Being in a car accident is stressful, and having to worry about paying for the cost of a car rental while your vehicle gets repaired is enough to cause a complete mental breakdown in and of itself.
You may find yourself asking questions like, “Can I afford to pay for a rental car? How will I get to work or my doctor’s appointments without a rental, and shouldn’t the other person’s insurance company be responsible for footing the bill?”
The answer is that in South Carolina, it depends on various factors to determine who will pay for the rental car. Let’s go over a few of those scenarios so that you can better understand what car rental reimbursement you might be eligible for after a car accident.
Reimbursement Through Your Own Car Insurance Provider
The first step you should take before renting a vehicle after your car collision is to check if you have rental car coverage under your insurance policy. Rental car coverage by your insurance agency is typically the fastest way to cover the cost of a rental vehicle. In South Carolina, rental car insurance is optional, so you’ll need to call your insurance company if you’re unsure if your policy includes it.
Two other conditions will affect whether or not your insurance company chooses to cover the costs of a rental car, including:
1. If You Caused the Car Accident
If you are responsible for your car accident, receiving coverage for a rental car may affect your premium rate. This, of course, depends upon whether your policy provides car rental insurance after an accident. If you do not have insurance or your policy does not provide rental car coverage, you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket.
2. If Someone Else Caused the Car Accident
If you were not responsible for your accident, the other driver’s insurance company might be held accountable for the costs of your rental car. For more details, continue reading below.
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Reimbursement Through the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
There are two primary ways to receive full reimbursement for your rental car via the at-fault driver’s insurance company:
1. To seek coverage via your own insurance agency, which then requests reimbursement from the other driver’s insurer in a process referred to as subrogation. Subrogation essentially means that the insurance company pays you the cost of the rental upfront and then pursues compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurer.
2. To seek coverage directly from the other party’s insurance company. This option tends to be the easiest way to seek compensation, although you will likely have to pay out-of-pocket for the rental car initially while you pursue coverage from the other person’s insurer. The amount of time to receive your reimbursement may vary, so it’s important to understand that it may take a while to be compensated.
Ask Your Insurance Provider Which Rental Car Company to Use
It’s also worth noting that most insurance companies have contracts with specific rental car companies, so choosing one within your coverage will likely make your claim process more efficient. Don’t choose a car that’s not comparable to the vehicle involved in your crash—the insurance company will probably not cover the cost.
Finally, save any receipts or paperwork you may collect from the rental car agency. You will need proof of the rental car agreement as proof of your financial losses when you file your insurance claim.
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Understanding who is responsible for paying your rental car fees after an automobile accident can undoubtedly be confusing. In South Carolina, the fault-based insurance system entails that the person who caused the car wreck will be responsible for the damages. This means they will be liable for the costs of your car rental.
Depending on your situation, it may be necessary to seek financial compensation from your own insurance company first or pay the initial out-of-pocket expense for the car rental fee. However, you should be reimbursed for the rental vehicle costs in most instances.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident or are having trouble receiving reimbursement for your rental car fees, an experienced car accident attorney from Hammack Law Firm can help you to recover your financial losses. One of our skilled lawyers will help you to find a suitable car rental and fight for the proper insurance settlement payment you deserve.
Our team at Hammack Law Firm is here to help you navigate the process of filing your car accident claim. We’ll fight tooth and nail to ensure you receive the settlement you deserve—contact us today for your free case evaluation.