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Who Pays for a Rental Car After an Accident?

Posted in Car accident on August 17, 2020

A car accident in West Virginia could disable your vehicle for days or weeks. While your car is in the repair shop or you look for a replacement vehicle, you may need to rent a car. If you did not cause the car accident, you should not have to pay for your own rental car costs. Liability disputes, denied claims and insurance issues, however, could make it difficult to receive reimbursement for a rental. You may need help from a West Virginia car accident attorney.

West Virginia Is a Fault State

West Virginia uses a tort-based car insurance law on all car accident claims. With a tort-based insurance system, the driver who is responsible for paying for victims’ damages is the driver who caused the wreck. The at-fault driver will have to pay the expenses of all other victims using his or her liability insurance. This may include the costs of a rental vehicle, depending on the coverage available. To receive compensation that replaces the costs of your rental car after an accident, you will need to file an insurance claim with the at-fault party’s provider. You or your injury lawyer will then have to negotiate with the insurance company for a fair outcome.

How to Rent a Car After a Car Accident

It is important to take the correct steps after a car accident to obtain fair compensation for a rental car and other expenses. Knowing what to do after the crash can make it easier to protect your rights and rent a car without any out-of-pocket expenses. If you need assistance, contact an attorney to help you with the claims process.

  • Report the accident right away. Do not delay in making the initial call to report the car accident to an insurance company. Obtain the other driver’s insurance information. Report the crash promptly for an efficient filing process – typically within 24 hours of the crash. Waiting too long could compromise your ability to receive coverage. 
  • Seek first-party coverage. If you have rental car insurance on your own policy, seek initial coverage from your provider. A first-party claim can be faster and easier to resolve than one against the at-fault party for your rental car. Your insurance company can then seek reimbursement for its expenses from the other driver’s insurance company. 
  • File a third-party claim. If you do not have rental car coverage through your insurer, file a third-party claim for rental reimbursement with the other driver’s insurer. File this claim as soon as possible. List all the damages you have from the accident, including the costs of medical bills, vehicle repairs and a rental car, on the insurance claim.

The insurance company that receives your claim should give you instructions on how to pick up your rental vehicle. Some insurance carriers partner with rental car companies. They will direct you to the correct company, where you should not have to pay out of pocket for the rental. Instead, the rental company will bill the insurance carrier directly. Otherwise, you may have to pay upfront for the rental and request a reimbursement from the insurance company later.

Dealing With an Auto Insurance Company

Unfortunately, many insurance companies make it difficult to recover fair and full compensation for the damages associated with an auto accident. The insurance company that hears your claim will want to maximize its profits rather than offer a large settlement. You may need to hire a car accident attorney to help you negotiate a better settlement from an insurance provider. A lawyer can ensure you do not accept less money than your claim is worth. A lawyer could also help you seek compensation for a rental car, making sure the insurance company treats your claim fairly. A lawyer can prevent you from having any out-of-pocket costs for a rental after a car accident you did not cause.