Should Insurance Company Pay for Rental Car?

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“I was in a car accident. I filed a claim that same morning. My insurance company called the auto body shop that I chose, with my claim number. The auto-body shop faxed over an estimate of the damage along with my claim number. My insurance company was supposed to call them with the o.k. to begin working on my car, but a week went by and the auto body shop never heard from them, so they removed me from the waiting list. In the process, I have needed to rent a vehicle through Enterprise Rent-a-Car. As a courtesy, the auto body shop would have paid 50% of my rental fees, but because of my insurance company’s ignorance, the auto body shop will not be able to begin working on my car until the 27th of this month, therefore extending my need to rent this vehicle for an extra two weeks. I do not have rental coverage on my policy, but shouldn’t my insurance company be liable for this extra expense because of their ignorance?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Have you tried calling the insurance company first? What do they say about the fact that they didn’t call the auto body shop? Have you tried asking them to pick up the tab for the rental car? And finally, as the week passed and the auto body shop had not heard from your insurance company, why didn’t you call the insurance company yourself at that time? For that matter, why didn’t the auto body shop? They were the ones in a position to know whether they had received the call or not. Did they call you during that week to let you know that they had not yet heard from the insurance company, or did they just leave you in the dark, thinking that your car was being repaired?

It may be that this was all a simple mis- or lack of communication, and if the error is on the part of the insurance company, the odds are good that they will pick up your rental car bill. If not, I’d look for a new insurance company. Or maybe a new auto body shop.

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Author: Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

Anne P. Mitchell, Esq. is a noted family law expert, Internet law expert, and Professor of Law at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. She is the author of "Surviving Divorce: the Single Father's Guide" and "The Email Deliverability Handbook"

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