Can I get a rental car?

January 19, 2015 | By Riddle & Brantley Accident Injury Lawyers
Can I get a rental car?

After contact has been made with the insurance company, an adjuster will be assigned to your case within one day to a few days. Often there are two adjusters, one handling the property damage and the other handling your personal injury claim.

Clients frequently ask us whether they are able to get a rental car while their vehicle is being repaired or while they are waiting for it to be replaced. While each case is different, we hope this short summary explains how insurance companies generally deal with rentals.

An insurance company insuring the at fault driver, the defendant, generally does not authorize rental cars until they complete their investigation of the claim. Insurance companies are allowed a reasonable period of time to investigate the accident and determine whether they are in fact liable for the incident under North Carolina law. This means that we cannot promise that a rental car will be immediately forthcoming in your case; however, we will always use our best efforts to help expedite this process if possible.

If you need a rental car, you can get one on your own. If the defendant’s insurance company accepts liability, they will generally reimburse you for the cost so long as the cost of the rental is reasonable and the time of your rental does not extend past the time your car was repaired or an offer is made for the value of vehicle if it was totaled.

Please be aware of the following pitfalls when renting a car on your own. If you do not have collision insurance (full coverage) on your car, the rental car company may require you to sign up for their collision insurance or require you to demonstrate the financial ability to pay for any repairs. The rental company’s own insurance can be expensive and it is generally not reimbursed by the defendant’s insurance carrier.

If you choose to rent a car, please remember that you have a legal responsibility to mitigate your damages. In other words, you have a legal responsibility to minimize the length of time you keep the rental car. This means you need to be sure your vehicle is repaired as quickly as practicable. If you have your own collision insurance, you may want to use your own coverage to speed up the process of getting your car repaired or replaced. If, and when, liability is accepted, the defendant’s insurance company will then reimburse your insurance company for the cost of repairs and also repay you for your deductible.

If you are unable to rent a car on your own or do not want to do so, an attractive alternative is to get rides from friends or borrow another’s vehicle. If you choose to do this, please be sure to keep a record of the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of those who helped you, as well as the dates they helped you. Also, keep receipts of any buses or taxis that you had to use. These records will assist in documenting your claim for the loss of use of your vehicle.