Can I get the insurance company to continue paying for a rental?

I’m looking to see if I have any options. My car that I had for 3 1/2 weeks was involved in an accident. The other guy is at fault. We both have the same insurance company, State Farm. The insurance company gave me a rental to use while they were determining either to fix my car or cut me a check for total loss. They determined they were going to cut me a check and now they need the rental back. However, since I only had the vehicle for a short time, the title isn’t in my name yet even though I applied for it the day after I bought it. They won’t give me any money until it’s in my name and they have the title and won’t let me continue to use the rental even though this wasn’t my fault someone hit my parked car I had just bought. Any advice? Any way I can get them to keep letting me use rental until we get the title?

Asked on December 17, 2018 under Accident Law, Maine

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Even though you and the other driver have the same insurer, you need to think of them as separate insurers, because State Farm's duty to you on your insurance policy (assuming you have the relevant coverage) is very different from their duties as the other driver's insurer.
1) Assuming your insurance policy has rental reimbursement or coverage, yhou are entitled to whatever rental coverage--no more and no less--that the policy (which is a contract) gives you by its plain terms. Check what your policy says about a rental, to see what you are entitled to; if the insurer will not give you 100% of what the policy says they must, you could, if you deemed it wortwhile, sue them for "breach of contract" for violating their contractual obligation(s) to you. This also means that if they have paid out all the rental coverage in your policy, you are not entitled to any more.
2) However, the other driver's insurer has NO obligation to you--only to its insured. It only must pay you compensation if you sue the other driver and win; they may choose to make or offer payments without you first suing and winning, but if they do, that is voluntary on their part and would be something they do because they believe it cost effective (i.e. they think they will pay less if they pay you something voluntarily now, rather than forcing you to sue, which requires them to spend money on legal bills, then having to pay you later anyway after you win the case--they generally do this if they feel you have a strong case, so fighting is pointless). 
The above means that if State Farm was not paying for your rental as part of your policy but rather as compensation from being the other driver's insurer, it was voluntary for them to do so and you can't force them to extend you more rental coverage. You can sue their driver if you overall are not being offered what you think is fair or appropriate, but that would be your only option--to sue the other driver and try to win in court, proving that you are owed more money than you are receiving.


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