At Fault Fender Bender, Rental for Victim Not Completely Covered?

Discussion in 'Auto Insurance Forum' started by someGuide, Jul 22, 2017.

  1. someGuide
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    someGuide New Member

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    Hi,
    I was involved in collision where I was cited for failure to yield. My liability insurance fixed the other guys car but only paid for a portion of his car rental while his was being fixed. My insurance company said that he rented a car from a place that they don't have a special rate with and that he paid a non-market rate. Now the guy I hit is asking me for the difference ($600).

    Is this a common occurrence or expected behavior from the insurance company?

    I asked the person I hit to call my agent directly and if it didn't work out to his satisfaction to contact our state insurance commissioner.

    My agent told me a bunch of things that sort of went over my head. It sounded like "blah blah blah, we're not going to pay. If you wanted us to have your back you need an umbrella policy."

    What would you do?
     
  2. adjusterjack
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    adjusterjack Well-Known Member

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    Actually, it's both.

    Your insurance company is contractually obligated to you to pay damages for which you are legally liable and defend you against claims for damages for which you are not legally liable. That applies to the dollar amount of the claim as well as the determination of fault.

    Damages in a negligence claim is the amount of money that returns the claimant to the position he was in before the accident.

    If he overpaid on the rental he might not be entitled to the additional $600.

    Agent? Wrong. You should have referred him to the claim rep at your insurance company because (no offense to agents) agents don't know squat about claims and have no business getting in the middle of them.

    Which would also be useless because your insurance company has no contractual obligation to the claimant and is only obligated to defend you. There is nothing that the insurance commissioner will do about a denial of that additional $600 because it is up to a court of law, and only a court of law to say whether you owe it or not.

    No offense to agents, but yours is a moron. An umbrella policy has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not the claimant is entitled to another $600 for his rental car.

    Whatever questions you have about your liability for the other driver's damages should be addressed to the claim rep at your insurance company's claim department.

    I would refer the claimant back to the claim rep at my insurance company and not get into any further discussions with him about the $600.


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    smh.

    Underinsured Motorist Coverage provides coverage for the policyholder if another driver who causes an accident doesn't have enough coverage to pay for the policyholder's injuries.

    It has nothing to do with a claim for additional rental car costs of the claimant that the policyholder hit.
     
  3. someGuide
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    someGuide New Member

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    Thank you Adjuster Jack, that was super helpful!

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    I'm frustrated by this situation. I have liability insurance, I hit this fella and he's out of pocket. His rental might not have been the best deal in town but he wouldn't have done it if he hadn't been hit. It was a comparable vehicle for the time he needed it from a national chain.

    He sent me an email that said my insurance company declined to pay the rental cars 'additional driver fee' - even though their car was the only one they had between him and his wife. There were other fees - some consequence of using the rental place at the airport it seems.

    Is it really the responsibility of the renter to find a great bargain or work with my insurance before renting a vehicle?
     
  4. Josh
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    Josh Well-Known Member

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    It's not a about finding a bargain, it's about checking to see what they will cover. Usually if they want to just go through the insurance company the carrier can handle it with a vendor they work with. Of course you don't know whay you don't know.

    You're off the hook and if he wants to sue you it's up to the carrier to defend you. If you want to give him money out of guilt/charity then nothing will stop you from that, but I doubt you'll make much progress getting the carrier to pony up more.
     
  5. adjusterjack
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    adjusterjack Well-Known Member

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    He's definitely not entitled to that.

    He wouldn't be entitled to fees paid for optional items like collision damage waiver, liability insurance. As for the airport fee (which is common at airports) he would have to show that there was no choice but to rent at the airport and I'm not sure I would buy that.

    There is a doctrine in negligence law that requires the damaged party to mitigate his damages. That means he must use reasonable care and diligence to minimize or avoid unnecessary monetary loss. Failure to mitigate reduces the amount he can recover.

    So, the answer to both parts of your question is no, he doesn't have to mitigate, he just isn't going to get paid for failing to do so.

    No need for you to be frustrated. No need to involve yourself with him. Leave it to your insurance company and refer him back to your claim rep if he contacts you again.
     
  6. someGuide
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    someGuide New Member

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    Thanks again for your replies, you've been very helpful.
     
  7. VolAgent
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    VolAgent Well-Known Member

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    I knew there was more to this...

    Typically the insurance company will offer to secure a rental and send the person to a location where the company gets a discount as well. That would have avoided the airport fee and the rental company probably would have worked with him or even waived the additional driver fees. Any coverages sold by the rental company would remain his responsibility and his alone. As would any fees he incurred for cleaning, pet, smoking, fuel, damage, etc.

    Just to make it concrete. Enterprise will nickel and dime you to death, UNLESS it is an insurance company. Then suddenly all those silly fees go away.

    It sounds like the guy created a mess that shouldn't have existed. At this point, he can take you to court, probably small claims. The insurance company will be obligated to defend you and will almost certainly quash it. The odds this going anywhere are slim to none.

    Should he contact you again regarding this, you should refer him to the claims department at the insurance company. You signed a contract with them to protect you in situations like this, let them do their job. If he threatens to sue you, notify the claims department directly and cut off all communications with him.
     

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