If you’ve been in an accident and your car needs repairs, or if your car is totaled, then you are entitled to a rental car. And the first place I would look for someone to provide that rental car is the person who hits you, the person who is responsible, his or her insurance company, to provide you with that rental car.
Make Sure You Get What You’re Qualified For
Now, you are entitled to a comparable vehicle to what you were driving. So if you were driving a Chevy suburban and you’ve got five kids and you need a suburban, then I would tell them that you need a full sized SUV. Or if you’re driving a Honda Civic, then you would be entitled to a comparable vehicle to your Honda Civic. You’re entitled to it for a reasonable period of time. What that means no one really knows. What is a reasonable period of time? It’s really up to the judge if you ever get to that point and the various circumstances of your particular case.
What I’ll say about that is you have a duty to mitigate your damages – and that’s a big word. All it means is you have a duty to use a rental car for as little of a period of time as possible. So you can’t string it along and string it along and string it along for an extra couple of weeks, just because you want to stick it to the insurance company, or just because you’re upset about this, or you’re upset about that. You have a duty to get your car repaired in a timely fashion, and then turn the rental car in.
What If Your Vehicle Was Totaled?
If your vehicle was totaled and it cannot be repaired, you have a duty to go out and find a comparable vehicle or something that you can drive other than the rental car within a reasonable amount of time. Usually we’re talking for a period of two to three weeks at most. If your car takes longer to repair than that, then stay in constant contact with the insurance company about the status of the repairs of your vehicle.
If you were at fault in the accident, then you would look to your insurance company to provide you with a rental. It depends really on what your insurance policy says. If you have coverage for a rental car, then your insurance policy will provide you a rental car. But if you don’t have coverage for that rental car, then you will not be able to get a rental car in that situation.