If you get in a car wreck, you probably want nothing more than for things to return to normal afterward. They can, but it’s going to take a while, and there are several steps you’ll have to go through in the meantime.
For instance, you’ll need to figure out how you’re going to get around while a mechanic repairs your car. You also might need a rental car until you purchase a new vehicle if you determine that the crash totaled your last one.
Having a rental car will impact your lifestyle in certain ways. Let’s talk about those.
HOW EXACTLY DO YOU GET A RENTAL CAR AFTER A CRASH?
Which insurance company provides your rental car depends on who caused the accident. If you caused it, then you’ll need to go through your own insurance provider. If another driver caused it, you must go through their company.
In a perfect world, you might file your claim and pick up your rental car immediately. In reality, that rarely happens. The reason is that many insurance companies will want you to jump through innumerable hoops before they provide you with a vehicle.
You should also note that if you have to go through your provider, since you caused the crash, you might not have rental car coverage unless you paid extra for it. That additional cost might be $1-2 per month on your policy, and maybe you elected not to pay it. If so, you’ve to find other ways to get around till you can replace your vehicle.
WHAT HAPPENS ONCE YOU GET YOUR RENTAL CAR
Let’s say that you’ve jumped through the insurance company’s various hoops, and now you have a vehicle to use for the time being. You might wonder if there are certain restrictions regarding what you can do with it.
Often, restrictions do exist. Some insurance companies only want you to drive your rental car around town. They won’t want you taking it across the country or putting a ton of miles on it.
This can impact your lifestyle at least temporarily. Maybe you were going to take a car trip before the crash. Now, even though you have a replacement rental vehicle, you’ll need to put your trip on hold if you want to avoid defying the agreement your insurance company made you sign.
HOW LONG CAN YOU KEEP THE RENTAL CAR?
You’ll need to look at your insurance policy to determine how long you can keep the rental car before you need to turn it back in. It might be days or weeks, but it probably won’t be months.
Your insurance company, or the other driver’s provider, if the crash was their fault, will want you to spend that time with the rental car finding a replacement vehicle. You might purchase a new, used, or certified pre-owned one. You could wait for the mechanic to repair your damaged vehicle if you did not total it.
In the meantime, you have to be careful with that rental car. The last thing you want is for something to happen to it while it’s in your care.
The agreement might stipulate that no one else but you can drive the rental car while it’s in your possession. Even if you didn’t sign off on that, you should keep other family members or friends from driving it.
You also probably want to only drive it to and from work, the grocery store, or to pick the kids up from school. You don’t want to race it, drive to parties in it, or put it in an environment where something might happen to it accidentally.
WHAT IF YOU DIDN’T GET RENTAL CAR COVERAGE ON YOUR POLICY?
Many people don’t bother getting rental car coverage on their insurance policy. If you’re in this position, it’s not so bad. You can always rent a car on your own for a few days while you hunt for a new one.
You also could decide that you’re okay taking public transportation for a while. You might try to get relatives to give you rides to and from work.
These are not ideal circumstances, and they might cramp your style, but you have to do what you can with your financial resources. If you caused the crash, and you don’t have the money for a replacement vehicle, you might need to take some time and save yourself some money till you can get a new one.