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Auto Insurance Claims/When can I get a car rental after the car accident?

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QUESTION: My car was hit from behind and it has been damaged in rear. The car is drivable but I have left my car in the body shop and informed the at fault car insurance of the car location. The at fault car insurance handler told me the repair needs their approval. I am waiting for the insurance approval and probably completion of the on-site inspection. When can I get a car rental, as soon as the car in the body shop, after the insurance approves the repair, repair starts or what else? Can you explain it? Thank you.

ANSWER: Ray,

If you weren't at fault and another party is, and your vehicle is not safely operable, you have a right to be either provided a rental vehicle comparable to yours OR...to be provided financial compensation for each day you are without your vehicle and until it is returned to you properly and thoroughly repaired. Receiving compensation in lieu of an actual rental car  is referred to as "Loss of Use" and is owed regardless of how many vehicles you may own or are at your disposal.

The repair doesn't require the other party's insurer's "approval". You do not have a contract with them and thus you are under no obligation to them or their company's policies and procedures.

You do have a moral and ethical responsibility to act in a fair and reasonable manner and only attain competitively priced repairs that are reasonable and necessary to restore your vehicle to its pre-loss condition in safety, appearance, reliability and value to the best of reasonable human ability. This is what the at-fault party owes you and what their insurer owes them to provide you on their behalf up to the limits of their coverage under "Property Damage Liability".

The insurer may withhold payment until they have completed their investigation as to liability and coverage but will owe you for your loss of use from the time your vehicle was removed from your use.

Remember; The at-fault party owes for your damages...their insurer owes them to defend them by resolving your damages to keep you from seeking recovery from their insured (the at-fault party) but your dealing with the insurer is strictly as a courtesy to the at-fault party as you are under no obligation, contractually, legally or morally with their insurer.

Hope this helps!

Note: I am not an attorney and no longer a licensed claims adjuster and cannot and do not offer legal counsel. I provide information based upon my experience and acquired knowledge in such matters. If you need legal counsel you are encouraged to seek same from a licensed attorney trained in such matters.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Before I drove my car to the body shop, the at fault car insurance seems very hurry to come to appraise my car damage. After I told the at fault car insurance that the car had been driven to the body shop, the insurance handler becomes quite. The insurance neither contact the body shop immediately nor me. Do you mean I do not need to have the at fault car insurance approval but just go ahead to have my car repaired and then provide the at fault car insurance with the repair receipt as well as the demand for the loss of the car use? I still do not know how many days of loss of car use I can demand, starting from the car in the body shop, insurance approves the repair or it is standard such as 10 days etc? Can you clarify it? Thank you.

Answer
I cannot provide legal advice and with that said: Yes...in most instances in most states you may not need to report it or let the at-fault party's insurer inspect your vehicle before handling your repair. You can get the repairs done and present a bill to the at-fault party or their insurer.

When another causes your damages, you are entitled for Loss of Use for every day your vehicle is removed from your normal and frequent use...regardless of how many vehicles you own, you are entitled for the loss of use of the damaged one for the "reasonable" period of time to make repair.

The insurer may use a algorithm to try and determine a "reasonable time for repair" but many interruptions can occur and are often incurred such as hidden damages, parts delays, insurer delays, other work in progress (back-log) etc. The at-fault party owes for the time to make necessary repair.

If the vehicle is safely drive able you will want to take it in by appointment after parts are ordered and received to help mitigate losses...if a tail light is out or another issue that renders the vehicle as unsafe to drive...the Loss of Use begins at the time of the loss.

Sorry for the delay. Please remember this is a non-paid volunteer site to help others in their time of need.
Hope this helps.

Barrett

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Barrett Smith

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Auto Claim and Collision Repair issues including quality and thoroughness of repair, Diminished Value, Total Loss settlement valuation, Appraisal Clause matters, Expert Testimony, pre-purchase inspections and others. While having been a Senior Claims Adjuster, I am not licensed to practice law and cannot provide legal counsel. I will provide replies as friendly and informal advice based upon my experiences and those of our clients as possible. For more information on our offerings please visit www.AutoDamageExperts.com For more informatin on our offerings please visit www.AutoDamageExperts.com

Experience

I grew up working in a family owned auto body repair business my father owned and operated in Alaska and after leaving the US Air Force I started my own repair facility in Florida. I later became a senior claims adjuster for a national auto insurer and later managed two GM dealership collision centers. I started another shop which was recognized as a "Top Shop" in central Florida for over 15 years winning numerous local accolades and awards such as Business of the Year. In 2001 I developed Auto Damage Experts to provide its services nation wide and to all segments illustrating balance and equity for all ADE clients. For more information please visit www.AutoDamageExperts.com

Organizations
ASA (Automotive Service Association), SCRS, CCRE and others... For more information please request CV or visit www.AutoDamageExperts.com

Publications
Local and national publications including but not limited to Auto Body Repair News (ABRN), Body Shop Business (BSB) and others. For more information please request CV or visit www.AutoDamageExperts.com

Education/Credentials
ASE Master Certified in collision repair/refinishing including damage diagnosis and estimating. Please request CV or visit www.AutoDamageExperts.com

Awards and Honors
As a quality Collision Repair facility owner, we received Top shop, Small Business of the year and other awards and accolades. Please request CV for additional information in this regard.

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ADE provides services to all segments including Legal professionals, Consumers, Auto Dealers, Insurers, Governmental and judicial entities. For more information please request CV or visit www.AutoDamageExperts.com

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