California is an “at fault” state for car accidents. In other words, you must prove another driver caused the crash to recover money from that driver’s insurance company for your injuries and damages. Therefore, California law states that all drivers carry a minimum amount of automobile liability insurance. The purpose of this insurance is to protect other people in the event you cause an accident.
The minimum coverage a driver must have according to California Insurance Code §11580.1b is:
- Damage to property — $5,000
- Injury or death to one person in the accident — $15,000
- Injury or death of two or more people in the accident — $30,000
Whether liability insurance covers car rental charges after an accident depends on whether you are the driver who caused the crash or an accident victim.
Accident Victims and Property Damage
If you are in a car crash, having your car replaced or repaired is one of your top priorities, after taking care of your health. If the other driver caused the car accident, his liability insurance should pay for the damages to your vehicle. In most cases, the insurance provider will pay the expense of a rental vehicle for you to drive while your vehicle is being repaired. However, there could be a few problems you may encounter.
First, it could take several days or weeks to work out an agreement with the insurance adjuster. The company must investigate the accident to determine whether its insured is liable for the collision. If so, you may receive a rental vehicle, but it may not be the vehicle you desire. The insurance provider may only authorize a daily amount for rental expense that is equal to the least expensive vehicle available from the rental company.
Another issue that you may face is losing the rental car before your vehicle is repaired. Some insurance companies authorize the rental vehicle based on the number of days “they” believe it should take to complete the repairs to your vehicle. You may obtain an extension, but it will not be without a hassle.
If your vehicle is totaled, the insurance company should offer to pay the fair market value of your vehicle. This situation can be frustrating too, because the company may offer much less than you believe your vehicle is worth. Even though you can settle your property damage claim without settling your injury claim, it may be a wise decision to consult a Fresno accident attorney now before you proceed any further through the claims process.
What if I Caused the Crash?
If you cause the crash, your insurance company will not pay for a rental vehicle under your liability insurance coverage. Liability insurance coverage does not protect you when you cause the crash. However, you may have rental car coverage as part of your insurance policy. Rental car coverage is typically very inexpensive; therefore, you may want to check with your insurance agent to determine if you have this coverage in the event you need it in the future.
Fresno Accident Attorneys for Car Accident Claims
The California car accident attorneys of Torem & Associates can help you file a property damage claim and an injury claim to fight for full compensation of all damages. Call (559) 500-5000 or 1-800-954-4444 or use the contact form on our website to schedule a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney in Fresno.