What Happens If I Get in a Car Accident in a Leased Car?
Have You Been Involved In An Accident In A Leased Car? You’re Still Entitled To Compensation If You’re Deemed Not At Fault.
April 17, 2019
Leasing a vehicle is a great alternative to buying. Drivers can lease newer models for less than the cost of buying without worrying about vehicle maintenance or committing to a single car for the next 10 years. Dealerships today lease about 3 in 10 cars that leave the lot, according to U.S. News. What many drivers are not as sure about as the actual lease is what happens if they get into collisions in leased vehicles. Lack of ownership can pose unique legal issues. You’re entitled to compensation if you’re involved in an accident in a leased car.
What Is a Leased Car?
The traditional way to get a new car is to buy one. Most buyers take out vehicle loans to purchase new cars, and then pay off their car loans over time (typically in monthly installments). Not all drivers wish to purchase or own their vehicles, however. Leasing a car is an alternative to buying. It is similar to renting a vehicle, except the driver will have a longer-term contract with the lessor.
In a vehicle lease, the driver pays for the depreciation of the vehicle over the term of the lease, on top of lessor fees and interest rates. For example, if you lease an SUV worth $30,000 for three years, and the estimated depreciated value of the SUV at the end of that three years is $20,000, you will pay the difference: $10,000. The lessor will divide your payments into installments over the course of your lease. At the end of your contract, you will renew your lease or return the vehicle to the dealership.
Insurance Requirements for Leased Vehicles
You may not own a leased vehicle, but you must still pay for insurance to legally drive it in the state of Nevada. Taking out a leased vehicle insurance policy will ensure you have the coverage you need in case of an accident. To make sure your policy will protect you from financial liability after a crash, meet at least the minimum insurance requirements in Nevada.
- $25,000 in bodily injury insurance per person
- $50,000 in bodily injury insurance per accident
- $20,000 in property damage insurance
Most vehicle leasing companies will require you to pay for insurance coverage beyond the minimum required amounts. You may have to purchase guaranteed asset protection (GAP) coverage, for example. GAP coverage protects the leasing company by fulfilling your financial obligation to the company if you total the vehicle or someone steals it.
You may also want to purchase additional coverage types to pay for your personal medical bills or losses in an at-fault accident, such as collision or comprehensive auto insurance. The more insurance you purchase, the stronger your liability protection after a crash.
What to Do After an Accident in a Leased Vehicle
If you get into an accident in a leased car, the initial steps to take afterward remain the same. Stay on the scene, check for injuries, call the police, and seek medical care. The insurance claim process, however, will look different. You will need to notify both your insurance company and the leasing company after a collision. You have separate contracts with both companies that require you to report any accidents as soon as possible. Follow the steps each company gives you for how to proceed. But be warned, did you know that an insurance claims adjuster can actually hurt your case? Learn more here. To receive the full guide on how to win your auto accident case, add your email below and we will send it to you free of charge.
Typically, you will take the leased vehicle to a shop for an evaluation and estimate of repairs. Your insurance company – or the insurance company of the at-fault driver – will then pay for the cost of repairs or vehicle replacement. You will still owe the leasing company, however, for any remaining payments you have under the lease. GAP coverage will take care of this payment if you have this type of insurance.
What If I’m In An Accident In A Leased Car That Wasn’t My Fault
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, in your leased car, that was caused by a negligent driver you can still collect compensation. As with all car injury cases, you can claim the following:
- Medical coverage: The compensation awarded can cover up to 100% of your crash-related medical bills and care costs, including future medical bills for an ongoing or permanent disability.
- Lost wages: You could recover compensation for financial loss or missing work while out due to sickness or injury from your accident.
- Pain and suffering, including loss of life: Nevada courts will assess your physical pain and suffering – including emotional distress and mental anguish – relating to your accident and place a monetary amount on it.
- Property damage: You are eligible to recover damages in the amount that covers the cost of vehicle or property repair or replacements.
- Punitive damages: If the defendant acted in a negligent, malicious, or intentional way, the courts could award punitive damages that include jail time or community service.
Hiring A Lawyer For A Leased Car Accident
There are many pitfalls an accident victim can fall into when trying to navigate a car accident lawsuit in a leased vehicle. One of our auto accident lawyers at Cogburn Law can successfully and smoothly guide you through the entire process and help you negotiate your insurance claim. Feel free to call us at (702) 748-7777 for a free consultation. We operate on a no-win-no-fee basis so you risk nothing with us.
I was hesitant about getting a lawyer for many reasons, however, the entire staff at Cogburn reassured me that everything would be okay. They were always very attentive and provided detailed answers to any questions I had. I would like to thank the entire staff for all of your hard work, making sure that my daughters and I were compensated for the car accident, and making sure we received all the necessary treatment. You were awesome. If you need an attorney that won’t look at you as just another case, that’ll return your calls/emails I definitely recommend this team!