Last Updated on February 14, 2022 by Kristin
If your car becomes damaged — for example, in an accident or due to a weather-related event — the collision repairs could take weeks. Luckily, your personal auto insurance likely will cover a replacement rental car to use while you wait for your car to be repaired. While this is a convenient option, there are some key things you should keep in mind during the process.
Find Out Who Will Pay for Your Replacement Rental Car
If you were in a car accident, you can rent a replacement vehicle while you wait for repairs. Whether your car insurance company will pay for this expense depends on a few factors.
Find Out If Your Auto Insurance Policy Includes Rental Reimbursement Coverage
The fastest way to get a rental car while you’re waiting for a new vehicle after an accident is usually by going through your own auto insurance provider. However, not all policies automatically reimburse rental car charges related to an accident.
Whether your personal auto policy covers the cost of a rental usually depends on whether your policy includes rental reimbursement coverage. This typically incurs an optional fee, which can be as low as a few dollars a month. It covers the cost of a rental while you are waiting on repairs or preparing to buy a new one.
If you didn’t opt for rental reimbursement coverage, you may not be covered for a replacement rental car. Even if your insurance policy covers a rental car on vacation, it may not cover a rental car if your vehicle is out of commission.
This rental reimbursement coverage usually has a per-day limit for a certain period of time. For example, your policy may cover $40 per day for a month. At that point you’d have to start fronting the additional charges yourself.
Find Out If The Other Driver’s Car Insurance Company Will Pay
If another driver is at fault for the accident, his or her insurance company may cover your rental costs. In this case, their insurance would pay for your rental car.
Getting someone else’s insurance company to pay for your rental might sound ideal, but there’s one big downside. It can take a while. In some cases, it can take a few days or longer for the other driver’s insurance company to investigate your claim. The process can drag out longer if determining fault in the accident is difficult, or if the other insurance company outright denies your claim.
Pay For the Replacement Rental Car On Your Own
If you need a car right away, the other option is paying for the rental car out of pocket and try to get those charges reimbursed later on.
Some car rental companies have special rates for people needing rental cars after an accident. Some companies may even offer to pick you up. Regardless of who pays for the cost of your replacement rental car, it’s always a good idea to ask about these special rates before making a reservation.
Enterprise, for example, often offers discounts for drivers needing a rental car after an accident and supports direct billing for eligible insurance claims. Hertz also offers an online tool to look up quotes for accident-related rentals.