Why the other guy’s insurance company won’t provide you with a rental car immediately after an accident.

One morning on the way to work you are rear-ended while waiting at a red light.  You are hurt and your car is badly damaged.  Your car was not safe to drive and has been towed to a storage lot.  The driver who rear-ended you apologized at the scene and told you she was at fault.  The police officer who investigated the accident issued the driver who hit you a ticket for rear-ending you and told you the other driver is at fault.

That afternoon you called the other driver’s insurance company and set up a claim.  They said they cannot provide you with a rental car right away.  The accident was clearly the fault of their insured, so why no rental car? You’re without your car through no fault of your own and you are frustrated…is the insurance company giving you the run-around?

The answer is that they are probably not giving you the run around.  Before an insurance company will accept liability for a claim and start doing things that cost them money (like providing you with a rental car), they will want to investigate the claim.  At a minimum they will want to speak to their driver and ask them how the accident happened.  The insurance company will also want to verify coverage, by making sure that their driver’s insurance policy was in effect on the date of the accident and that the person driving was a covered driver under the policy.

Even the most efficient insurance companies typically cannot complete an investigation within hours of a car accident, for example: they may have trouble reaching their insured to get their version of events.  While you have called and reported the claim, and you may have provided your version of how the accident happened which is completely correct and truthful, the insurance company will not make a decision to part with their money based ONLY on your version of what happened.

It is frustrating to suddenly be without your vehicle due to someone else’s carelessness and you have ever right to feel frustrated. But…think of it this way: if you got a bill in the mail from someone you didn’t know saying you owe them $1,000 and you need to mail them a check, you would want to know why they think you owe them money.  You wouldn’t just assume you owe them money because they say so and mail out the check.  You would try to figure out if you really owed the money before you paid.

Try to be patient. Even if you are frustrated, don’t take it out on the insurance adjuster.  There is an old saying: “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”  Adjusters are people too, and they are more likely to help out people who are patient and polite than people who scream at them or behave unreasonably.

If you have been injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident, typically the earlier you get sound legal advice, the better. For example, Smith & Hassler strongly recommends you do not give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company.  You can call Smith & Hassler for a free consultation regarding your motor vehicle accident claim and speak directly to our attorneys.  We can help you by talking you through the process and helping you understand what to expect.

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