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Do I have to legally turn the rental car in even though nothing has been done about my car being fixed or totaled.

Charlotte, NC |

My car was hit on Oct. 11th,2011. It took seven day's to get a rental. I get a call today ( Nov. 1st) saying I had till Friday (Nov. 4th,2011) to turn the rental in. No one has contacted me regarding my car only to tell me that I needed to give permission to release the car. No offer has been made as to my car being fixed or totaled yet I'm being told that I need to release the car and turn the rental in by Friday.

It was the other driver's fault and their insurance got the rental for me. Do I have a right not to release my car from the tow company that towed it until there is better communication as to just what is going on with my car. There has been no contact with me as to whether the car is being totaled, where the car is going and just what kind of compensation there is going to be offered if the car is indeed going to be totaled. I only have liability coverage, my insurance company told me that they wasn't any thing that they could do.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Best answer

    Most insurance policies have a limit on the number of days for a rental car.

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  2. From your question, it sounds like you are using benefits available on your policy of auto insurnace, which provide for a limited number of days for a rental vehicle. Also, the fact that you are being asked to release the car sounds like your car is totaled and the carrier wants to move it to a salvage facility.
    Who was at fault for the accident? If there is another party involved, you may have benefits available under their policy of insurance. If that is the case, you should call a personal injury attorney in your jurisdiction and get a consultation. Otherwise, you are limited to the coverage you bought.

  3. I would suggest that you get a free consultation with a lawyer to more fully explain your situation and get an outline of the legal issues involved and your legal rights/obligations. In North Carolina, generally an insurance company is responsible for providing a rental car while your car is either being repaired or until they make a good faith offer on the value of your car if it is a total loss. There are times, however, when a rental car may be extended or cut short though, depending on the specific facts of your case.
    The answer to your question will also depend on exactly what conversations you have had with the other driver's insurance company, when the car was inspected by their adjuster, what the adjuster told you, etc. Make sure that you have a good accounting of all the facts and events ready when you talk with the lawyer. Property damage claims can be a very frustrating process for auto wreck victims.
    My office does not typically represent clients who only have property damage claims, but we regularly give advice to folks to help them figure out what their options are and get them pointed in the right direction. This saves our clients money and gives them advice for something that should be routine and easy, but is not always so. Most other NC personal injury lawyers do something similar. I think this would help you out greatly.

  4. Most policies have a limit on the time you can keep a rental car. If it is the at-fault driver's insurance who is covering the damage, they will only pay for the rental for the period of time they determine it will take to repair your vehicle. You should talk to the body shop about reimbursing you for your out-of-pocket expenses if the delay is caused by them.

    Mr. Denena is licensed to practice law in Texas. This response is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Mr. Denena strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.