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Who Will Cover the Cost of My Rental Car Following a Car Accident?

Loveland Car Accident Lawyers at the Wolterman Law Office Can Help You With Any Aspect of Your Rental Car Accident Case.

Some crashes are minor fender-benders, where vehicles sustain negligible damage and drivers can continue using them. In other instances, a car is rendered temporarily undrivable or is deemed “totaled.” Either situation can create the need for a rental car when another one is not available for use. The cost can be significant when the rented vehicle is needed for weeks or longer. Who is responsible for covering these charges?

This depends on whether or not you purchased this kind of coverage. In Ohio, the minimum car insurance standards are known as 25/50/25: $25,000 per-person bodily injury, $50,000 total for all bodily injuries, and $25,000 for property damages. These amounts might seem adequate at first glance, but this is basic coverage and a serious accident can cost much more.

These minimums do not include optional coverage. Comprehensive and collision are extra, as is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and rental car reimbursement. Unless you chose that last option, you might have to pay for your rental out-of-pocket; check your policy to make sure. Keep in mind that the provider might not reimburse you for a rental if your car was totaled and you are looking for a new one; the coverage might only be in place while your vehicle is being repaired. The amount could also be limited to a certain dollar amount per day, and the provider will likely question the coverage when it extends into several weeks.

What if the Other Driver Was at Fault?

If another driver is found to be liable for your accident, they may be responsible for your medical expenses, property damage, and other related financial losses, like rental car fees. As with your own insurer, you might have to shell out the rental payments up front and get reimbursed, or the rental company might ask for a deposit and send a bill after the rental period.

It is in your best interest to get the rental as soon as possible and to have the repairs completed in a timely manner. Instead of getting the car towed and leaving it in front of your house for days on end, have a mechanic look at it as soon as possible. Do not expect to get an upgrade to a luxury SUV if you have a compact car, though. The insurance company will either allow you a certain amount of money per day or a vehicle similar to the one damaged.

Delays on your part can lead to non-payment from the insurer. Sometimes, these are caused by auto body shops and customers end up getting quite frustrated when their vehicles are not ready in reasonable amounts of time. When that happens, insurance companies might deny reimbursement.

How Do I Get a Rental Car?

The first step is to contact your insurance provider and inquire about rental car coverage. Once you understand the parameters, you can contact a rental agency. Most of the time, same-day service is offered if you call early enough in the day. Some will travel to drop off the vehicle, which makes things more convenient. Find out the exact amount the insurer reimburses and how long you can have the rental. Get the answers in writing, and save them in case questions arise later.

I Got Into an Accident in My Rental Car. Now What?

Whenever a customer signs a rental agreement, there will be an option to purchase additional rental insurance. It is important to read all of the fine print on these policies. Oftentimes, the coverage is not needed because it overlaps your own policy; your credit card might have rental car insurance as a benefit, too. In other cases, these policies are worth the extra money.

If you are involved in an accident while using the vehicle, that coverage should kick in if you purchased it. If not, the company will look to your auto insurance for damage reimbursement. When another driver is at fault and has insurance coverage, the rental company will contact that provider about coverage. Things can get quite complicated in these situations, so be sure to contact emergency services right after the crash occurs. You will want to get a police report and gather other evidence, like photos of skid marks and both vehicles. If there were any eyewitnesses, ask if they are willing to be interviewed.

Ohio Car Laws

In order to get reimbursement from at-fault parties for rental car costs, claimants must provide evidence of negligence from the other side. This is why it is crucial to gather the evidence mentioned above, plus proof of medical expenses, other costs, and witness reports. It may be possible to show that the other party was 100 percent responsible, but if you were partially at fault, Ohio’s comparative negligence rule goes into effect.

This rule stipulates that if a claimant is found to be partially responsible for a car accident, the awarded damages will be reduced. This is done by assigning percentages, so if a court finds that you were 30 percent responsible, your compensation will be cut by that amount. When the percentage is over 50 percent, you will likely be ineligible for compensation.

Additionally, Ohio’s statutory time limit for filing a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the crash, and waiting too long can be grounds for case dismissal.

Loveland Car Accident Lawyers at the Wolterman Law Office Can Help You With Any Aspect of Your Rental Car Accident Case

Dealing with auto insurance companies after an accident can be frustrating and complicated, especially when a rental car is involved. For a free consultation on all legal matters pertaining to a rental car accident, contact our Loveland car accident lawyers at the Wolterman Law Office. Complete our online form or call us at 513-488-1135. Located in Loveland, Ohio, we serve clients in Hamilton County, Fairfield, Norwood, and Forest Park.