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Q

How long do you keep a rental after your car is considered a total loss? Will the at fault party insurance find you a car after making your car a total loss?


A

Typically when the insurance company decides that your car is a total loss instead of getting it repaired than if you have a rental car they will continue to pay until a reasonable settlement offer is given to you. Then once the settlement offer is given they may give you a few days however the payments for a rental car is not normally allowed to go on and on as you look for a new car.

State laws and insurance company policy terms and guidelines vary. For instance the South Dakota insurance regulator notes that if the insurance company, after the investigation has been completed has accepted 100 percent of your damages, the other person's insurance company should pay for rental car charges. However, if the insurance company makes a reasonable offer to settle the damages to your car and you decline their offer, they will cease paying the storage and rental expenses from that date.

In general unless there are state laws that say something different an insurer may terminate rental car payments when they extend a reasonable settlement to the owner of the total loss vehicle. Some carriers will extend the rental payment for 72 hours (or 3 to 4 days) after they make the offer so you have time to make other arraignments for transportation. Remember this is after an offer has been made, this does not mean an offer you agree with so if you want to negotiate a higher amount likely the rental car will not be paid by the insurance company during that time.

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It will depend upon state laws as well as an insurance company's guidelines if you can request a replacement vehicle instead of taking a cash settlement if your vehicle is declared a total loss. Typically an insurance company will want to settle your claim for your totaled loss vehicle by paying you actual cash value (ACV) for the car and then it is up to you to find a replacement car with these monies. In some states there is the option of requesting a replacement car instead of the money.

The insurance regulator for the state of Oregon for example notes a total loss is declared when it would cost more to restore a vehicle to its original condition than to buy a similar replacement vehicle on the market. An insurance company may provide reimbursement for a vehicle that is a total loss by offering a comparable vehicle in your local area, or by paying a cash settlement based on your vehicle's fair market value.

While the Office of the Commissioner (OCI) for Wisconsin states a personal auto policy is not a replacement policy. Coverage for your car is based on actual cash value. The actual cash value (ACV) of your car is based on the value of your car at the time of the accident or incident, taking into account its current market value. Therefore, the insurance company's obligation is to repair the car based upon its actual cash value or payout this amount.

So to find out if your state permits a replacement car instead of a cash settlement you can check with your state's insurance regulator. If this is an option in your state then check with the insurance company's claims adjuster that is working on your claim to find out if this is an option available to you.

You also can ask your state's insurance regulator if any there are state laws governing the rental car issue.

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1 Responses to "How long do you keep a rental after your car is considered a total loss? Will the at fault party insurance find you a car after making your car a total loss?"
  1. Anonymous

    Thank You! Very helpful.

      Reply»