Understand when insurance pays for a rental car and what to do if the at-fault driver is uninsured
If you were recently in an accident that led to serious car damage, you may have concerns about how much a rental will cost and who’s legally obligated to pay for it. These answers can vary according to the laws in your state, who was responsible for the accident, and whether or not the at-fault party has insurance.
In this article, we’ll explore when you can expect the at-fault driver to cover your rental car costs in Georgia, how fault is determined after an accident, and what happens if the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance. We’ll also discuss how much insurance might pay for rental car costs and how an attorney can assist you with any insurance disputes that may arise.
If, after reading this article, you still have questions or need help filing a claim, reach out to the experienced Atlanta injury attorneys at Gerber & Holder to schedule a free consultation. We can help you protect your rights and ensure you recover the compensation you deserve.
Does the at-fault driver pay for rental car insurance in Georgia?
Yes, in Georgia, the driver who is at fault for an accident is typically responsible for paying for the rental car of the other party involved. If the at-fault driver has insurance, their liability coverage should cover the cost of your rental car while your vehicle is being repaired. However, this is subject to the limits of their policy.
If you have rental reimbursement coverage as part of your own insurance policy, you can also use this coverage, especially if the at-fault driver’s insurance does not fully cover your rental costs or if there are delays in processing your claim.
How is fault determined after a car accident in Georgia?
In Georgia, fault after a car accident is determined through the principle of modified comparative negligence. This legal doctrine allows for the distribution of fault among parties involved in an accident based on each party’s degree of responsibility. This is determined through evidence, witness statements, accident reports and other relevant information.
Under modified comparative negligence, the compensation that the plaintiff (injured party) can receive for damages is reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if the plaintiff is found to be 20% at fault for an accident, their final compensation would be reduced by 20%.
Additionally, in Georgia, a party cannot recover damages if they’re found to be 50% or more at fault for the accident.
If I pay for my car rental upfront, can I get reimbursed later if the other driver is determined to be at fault?
Yes, you can typically get reimbursed for your car rental expenses if the other driver is later found to be at fault for the accident. Here’s what you need to do:
- Keep receipts and records. To seek reimbursement, it’s essential that you keep all receipts and records of your rental car expenses. This documentation will be necessary to prove the costs you incurred as a result of the accident.
- Claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance. Once the other driver is determined to be at fault, you can file a claim with their insurance company for reimbursement of your rental car expenses. The amount you can claim may depend on the limits of the at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy.
- Use your own insurance. If you have rental reimbursement coverage in your own auto insurance policy, you can also file a claim through your insurance initially. Your insurance company may then seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s insurer through a process called subrogation.
Remember, each situation can vary, and the process can sometimes be complex, especially if liability is initially unclear. Keeping thorough records and understanding the terms of your insurance policy can help facilitate a smoother reimbursement process.
If you encounter difficulties getting reimbursed or if the at-fault party’s insurance company disputes the claim, it may be helpful to seek legal assistance. An attorney can guide you through the process and ensure that you receive fair compensation.
What if the at-fault driver doesn’t have car insurance?
In some cases, you might be hit by a driver without car insurance, or you could be involved in a hit-and-run accident in which the driver flees the scene and can’t be held financially accountable.
In either of these situations, your own insurance might cover the costs of your rental car, but it depends on your policy. Some types of insurance that could be used to cover this cost include:
- Uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage, which is typically part of your auto insurance policy in Georgia unless you specifically decline it in writing, helps cover your expenses when the at-fault driver is uninsured. Depending on your policy, it may provide for your rental car costs in addition to vehicle repair and medical expenses.
- Rental reimbursement coverage. If your insurance policy includes rental reimbursement coverage, you can use it to cover the costs of a rental car, regardless of whether the at-fault driver is insured. This coverage, which is optional in Georgia, is specifically designed to pay for a rental while your car is being repaired due to an accident.
If you lack the above coverage, you might need to pay for the rental car out-of-pocket initially. You can then seek reimbursement by filing a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver. However, keep in mind that this process can be time-consuming, and there’s no guarantee of reimbursement, especially if the at-fault driver lacks sufficient assets.
Considering the complexities, consulting with a legal professional can provide clarity on how to proceed, especially in terms of utilizing your insurance coverages effectively and understanding the legal avenues for seeking compensation from an uninsured at-fault driver.
Did you know?
The Insurance Information Institute estimates that 12.4% of Georgia drivers are uninsured. This places Georgia 23rd in the ranking of U.S. states with the highest number of uninsured drivers.
How much will insurance pay toward rental car costs?
The amount that insurance covers for rental car costs after an accident depends on your specific auto insurance policy, particularly if you have rental reimbursement coverage. Generally speaking, though, most rental reimbursement coverage will pay around $30 per day for a rental car, up to a total of $900 for an accident.
However, some policies may limit the type of rental car you can get (e.g., economy class), so it’s important to check your policy for any such restrictions.
Additionally, depending on your policy, you may need to pay a deductible before your rental car costs are covered. Always check your insurance policy’s details or contact your insurance provider to confirm the extent of coverage for rental car costs in your situation.
How long will insurance pay for a rental car after an accident?
In many cases, insurance companies will cover the cost of a car rental after an accident until your car is repaired, as long as repairs are completed in a reasonable timeframe.
However, some policies may have a maximum time limit for rentals, which is typically 30 days. So, if your car needs 5 weeks of repairs but your coverage limit is reached in 4 weeks, you may have to pay out-of-pocket beyond that point.
How can an attorney help with an insurance dispute after a car accident?
An attorney can be invaluable in handling an insurance dispute after a car accident, offering expertise and support in several key areas:
- Provide expertise in insurance law. Attorneys are well-versed in the nuances of insurance law and can interpret the complex language of insurance policies. They can determine what coverage is applicable in your case and help you understand the extent of compensation you’re entitled to under the law.
- Accurately assess damages. An attorney can accurately assess the full extent of your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage, to ensure you understand how much your claim is worth.
- Negotiate with insurance companies. Insurance companies often aim to minimize payouts. An attorney can negotiate with them on your behalf, using their knowledge and experience to argue for a fair settlement. They know the tactics insurers may use and how to counter them effectively.
- Gather and present evidence. Attorneys can help collect and organize the necessary evidence to support your claim, such as medical records, accident reports, witness statements and expert testimonies. This evidence is crucial in substantiating your claim to the insurance company or in court.
- Represent you in disputes and litigation. If the insurance company denies your claim or offers an insufficient settlement, an attorney can represent you in disputes. They can handle arbitration and mediation and, if necessary, take your case to court.
Ultimately, an attorney ensures your rights are protected throughout the insurance claim process. They can advise you on the best course of action and prevent you from accepting a low-ball offer or making statements that could jeopardize your claim.
Need help with an insurance issue after a car accident? Our Atlanta injury attorneys can help.
Dealing with insurance companies can be time-consuming and stressful, especially when recovering from an accident. The knowledgeable Atlanta injury attorneys at Gerber & Holder understand the intricacies of insurance claims and can provide the guidance and representation you need.
Whether it’s negotiating a fair settlement, handling disputes, or ensuring that your rights are protected, our team is here to support you every step of the way.