Who Pays for a Rental Car After an Accident in CA?

The moments following a car accident can be fraught with confusion, stress, and uncertainty. As you assess the damage to your vehicle and consider the next steps, one pressing question may arise: Who will pay for a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired or replaced?

Why Would You Need a Rental Car After a Car Accident?

In some cases, you can safely drive your vehicle away from the scene of the accident. But in cases of major damage, such as a crushed front end or a severely bent frame from a high-impact collision, your car may be undrivable and possibly beyond repair.

If you’ve lost the use of your vehicle and need alternative transportation, renting a car may be the best solution. This is especially apparent in cases where:

  • You don’t have access to a second vehicle.
  • Public transportation is unsuitable for your needs or situation.
  • Your profession requires you to drive for work.
  • You need a vehicle for family activities, such as carpooling.
  • You are responsible for caring for elderly or disabled family members.

When Another Driver Is at Fault, They Pay for the Rental Car

California operates as a fault state, meaning that drivers who cause accidents are responsible for the resulting damages. These losses may include the cost of a rental car.

If another driver is at fault for your accident, their insurance company should cover your rental car expenses as part of their mandatory minimum liability coverage. To access this coverage, you must file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

The insurer will investigate the accident details to confirm their client’s responsibility and then authorize rental car expenses based on the limits and conditions of their policy. Typically, the rental is provided while your car is being repaired or, in the case of a total loss, until you receive a settlement for your vehicle.

If You Caused the Crash, Your Insurance May Cover a Rental Car

If you are at fault for the accident, your insurance may still cover your rental car costs if you have rental reimbursement coverage in your policy. This optional coverage helps with rental expenses while your car is under repair or until you receive a settlement for a totaled vehicle. However, your policy terms may limit the type of vehicle that you rent and the amount of time that the insurer will pay for it. It is important to carefully review your policy with a Bakersfield car accident attorney who can help you understand your coverage following a collision.

Secure the Compensation You Deserve with a Car Accident Attorney in Bakersfield

Navigating the complex world of insurance claims and rental car coverage can be overwhelming. Add physical injuries and financial stress to the situation, and the process can feel even more daunting. To protect your right to compensation, you need a Bakersfield car accident lawyer on your side.

An attorney can communicate with insurance companies on your behalf, determine the cause of the accident, and help you recover the funds that you need to pay for a rental car. They can also represent your larger insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver, fighting for the compensation that you deserve. Schedule a free case consultation today and learn how a lawyer can help you seek justice.