In a perfect world, after a car accident at which you’re not at fault, you simply get a rental car and submit the charges to the other person’s insurance company. You then receive reimbursement for the rental fees and everything is good. Ideally, that’s how it should be. In the real world, however, that’s not always the case. If you’re ever involved in a car accident through no fault of your own, there are some important steps you must follow to make sure that the other person’s insurance company reimburses you for any car rental expenses resulting from the car accident.
Get the Car Insurance Company’s Information
Strive to remain calm. Collect the pieces of information needed to file a claim with the other insurance company. Be sure to write down the following:
- The other party’s complete name.
- Name of car insurance company.
- The person’s auto policy number.
- The car insurance company’s phone number.
Submit Pictures of the Damage to the Car Insurance Company
Nowadays, most cell phones have the capability to take pictures. Use your cell phone to your advantage. Take pictures of the damage from different angles. If possible, take pictures of the other vehicle involved as well. This is particularly important when a police report is not filed. Some states don’t require police officers to fill out a police report if the officer feels that the damage is less than $500, according to Insure.com. In other municipalities, police officers will not come out to the scene of the accident when minor accidents are involved.
In such cases, it’s important to document your case. If there are any witnesses, ask them for their contact information in case the other car insurance company wants to contact them. Having witnesses will add credibility to your case.
File a Claim With the Other Party’s Car Insurance Company
Contact the other person’s insurance carrier and inform the insurer of the accident. Avoid making unnecessary statements, and stick to the facts only. If a police report was filed, the car insurance company will obtain the details from the police report. For this reason, it’s important to read the police report before signing it to make sure that the details are accurate. Police officers can make mistakes too. The insurance carrier will rely on the report to establish liability.
Send a Letter to the Car Insurance Company
Write a letter in which you inform the other person’s auto insurance carrier of your expectations and your rights. Let the car insurance company know that you’re familiar with the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act and that it’s your right to expect reimbursement for any reasonable car rental costs associated with the auto accident.
Request a Written Authorization from the Car Insurance Company
It’s important that you have written authorization from the auto insurer before getting a rental car. Have the car insurance company email or fax the authorization to you. A written authorization means that the insurance carrier accepts liability and will cover reasonable car rental expenses.
If the other car insurance company decides to deny rental fees reimbursement, the company must notify you in writing.
Car Insurance Companies and Rental Fees Reimbursement
Car insurance companies generally place a cap on the maximum amount that they’ll pay per day on a rental car. Going over that limit means that you’ll have to pay the difference. To keep your rental fees as low as possible, choose a rental car comparable to yours. Moreover, turn down a collision damage waiver if you’re sure that your policy covers rental car damage, says Insurer.com.
Overall, it’s important to document your case if you’re ever involved in a car accident through no fault of your own. Collect all the necessary information to file a claim with the other car insurance company. It’s generally a good idea to inform your own car insurance company of the accident as well, even if you feel that you were not at fault. Keep your car rental fees as low as possible to avoid out-of-pocket expenses. Familiarize yourself with the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act. Each state has regulations in place regarding the handling of claims and the time frame in which a car insurance company should reimburse you for your damages.
Copyright © 2011 Ana Jackson. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part constitutes plagiarism, is illegal and strictly prohibited.