Most motor vehicle accidents create enough damage that auto repair is needed, which leaves you requiring an alternate form of transportation the interim. Already consumed with the stress of the motor vehicle accident, you need to consider how you will get to medical appointments, get groceries, and get to work or school if you are able to attend. This disruption from the accident is minimized if you have car rental endorsement on your automobile insurance policy. Most drivers have this coverage but it is best to check your individual policy to see if you are entitled to a rental car after an auto accident.
“Loss of Use” Coverage
“Loss of use” coverage under your automobile policy protects you from the loss of the use of your vehicle because of the accident. Under Division 5, Part 2B of the ICBC Autoplan Optional Policy, loss of use coverage provides that while a vehicle is being repaired after an accident, expenses can be claimed for renting a motor vehicle, hiring taxis or using public transportation. If you are under age 21, most car rental companies won’t rent a vehicle to you, so hiring a taxi or using public transit may be your only option.
There is no deductible amount applicable but there is a $100 daily limit and total limit per occurrence of $500 for reimbursement under the loss of use provision. If you do not have loss of use coverage under your policy and you are not the at-fault driver, then you might still be able recover that expense at the end of the claim because you were not at-fault. Your car accident lawyer or personal injury lawyer is able to make this claim for you.
Much like the way you have a choice of auto repair shop for your vehicle damages from the accident, you may select a car rental service of your choice under “loss of use” insurance provisions. If you rent from an approved provider, they can bill your insurance company directly for the car rental, which is very convenient to you. If you rent a car from a provider that is not approved, you must pay the cost up front and then will need to submit receipts and a claim form in order to be reimbursed.
The expenses reimbursed for renting a vehicle are for no more than an established rental service would charge the insurance for renting a similar vehicle for the same duration. Coverage is for a substitute vehicle of a make and model that is similar to your motor vehicle. So, if you own a compact car and want to rent a more costly make or model, you cannot get reimbursed for choosing to upsize. Similarly, if you have a sport utility vehicle, you cannot be expected to take a compact car as a substitute, though you may want to choose a lower-cost vehicle in order to ensure that your total limit for reimbursement is not reached before your vehicle has been repaired. Since the protection only covers rentals needed while your vehicle is being repaired for damages, you cannot get reimbursement if your vehicle stays in the shop for normal maintenance or repairs or rentals for recreational purposes.
Further, there is no reimbursement for the cost of fuel, maintenance or additional insurance coverage paid for the rental vehicle. Your basic auto insurance coverage transfers to the rental vehicle during that period, however, and payment by credit card could provide some level of secondary coverage for collision and theft protection.
What If I Don’t Have Loss of Use Coverage?
“Loss of use” coverage is an optional provision, so you need to have purchased it on your auto insurance plan before the accident to claim it, especially for coverage if you are the at-fault driver. If you have not purchased loss of use coverage, ICBC will only pay for a rental vehicle once the other driver admits fault or if they determine you were not at fault. Unfortunately, some at-fault drivers are slow to report accidents, in which case you can be waiting for approval for quite some time. If you are certain fault will be admitted eventually or that the ICBC will find the other party at fault, you can rent a car at your own expense and seek to recover the money later.
Suffered a Personal Injury? Call Taylor & Blair LLP
If you have sufferd a personal injury in Vancouver or the surrounding area and are in need of legal services, contact Taylor & Blair LLP today to speak to one of our legal professionals today. We have six law offices arcoss B.C. with offices in Vancouver, Burnaby, North Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, Richmond and Surrey.
Kevin Blair &
Taylor & Blair LLP
Personal Injury lawyers
1607 – 805 West Broadway