Posted on behalf of Henness & Haight on Nov 07, 2014 in Insurance News
If your car has been damaged in a serious crash, it can be an incredibly inconvenient and frustrating time for you. You will most likely be very upset as a result of the damage your car has received, and you will also be concerned about your need for transportation while repairs are made or a new car is purchased. Fortunately, there are coverages available through your insurance company to provide a rental car while your car is being repaired or while you look for a replacement. The process of getting a rental and the terms of how you are able to use it vary greatly according to your policy.
Rental car coverage, or rental car reimbursement, is a type of coverage that can be added on to your existing policies. Some insurance companies will even provide this automatically if you are paying for comprehensive and collision insurance already. If you do not see rental car coverage or rental car reimbursement as part of your existing policy, you can either call your agent or look at the available policies' information your insurance provider will have online or in their brochure. There, you will be able to see how they handle this type of coverage. If it is called something specific and you do not have that language show up on your bill, you are most likely not covered.
If you do happen to have rental car coverage, read the terms carefully. You will be limited to how, when and why you are able to have the costs of a temporary replacement car paid for. In almost all instances, the coverage only applies if you were in a collision or your car was subject to extreme damage from natural causes, theft or vandalism. For example, if your alternator stops working and you cannot leave the driveway, your insurance company will not help you in this situation. If you were not at fault for the wreck you can still go through your own rental coverage. The at-fault driver's insurance may agree to a direct bill for the rental, but this can take time to arrange. If you go through your own insurance company, it will bill the at-fault driver's insurance company for reimbursement of their costs of paying for your rental.
This depends on your specific policy. Some policies may offer a dollar coverage limit or daily limit that if you exceed you must pay out of pocket for anything beyond. Other policies will limit the number of days you are able to have the car. In most common scenarios, the rental car coverage will extend as long as you need to make repairs. If your vehicle is totaled and you will need a replacement, a typical limit for the rental is five days after the settlement terms have been reached.
This factor once again depends on your insurance company and your policy. The exact payment terms can vary. The two most common methods of payment are direct billing and reimbursement. Direct billing refers to the scenario where you will not have to pay any costs upfront. The rental company will directly bill your insurance company. With direct billing, if you have costs that exceed your coverage, your insurance company will not be willing to pay for these and may even charge you after the fact. Examples of these extras include the rental company's in-house insurance and any upgrades. The other method of paying for a rental is reimbursement. You pay the cost of the rental up-front and send the receipts to your insurance company, who will later reimburse you for the expenses. Sometimes, an insurance company will offer direct billing with a partnered rental company but not with others, so always double check before assuming. Beware though, that under any scenario, you will not be reimbursed for any sales tax you pay or for any additional liability or collision coverage the rental car company bills you. As you can see, there are many chances for gray areas that will land you with unexpected costs. If you suspect that your insurance company has left out vital information or has gone back against their stated policy, you may need legal representation to recoup all of your expenses. Insurance companies can sometimes be unfair about offering services you have legitimately paid for. Remember, there is no reason to pay twice for something. If you believe that your insurance provider is not meeting their obligations under the terms of your coverage be sure to contact an experienced insurance lawyer in Las Vegas to discuss your options.