How do I get a rental car after an accident?
In Utah, if you are involved in an auto accident, you may be eligible to receive a rental car from an insurance company for a time after your accident. This can depend on your liability and insurance coverage.
First, if you are at-fault for the accident you are only eligible for a rental vehicle if your insurance policy has rental car coverage. If you have this benefit your car insurance company will provide a rental car if your car is damaged or destroyed in an accident that you cause. If you don not know if you have rental car coverage contact your insurance agent and see whether or not it can be added to your policy.
If you are not at-fault or the accident, Utah law requires the at-fault driver’s insurance company to provide you with compensation for the “reasonably incurred cost of transportation” or for the “reasonably incurred rental cost of a substitute vehicle” while your vehicle is being evaluated and/or repaired. This duty exists regardless of whether or not you have rental car coverage. In the case that your own insurance still provides you with a rental car, the at-fault driver’s insurance is required to reimburse your own insurance company for the rental.
However, sometimes it can be difficult to get a rental car even if you are not at fault. The other driver’s insurance company often will not authorize a rental until they can speak with their insured and establish liability. If they cannot get a hold of their insured or if their insured lies about the accident it can become a problem and they may deny their obligation to provide a rental vehicle. At this point if you do have rental car coverage you can use it and once liability is established your insurance company will be reimbursed.
If you cannot drive your vehicle after your accident and you are not provided with a rental car you may be entitled to money for loss of use. This depends on the value of your car, any lost income you would have earned by using the car and, anything you spent to get transportation, such as renting your own car or buying a new one.
Navigating this process can be difficult. If you or someone you know has lost a vehicle in a car accident where the other driver was at-fault, but cannot get the at-fault driver’s insurance to help you, it may be time to get attorneys involved. Attorneys can answer your questions, help establish liability, and fight the insurance company on your behalf.