Getting a Rental Car after My Car has been Totaled
A Part of the Georgia Car Damage Manual: How to Get Your Car Repaired or Paid-as-Totaled after an Accident
When your car or truck is totaled, you will likely find yourself without transportation for at least a brief period of time. During this time, the at-fault driver’s insurance is responsible for paying for your rental car.
Ideally, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will arrange for the rental car so that all you have to do is pick up and return the rental car. However, several issues can sometimes arise that may make this process more difficult and frustrating for you. We’ve provided some guidance here to help you deal with these situations.
Some smaller insurance companies will only reimburse you for a rental car, leaving it up to you to arrange for your own rental car. If you are asked to do this, make sure to approve the rental rate with the insurance company in advance. Also, make sure to rent a vehicle that is comparable to yours. In other words, if you have an economy sedan, don’t go rent a luxury car or pickup truck, or else the insurance company may refuse to cover the additional cost. On the other hand, if you drove a pickup truck, you can rent a similar pickup truck. Keep in mind that the insurance company is trying to keep its costs to a minimum, so be prepared to stand your ground and insist on a comparable vehicle.
The at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster might tell you that he or she needs to investigate your claim before authorizing a car rental. During this time, you could be without a vehicle. If this happens, you might consider going through your own car insurance. Check with your own car insurance to see if you purchased rental car coverage. If you have this coverage, you can use that to pay for a rental car up to the limits of your coverage (for example, $25 per day for a maximum of $750). Again, most larger insurance companies will arrange the details with a rental car company like Enterprise. You have a right to use any rental provider or location you choose, but you may have to pay the cost up front and seek reimbursement up to the limits of your rental car coverage if you choose another rental provider. If you do this, it is still a good idea to get approval in advance for the rate and class of car to avoid issues later.
Finally, once the insurance company makes you an offer to pay for your totaled vehicle, you may have to return the rental car even if you don’t accept that initial offer. Don’t allow the insurance company to pressure you into accepting a lower offer if that offer does not adequately compensate you for your car’s fair market value. In this type of situation, it can be especially helpful to have purchased rental car coverage on your own car insurance policy. The cost of renting a car for a few extra days may be worth it if you are able to negotiate a higher amount to compensate you for what your car is worth.
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