Legal Question in Insurance Law in California

Auto Accident

I was in an auto accident that was not my fault. My car needs repairs. 21st Century has offered to repair my car and give me a rental car. However they say I have to pay for the rental car insurance and I have to have provide a credit card to obtain the car. They will pay for the rental charges. I do not have a credit card. My questions is: Don't they owe me transportation while my car is being repaired without anything coming out of my pocket or whether or not I have a credit card?

Asked on 2/13/07, 5:39 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

Re: Auto Accident

Most auto policies cover rental cars up to a maximum dollar amount. The insurers do not provide the rental cars; they are obliged only to reimburse their insured for the costs. Whether you are able to meet a rental company's requirements is not the insurer's responsibility.

Whether you need rental insurance depends upon the extent to which your policy applies to rented vehicles. If your policy does not include coverage for rentals -- or does not provide as much coverage as the rental company requires -- you have to pay for the rest. Having had an accident does not entitle you to coverage beyond what you paid for

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Answered on 2/16/07, 7:31 pm
Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

Re: Auto Accident (Clarification)

My prior answer may be a bit confusing. In my first paragraph I was writing about policies which reimburse owners for the cost of renting a car while the insured vehicle is being repaired; this is a type of policy benefit. In the second paragraph I was referring to insurance for rental cars themselves, which is a type of coverage. I apologize for not making the distinction more clearly.

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Answered on 2/16/07, 9:07 pm
Jonathan Stein Law Offices of Jonathan G. Stein

Re: Auto Accident

Assuming 21st Century insures the other party (and its not that clear), then they are obligated to pay you either loss of use or rental of a like, kind and quality automobile. However, they only pay for the car, not the insurance, gas, etc.... If you have your own auto insurance policy, that should provide you coverage while you are in the vehicle. If you do not have your own auto insurance, you will have to pay for the insurance. As for the credit card, I would suggest you ask someone you know who has a credit card if they will rent with you. Or, you can shop around and see if you can find a rental agency that will not require a credit card. Your other solution would be to borrow a car from a friend and pay them a fair amount for rental. You could then collect this back from 21st Century. Finally, you could collect loss of use, if you do not rent a vehicle at all.

If 21st Century is your insurance company, the most they will pay is the amount in the policy. If it is $20 per day, that is the most they will pay, but again, they will not pay for the insurance, gas, etc.... They will also not be responsible if you do not have a credit card.

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Answered on 2/17/07, 12:15 am

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