs on your personal car are done. If you fail to do this, you might have to pay for penalties or out-of-pocket expenses. If the repairs are taking longer than expected, contact your insurer right away to discuss extending your rental coverage. They may ask you for additional proof or reason for this extension.

If your car is declared a total loss, returning the rental car gets a bit trickier. Work closely with your insurer to understand when your coverage expires and if you can transfer the rental coverage to a new car you’re buying.

Need Help After a Crash? DP Injury Attorneys Protect Your Rights

At DP Injury Attorneys, we understand the frustration and uncertainty that can happen after an accident and when dealing with insurance.

If you’ve been involved in an accident and need help with rental reimbursement or any other part of your claim, don’t hesitate to reach out to DP Injury Attorneys for a free case review. Our legal team will protect your rights and secure the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today to embark on your journey toward a resolution.

Author Bio

Arthur Paul D’Egidio is the Managing Partner of DP Injury Attorneys, a San Diego personal injury law firm. With more than 12 years of experience in California injury law, he has dedicated his practice to representing clients in a wide range of personal injury matters, including car accidents, workers’ compensation, slip and falls, catastrophic injury, and wrongful death cases.

Arthur received his Juris Doctor from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law and is a member of the State Bar of California as well as the San Diego County Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named a Super Lawyer for seven straight years by Thomson Reuters and a “Top 40 Under 40” by the National Trial Lawyers.

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