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What Happens If You Total A Rental Car?

leased car keys
Madeleine Jones
June 8, 2021

A rental car is still a very popular option for many drivers in America. In the U.S. in 2020, 26% of all new car sales were rentals. So, what happens if you total a rentalcar? There are specific things you need to do that can be different if you owned a car. Let’s discuss determining liability, insurance coverage issues, and how a Nevada car accident attorney can help you in the event of totaling a rental car.

leased car accident

What Constitutes A Totaled Car?

According to the Nevada DMV, a car is considered totaled when the car damages exceed 65% of the car’s fair market value. This means that if the car’s repair costs go over 65% of the total value of the car before the accident, the insurance company will write it off as a total loss.

A key element to take into consideration is the fair market value of the car. The value is not the same as the number of dollars you paid for the vehicle. It is also not the same value as the outstanding amount on your lease. It is actually the car’s retail value in current market conditions before the accident. This is a very important distinction that will come in handy when it comes to insurance coverage.

What Happens If You Total A Rental Car?

The following are the steps you need to take after you total a rental car, which is very similar to any other car accident.

  • Take your car to safety and stay at the accident scene
  • Call 911 and check if anybody needs medical treatment
  • Get the other driver’s contact, registration, and insurance policy information
  • Do not admit you were at fault
  • Take plenty of pictures of the scene of the accident and car damage
  • If there were any witnesses, get their contact information
  • Get medical attention immediately
  • Call a car accident attorney, who will then call your insurance company

However, dealing with a totaled rental car accident is more complicated. You will also need to contact the rental company and let them know of your crash. After that, you will need to take your car to a repair shop and if the repairs are too much, the insurance company will call it a total loss.

When you rent a car you don’t actually own it. Once you sign a leasing agreement, you are agreeing to return the car in a good acceptable condition. So, what happens if you total a rental car? If you total your rental car, you are required to pay the outstanding balance that remains on the lease. This is why it’s crucial to have good insurance coverage.

Insurance Coverage Requirements

In Nevada, it is mandatory that every driver has minimum liability coverage of:

  • $50,000 bodily injury per accident
  • $20,000 property damage per accident
  • $25,000 bodily injury per person

What liability insurance is basically the coverage of damages, either bodily or property, that another driver or person suffered if you were liable for the accident. These are only minimum amounts of coverage, so they may not be enough to cover all of the damages in a total loss collision. Liability insurance does not cover your own injuries or car damages.

Additionally, rental companies require you to have full insurance coverage before you rent a car. This means you have collision and comprehensive coverage on top of the liability coverage.

Who’s At Fault

Generally, when it comes to rental car accidents there are two scenarios.

Not My Fault

If the accident was not your fault, you can file a claim against the other driver’s insurance. This means that their insurance will be in charge of the car’s replacement costs, medical bills, and any other damage you have endured.

You are also able to sue the at-fault driver. This would happen if their insurance doesn’t cover your losses. Your situation can get complex and it is always best to speak with an experienced car accident attorney to fully understand all your options.

At Fault

If you were at fault for the accident and your rental car is now totaled, you need to file a claim against your comprehensive or personal collision coverage. Typically, your insurance will pay out the current value of your car. However, this doesn’t release you from your lease agreement obligations.

In both scenarios, fault and standard car accident law apply. Nevada is a fault state, meaning that the person at fault is responsible for compensating the other driver’s damages. However, it can be tricky to determine fault. There are many factors that can play a role in determining who is at fault. You need to speak to an attorney to guide you through this legal process.

How Much Can I Get For My Totaled Car

The most asked question when it comes to totaled rental cars. “How much money will I actually get?”

After they declare your car a total loss, the insurance company will give you the current cash value of the car. But, how do insurance companies know the fair market value? This is where things can get more complicated.

Insurance companies have their own formulas to come up with these values. So it makes sense that their calculations may be different than other valuations. If the insurance company falls short of what you think your car’s value is, you can negotiate with them.

The better you can back up your case with documentation and proof, you may have better chances of getting higher compensation. An attorney can help you gathering these documents and negotiating with the insurance company.

Car Accident Attorneys in Las Vegas And Henderson

A car accident can affect every aspect of your life, not only you have to worry about your injuries but also your car repairs. If you have suffered from severe injuries because of a rental car accident, we can help you. Cogburn Law can provide you with legal counsel. Contact our Las Vegas and Henderson injury attorneys today for a free initial consultation!

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.

Jessica F.