If you’ve ever tried to rent a car while your car was being repaired, you’re probably familiar with the frustration of having your auto insurance carrier deny the claim because they don’t cover rentals.
While it can be maddening at times, most carriers will actually cover some expenses if the need arises, even if it isn’t in their policy word for word.
Here are some scenarios where an auto insurance carrier would pay for a rental vehicle under normal circumstances.
1) When you’re in an accident
If you’re in an accident and your car is not drivable, your auto insurance carrier will usually cover a rental car if you have comprehensive coverage.
But there are some other times when they’ll cover it too. If you’ve been in an accident and need to rent a car but don’t have any coverage, the rental company may offer to give you the car for free.
✓) If your license has been revoked and you need to drive for work purposes (i.e. delivering food).
✓) If you’re disabled and need to drive a different vehicle because yours is being repaired or replaced.
✓) If you’ve gotten into an accident while driving someone else’s car without their permission.
✓)If your vehicle is being fixed at the shop under warranty, then this only applies if the total cost of repairs exceeds $1,500 and lasts more than four weeks.
2) When your car is stolen
This is one of the few instances where your auto insurance carrier will cover the cost of your rental car. In fact, this coverage is included in most comprehensive and collision policies.
If you file an accident report with the police, your auto insurance carrier may also cover the cost of a rental car for up to 30 days after the accident.
If you are involved in an accident that’s not your fault: You may be able to get reimbursement for a rental car if the other driver was at fault.
The same goes if your vehicle was hit by a tree or stolen from outside of your home.
3) When your car is totaled
When your car is totaled, your insurance company will pay you the fair market value of the vehicle. This amount may be less than what you owe on the car.
The difference between these two figures represents your equity in the vehicle and can be used to buy a replacement vehicle.
If you are financing or leasing the car, it’s best to consult with your lender or lease company before deciding what to do with this money because they might have restrictions about how much money is allowed for a down payment.
when you send in your application for final disposition/total loss settlement from an auto insurer.
4) When you’re in a hit and run
If you’re in a hit and run and the other driver is not found, then your auto insurance carrier will cover your rental car. If you’re in an accident with another driver who doesn’t have any insurance, then the other driver’s auto insurance will cover your rental car.
If you crash into something that causes damage to your vehicle, then your auto insurance company will cover the cost of a rental car until repairs are finished.
If your car was stolen, then the theft coverage from your auto insurance will cover a rental car for up to 30 days while you search for it.
And if you get in an accident because of weather or natural disasters (like floods), then the collision coverage from your auto insurance company should be able to pay for a rental car for up to 30 days.
5) When you’re in a natural disaster
If you’re in an area that’s been hit by a natural disaster and your car is damaged or destroyed, you won’t have to worry about the cost of a rental car because many auto insurance carriers will cover the cost of one.
If you live in an area that has been affected by severe weather, be sure to contact your carrier before heading out on the road.
Some companies may even waive deductibles and offer other assistance while they work with their customers who are trying to recover from these unfortunate events.
When your car breaks down: In some cases, if your vehicle breaks down unexpectedly, the expense of renting another one for a limited period may be covered by your auto insurance company.
For example, GEICO covers up to 3 days for mechanical failure or unforeseen circumstances when renting for reasonable reasons.
6) When you’re in a fire
Many people think that if your car is in a fire, your auto insurance won’t cover anything. However, this isn’t always true. If you can prove that the fire was not your fault and that it wasn’t the result of an accident, then your carrier will most likely cover the cost of a rental vehicle.
Keep in mind that you may have to pay for any damage done to the rental car before the fire occurred.
Additionally, most states require that the fire be reported to law enforcement as soon as possible.
When you’re involved in a collision: Collisions are one of the worst situations for drivers.
In many cases, collisions are also one of the worst times for motorists when it comes to renting a new vehicle from their insurer since many carriers offer only limited coverage or none at all.
7) When you have to go to jury duty
If you are called for jury duty and your car is in the shop, your auto insurance carrier will cover the cost of rental car. This coverage is usually limited to one day, but can be extended if needed.
If your vehicle was totaled by an accident or stolen from the street: Most people know that their auto insurance carrier will cover this type of incident with no questions asked.
However, some carriers also extend this coverage for other types of theft or loss (like when you leave your keys in the ignition and someone takes off with it).
Again, limits apply. For example, most auto insurers only provide coverage for up to 7 days. But make sure you notify them immediately so they don’t decline later on.
If you have comprehensive and collision: These two types of insurance help pay for damages to your car caused by anything other than wear and tear like hail damage, vandalism or even hitting a deer while driving through rural areas.