Car accidents are never planned and can be a major disruptor in people's lives. Dealing with injuries or even physical discomforts is no fun, but if you have places to be and people to see, being without transportation is a no-go.
The most common question people ask is, who pays for the damages after the accident and who pays for the rental car? Of course, this largely depends on who actually caused the accident and what type of insurance coverage they have.
Let us dive into some of these common questions and their answers, as applies in the state of Florida.
What Must Be Paid For After A Car Accident?
The person at fault in a car accident has to pay for:
- Cost of repairing damaged personal property
- Cost of repairing your car
- Cost of storage and towing
- Cost of your rental car
- Cost of your car’s value that decreased due to the accident
Although the driver at fault’s insurance should help you cover these costs, you should understand what may or may not be covered. When in doubt, make sure that you have emergency funds in place in case you are ever in an accident.
If the other driver is at fault...
If you are not at fault, the driver that caused the accident has to pay for your car repairs. However, in most cases, they will have their own insurance that will compensate you. But, if the driver at fault doesn’t have insurance, your collision coverage will kick in and compensate you for your repairs. If the at fault driver doesn’t have insurance, you can take them to court to sue them for your damages or settle it person-to-person, however, this can be a very challenging situation.
If you are at fault...
If you are the at fault driver, your insurance company will compensate you for your car repairs if you have collision coverage. However, keep in mind that you will still have to pay a deductible for your repairs. But, if you don’t have collision coverage, you will have to pay all your repairs outright.
What about a rental car?
Is the driver at fault in charge of paying for your rental car?
The driver at fault is in charge of paying for your rental car. Once they talk to your insurance agency to discuss compensation, their insurance coverage should cover the cost of your rental car while your car is being repaired.
Is there anything that may delay payment for your rental?
Unfortunately, there are a few things that can hold up payment from the at fault party’s insurance company. The insurer can delay the payment for your rental car if:
- They need statements from witnesses to substantiate their insured’s liability
- Their insured does not cooperate with them
- The driver at fault is not insured by a standard insurance company
How much is the at fault driver’s insurance company required to pay for your rental car?
Legally, the insurance company must cover the actual cost of the rental or the reasonable, theoretical amount. This money, however, can only be used to pay for a car comparable to the car that it is replacing.
Let’s say, for example, you own a Honda Accord that got damaged by another driver in an accident. While your car is in the shop, the other driver’s insurance company must pay for a rental car that is similar to your Honda Accord. A car in the same class may be a Toyota Camry, Mazda 6, or another similar car. Do not allow them to try to pay for a lesser class of car. In this scenario, a lesser car would be a Honda Civic.
If you don’t rent a car, can you still receive money for the loss of your vehicle?
In the state of Florida, the answer is yes. If your car was damaged because of someone else’s negligent behavior, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for your loss. This is true even if you do not decide to temporarily replace your car with a rental.
If both drivers are found to be at fault, does the other driver’s insurance still pay for your rental?
In short, yes but not the full amount. The amount that their insurance will provide you will be decreased by the percentage of your fault. For example, let’s say that you are found to be 40% at fault and the other driver is 60% at fault. Instead of paying the full amount for your rental, the insurance company would only pay the percentage that their driver is at fault. In this case, the other driver’s insurance company would only pay for 60% of the full rental costs. The formula that most car insurance companies use to determine this amount is:
Rental cost per day x how many days the rental period last x the percentage that the other driver is at fault.
Does the other driver’s auto insurer owe you money for a rental even if you received the ticket?
Even if you received a ticket, you are not always entitled to a reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance company. Most police officers give you a ticket even if you aren’t fully liable for the accident.
Are there any situations in which the can insurance company will be quicker to pay out the money?
The two situations below are the only instances where the at fault driver’s insurance will be an easier and quicker way to pay for your rental car:
- The at fault driver has insurance
- You have limited liability and their bodily injury liability insurance has low coverage
Can your insurance be used to pay for a rental car?
If you have rental reimbursement insurance, you can use your own insurance to pay for your rental car. However, you will only be entitled to a certain reimbursement account for each day of renting out a car.
What happens if you are at fault and do not have rental reimbursement insurance?
If you are the driver at fault and do not have rental reimbursement insurance you are in charge of paying for your own rental car.
To learn more about car accidents, read our A Comprehensive Guide for Car Accident Victims.
Hopefully this has been helpful in answering your questions, but if you'd like to speak directly to a legal professional, we would be happy to help!