If we have a rental car due to an auto accident that was not our fault, can we keep our rental until our car is repaired?

Our car is still at the auto body shop waiting to hear back on estimate of completion. The auto insurance company says we need to return the rental car Friday. I thought we are able to keep the rental car until our car is complete?

Asked on December 1, 2015 under Accident Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If it is your insurance paying for the rental, they only have to provide as many days coverage as the policy says they have to--check the policy (which is a contract, after all) to see what you are entitled to.
If it is the other driver's insurance, if you have not sued the other driver and gotten a judgment in your favor, then it is voluntary on the part of the other driver's insurance whether and how much to offer you for car rental. (It is voluntary becaue there is no court judgment, order, determination, etc.) Therefore, they can decide when enough is enough. If you feel you are not overall getting enough from the other driver or his/her insurance (enough rental coverage; enough money for repairs; money for any lost wages; etc.), then you have the right to sue them and try to prove they owe you more...but bear in mind that even if you do so and win, they'd only have to pay the "reasonable" length of  a rental, and if your car repair is taking unusually or unreasinably long, they would not have to cover the excess time.


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