Who Pays for My Rental Car After an Accident?

After a car accident in Oklahoma, one of the immediate concerns you may face is transportation. Specifically, who will cover the cost of a rental car while yours is being repaired?
Clayton T. Hasbrook

Written by Clayton T. Hasbrook. Last modified on February 15, 2024

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Financial Responsibility for Rental Car Costs

Who Is At Fault?

In Oklahoma, the driver responsible for the accident typically bears the costs associated with a rental car. The other driver’s insurance should cover your rental expenses if you’re not at fault. However, a dispute over who is at fault or if both parties share responsibility can lead to complications. You might have to pay out of pocket initially and seek reimbursement later.

Jury Instructions Help Explain the Lawrental car

The Oklahoma Jury Instructions provide clear guidance on how to calculate damages for personal property and loss of use:

  • Jury Instruction No. 4.14 states that compensation should cover reasonable repair costs, any depreciation, and the reasonable cost of renting a similar property during the repair period. Proof of actual expenses is required to recover rental fees.
  • Jury Instruction No. 4.15 explains that compensation for loss of use can include lost net profits, the cost of renting a comparable substitute, or interest on the property’s market value during its detention.

The Value of Rental Reimbursement Coverage

This optional insurance coverage provides a daily allowance for a rental car within the limits and conditions of your policy.

The Payment and Reimbursement Process

Insurance companies have different methods for handling rental car payments. Some may pay the rental agency directly, while others reimburse you after you’ve paid. It’s important to keep detailed records of all transactions.

Rental Car Authorization and Documentationrental car lot

To secure a rental car after an accident, you’ll need a valid driver’s license, a credit card, and proof of insurance. Your insurance provider can confirm if your policy includes rental vehicles. Additionally, your credit card provider may offer insurance coverage for rental cars.

Rental Car Usage and Insurance

Understanding the rental agreement is important, especially regarding who is authorized to drive. Additional drivers must be listed on the contract, usually for an extra fee. Your existing auto insurance may cover the rental, but confirming this before declining additional insurance from the rental agency is wise. Credit card companies often provide rental coverage as well.

Who Pays If the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Denies My Claim?

Should the at-fault driver’s insurance deny your claim, you may need to use your own insurance if you have rental reimbursement coverage. Otherwise, you might have to pay upfront and seek reimbursement later. Consulting with Hasbrook & Hasbrook can clarify your options. The Oklahoma Insurance Department also offers resources for understanding your rights and filing a claim, particularly if the at-fault party is uninsured or underinsured.

Can I Choose My Rental Car?

Insurance typically entitles you to a rental car similar to your own vehicle. However, the insurance company may restrict your choice to a comparable model, and you may be responsible for the cost difference if you desire an upgrade.

Is Additional Insurance Necessary for the Rental Car?

Your auto insurance’s comprehensive and collision coverage often extends to rental cars. Verify this with your insurer before declining additional insurance, which might be superfluous but can provide extra peace of mind.

What If I’m At Fault?

If you are at fault, your insurance will only cover rental costs if you have rental reimbursement coverage. Without this coverage, you will need to cover the rental expenses yourself.

How Long Will Insurance Cover My Rental Car?

The duration of insurance coverage for a rental car usually lasts until your vehicle is repaired or you reach your policy’s coverage limit. It’s important to understand the specifics of your rental reimbursement coverage, including any daily and total limits.

Case Law to Clarify Loss of Use

Marland Refining Co. v. Duffy and Related Case Law

Oklahoma case law offers insights into the recovery of rental car costs. In Marland Refining Co. v. Duffy, 1923 OK 1039, the court established that there is no recovery for loss of use on a total loss, with an exception for commercial vehicles. This was further supported in DTS Tank Service, Inc. v. Vanderveen, 1984 OK 49, which allowed owners to recover loss of use if a commercial vehicle is irreparably damaged.

Ready to Assist You

Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident and concerned about rental car coverage? Hasbrook & Hasbrook is here to help. A free consultation with our team can address your concerns and assist you through the process, ensuring you’re not left without a vehicle or facing unforeseen costs.

Rental Car FAQs

What documents do I need to rent a car after an accident?

You will need a valid driver’s license, a credit card, and proof of insurance. It’s also advisable to have documentation from your insurance provider confirming coverage for rental vehicles.

How do I know if my insurance covers rental cars?

Review your insurance policy or contact your insurance provider directly. Coverage for rental cars may be included in your policy or available as an optional add-on.

Can I be reimbursed for a rental car if I’m not at fault?

If another driver is at fault for the accident, their insurance should cover your rental car expenses. However, you may need to provide evidence of the costs incurred.

What if the rental car gets damaged?

If the rental car is damaged, your auto insurance or the coverage provided by your credit card may cover the damages. It’s important to report any damage to the rental agency and your insurance company as soon as possible.

How do I dispute a claim denial by the at-fault driver’s insurance?

You can consult with a legal professional for guidance on disputing the denial. The Oklahoma Insurance Department can also provide resources and assistance in filing a claim.

What should I do if my rental car coverage is insufficient?

If your rental car coverage is insufficient, you may need to pay the difference out of pocket. Consider discussing your options with your insurance provider or seeking legal advice to explore alternative solutions.

Can I extend the rental period if my car’s repairs are delayed?

You may be able to extend the rental period, but this depends on the terms of your insurance coverage and the rental agreement. Contact your insurance provider and the rental agency to discuss your options.

Is it possible to rent a car without a credit card?

Some rental agencies may allow you to rent a car without a credit card, but you may need to provide a larger deposit or additional documentation. Check with the rental agency for their specific requirements.

How do I choose the right rental car?

Consider choosing a rental car that is similar in size and features to your own vehicle. This ensures you have a comparable driving experience and that the rental costs are likely to be covered by insurance.

What happens if the rental costs exceed my insurance coverage?

If the rental costs exceed your insurance coverage, you will be responsible for paying the difference. It’s important to understand the limits of your coverage and discuss any concerns with your insurance provider.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partner, Clayton T. Hasbrook who has years of legal experience as a personal injury lawyer. Our last modified date shows when this page was last reviewed.