If someone crashed into your car in an accident, you may need a rental car.
This article applies to Florida auto accident cases. Each state has different laws.
Does the At Fault Driver’s Insurance Company Pay for Your Rental Car in Florida?
Yes, if the at fault driver’s carelessness caused damage to your vehicle (e.g. car, truck, motorcycle, scooter). This is subject to your fault, which I discuss further below.
When Does the At Fault Driver’s Insurance Company Pay for Your Rental Car in Florida?
They should pay you once the establish that their insured’s policy provides coverage, and that their driver is liable for the damage to your vehicle.
Will At Fault Driver’s Auto Insurer Contact the Rental Car Company and Pay Them for Your Rental?
Maybe. But I wouldn’t wait for this to happen. I would rent a car and then seek reimbursement from the at auto insurer for the at fault driver.
What can cause a delay in the careless party’s auto insurer paying you for your rental car?
The at fault driver’s car insurer may delay payment if:
- their insured fails to cooperate with them.
- it needs witness statements because their insured’s liability is in question.
- the at fault driver is insured by a nonstandard auto insurance company.
How much does the careless driver’s auto insurance company have to pay you for your rental car?
The tortfeasor driver’s insurer needs to pay you the actual or theoretical reasonable rental value of a similar vehicle.
For example, let’s say that you owned or leased a Honda Accord. Another driver carelessly crashed into your Honda.
You leave your car with a body shop to be repaired. In this scenario, the responsible driver’s car insurance company needs to pay you for a car that is in a similar class a Honda Accord.
Thus, they would need to pay your rental expense for a car like a Toyota Camry, Mazda 6, Volkswagen Passat or something similar. If they only offer to pay for a lesser class of car, like a Honda Civic, they are wrong.
Let’s take another example.
If the other driver was at fault and damaged your BMW 3- series, then his car insurance company needs to pay you for the rental of a similar class of car.
These include a Cadillac ATS, Lexus IS, Mercedes-Benz C-class or Jaguar XE.
Can you get money for loss of use of your motor vehicle even though you don’t rent a substitute vehicle?
In Florida, yes if someone’s negligence caused damage to your vehicle. You are entitled to compensation for loss of use even if you don’t rent a substitute vehicle.1
Does the at fault driver’s insurer pay you less for a rental car if you’re also at fault in the crash?
Yes. The amount that the at fault driver’s insurer has to pay you for your rental car is reduced by your percentage of fault.
For example, let’s assume that a car hits you while you’re driving your Volkswagen Jetta in Miami, Florida. State Farm insures the car that hit you.
You and the other driver are both 50% at fault for the crash. Your car takes 5 days to get repaired in the body shop.
You rent a Volkswagen Jetta or similar car for $38 per day, or you decide not to rent a car.
Either way, State Farm owes you $19 a day, for the 5 days that you were without a car.
The formula is:
State Farm owes you = (Rental per day cost) * (number of days without your car) * (Other driver’s % of fault)
Let’s plug in the numbers from this example:
State Farm owes you = ($38.00) * (5) * (50%)
State Farm owes you = $95
So State Farm owes you $95 for the 5 days that your car was being repaired.
Does the other driver’s auto insurer owe you money for a rental even if you received the ticket?
Maybe. While police officers usually get it right, that’s not always the case. There is a chance that a police officer gave you a ticket even though you aren’t 100% responsible for causing the crash.
If you got a ticket but were only 75% responsible for the crash, then the other driver’s insurer owes you 25% of your rental car cost for your loss of use of your car.
When is the at fault driver’s insurance quickest to pay for your rental car in Florida?
The two situations where the at fault driver’s insurance is quickest to pay for your rental car are when:
- Its insured is clearly at fault for the wreck; or
- Its insured has some fault, your injuries are big and their bodily injury (BI) liability insurance limits are low.
What Period of Time Does the At Fault Insurer Have to Pay You for a Rental Car?
Only the span of time reasonably needed to make repairs will be allowed to measure loss of use. Badillo v. Hill, 570 So.2d 1067 (Fla.App. 5 Dist.1990).
A breakdown in settlement negotiations with the careless driver or his insurer, regardless of who is at fault, will not to expand the time frame.
This time frame can be extended only if the careless driver undertook the repairs and either stalled or refused to pay for them, and was partially to blame for extending the period of time during which loss of use was experienced.
The reasonable span of time to make repairs is not expanded because of the particular financial situation of the injured party.
Check out these interesting articles about getting a rental car after a Florida auto accident:
- How to Quickly Get a Rental Car After a Florida Accident
- Get My Auto Insurance Company to Extend My Car Rental
 The case of Gonzalez v. Barrenechea Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 3rd Dist. 2015 said this. In this case, the court referenced the previous case of Meakin v. Dreier, 209 So. 2d 252, 253-254 (Fla. 2d DCA 1968).
Meakin said that Florida has adopted the Restatement of Torts as the rule of damages applicable to damages other than real estate. Motor vehicles are not real estate. Therefore, the Restatement of Torts applies to motor vehicles in Florida.
Section 928 of the Restatement of Torts provides: When one is entitled to a judgment for harm to chattels not amounting to a total destruction of value, the damages include compensation for. . . . (b) loss of use. Restatement (Second) of Torts § 928 (1979). Florida law recognizes that a party is entitled to recover loss of use damages even if a substitute chattel is not utilized. See Meakin, 209 So. 2d at 255 (ruling that the plaintiff was entitled to damages for loss of use of a motor vehicle even though a substitute vehicle was not rented).
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