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How to Navigate Car Accidents Involving Rental or Leased Vehicles?

Personal Injuries

How Do Leased Cars Differ from Other Vehicles?

If you lease a vehicle, you make a down payment and negotiate payment terms to be granted the right to use the car. Vehicle leases typically last two to five years, and the installments vary depending on the down payment and the lease length. You don’t own a leased car and can’t trade it in against the purchase of another vehicle, regardless of the car’s condition.

It’s essential to understand how insurance laws for leased vehicles work and what to do if you get into an accident. Personal injury lawyers in North Carolina take you through the critical steps and how to navigate the insurance and liability complexities of leased cars in North Carolina.

What Are the Initial Steps After a Car Accident in a Rental or Leased Car?

Just like in any other car accident, it’s crucial to ensure you take the necessary steps to avoid getting into trouble with the authorities. Car accident attorneys in North Carolina advise that you:

  • Check yourself for injuries
  • Check if the other people involved in the accident have been hurt and call for emergency medical help for severe injuries
  • Call enforcement officers to report the accident
  • Remove your car from the road if it is still in a condition to move
  • Get yourself and others out of harm’s way
  • Exchange details with the other driver, such as their name, contact details, and insurance company details
  • Try to get contact information from witnesses at the scene
  • Take photos or videos of the accident and note any surveillance cameras in the area
  • Inform your rental company about the accident as soon as possibl
  • Do not admit fault for the accident even if you believe you are to blame

Your rental company will guide you based on company policy and rental agreement terms. It’s also advisable to consult skilled North Carolina car accident lawyers for advice on protecting your rights. They have extensive knowledge in car accident claims and can ensure you successfully handle whatever legal issue may arise following the accident.

What Are Rental Car Insurance Requirements in North Carolina?

When renting a car in North Carolina, it’s crucial to understand the insurance policies related to the rental agreement. Most rental car companies offer supplemental insurance coverage to protect drivers if they get into an accident:

Liability Insurance

North Carolina has a minimum requirement for liability insurance. It compensates for damage to other people’s property and injuries caused by accident victims if you’re at fault. The policy doesn’t cover damage to the rental car or injuries to the driver.

Your rental company may provide supplemental liability insurance in addition to the one you carry. This may be beneficial if you lease a high-value car.

Personal Property Insurance

Some rental companies may offer personal property insurance to cover the loss of your property in an accident. The coverage extends to property stolen from the rental car during your travels. Check the specific policy to determine whether your property is protected if you lose personal property while using the vehicle.

Collision Coverage

Collision insurance covers damage to the rental car, regardless of who is at fault. You can purchase it as a stand-alone policy or an add-on to liability insurance. It’s essential to read the policy carefully and ask questions about the limits if you need clarification on any part of the coverage.

Who Pays for Repairs for a Damaged Leased Car After an Accident?

The at-fault driver’s insurance company is liable for repairing a leased car damaged in an accident. However, the state also has contributory negligence laws, which dictate that you’re not eligible to recover damages if you’re found to be partially at fault for the accident.

Given that so much is at stake and you could lose the compensation you rightfully deserve, you must gather thorough evidence to prove your case. A strong compensation claim depends on how you present your case. Skilled car accident lawyers in North Carolina can help you handle the legal aspects to enhance the chances of a favorable outcome.

If You Are at Fault

If you were responsible for the accident, your option may be to turn to your insurance company for coverage of the costs of repairing the rental car. The coverage may reimburse the rental fees if you have collision insurance, depending on the terms. You may also benefit from rental reimbursement coverage if you purchased it as an optional policy.

If the Leased Car is Totaled

After the accident, the car will be transported to a body shop for inspection, and mechanics will estimate the repair costs. The insurance company will use the report to determine whether to approve repairs or write off the vehicle. Many insurance companies cover the costs of a rental car for only 30 days after an accident, even if the vehicle takes longer to repair.

Some policies may place a daily or total upper limit on the reimbursement, even if the car costs more than the amount reimbursed. If the repair costs are more than a specific percentage of the vehicle’s worth, the company pays out the vehicle’s market value, and you pay the balance of what remains on the car loan. Gap insurance can cover this difference.

A Skilled Car Accident Lawyer Helping You Navigate Rental Car Accidents

Car accidents can be traumatic, especially if bodily injury is involved. Dealing with the aftermath of an accident in a rental or leased car can be complex if you don’t understand how the law works in North Carolina. Fortunately, working with skilled North Carolina car accident lawyers who understand the insurance claims process can make the process easier,
Brent & Adams Associates is a reputable North Carolina law firm that hosts experienced personal injury attorneys. We dedicate ourselves to helping injury victims obtain the compensation they deserve. Call us at 910-249-6891 to schedule a FREE case consultation.

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