If a car accident renders your vehicle unsafe to drive, you may need a temporary rental car to get around. A rental car is the easiest solution when a collision totals your vehicle. In general, the other party’s insurance company will pay for your rental car if the other driver was at fault for the accident. However, there are some cases in which the insurer delays or denies claim approval, leaving you to pay for the rental out of pocket. Here’s how to go about the rental car process after a car accident in West Virginia:
Report the Accident
First, report the accident to your own insurance company and the insurer of the other driver. Timely reporting can make all the difference in how the insurer handles your claim. For example, most companies have strict requirements regarding how soon you must report the accident – typically within 24 hours or less. Failing to report the crash right away can compromise your right to a rental car and even coverage for injuries.
Seek Rental Coverage from Your Own Insurer
Prior to the accident, you have the option to purchase rental car coverage under your own policy. This type of coverage will make the claims process a breeze if you need a rental after a crash. Find out if you have this type of coverage by reading your policy or asking your insurance agent. With this coverage, your own insurer will pay for a rental vehicle while your car undergoes repairs or while a check clears to purchase a replacement vehicle. Your insurance company will then handle communication with the at-fault party’s insurer for reimbursement.
File a Claim with the At-Fault Driver’s Insurer
Ideally, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will immediately accept your claim and see the other driver’s liability for the crash. In these cases, the company will pay for your rental car without delay and will cover the cost until it can give you money to repair or replace your vehicle. You can continue to drive the rental car for as long as it takes for your vehicle to receive repairs. If the crash totaled your car, you can keep the rental until you receive a check from the insurance company. Document your claims process as evidence in case the insurer treats your claim unfairly.
Fight for Your Right to a Rental Car
Unfortunately, insurance companies aren’t always keen to offer rental car coverage. They may deny your claim or argue that its policyholder wasn’t at fault for the collision. If the other party’s insurance company refuses to pay for your car rental and you don’t have rental insurance on your own policy, your only option may be to retain a West Virginia accident attorney. You may have to pay for your rental out-of-pocket until the insurer reimburses you – something not everyone can afford. Having a lawyer to take over communication with the company can increase your odds of getting coverage or reimbursement for your rental costs.
Pressure the Insurance Company
With an attorney, you have the power to pressure the at-fault driver’s insurance company into accepting your good-faith claim and paying for a rental car. If you suffered injuries in the accident, retaining an attorney is even more important. A personal injury lawyer can help you understand and pursue your rights under West Virginia law. If you’re having any trouble securing a rental car after an accident, the right team of lawyers can help.