What am I entitled to for a rental reimbursement?

The other party’s insurance carrier has accepted liability. They want to limit auto reimbursement to $30 per day (a standard size vehicle). However, I am in the middle of intrastate move and need to use a larger vehicle (my car was a CRV). O/P Insurance company says they are only liable for $30 per day. Thought I was entitled to like kind and quality.

Asked on February 26, 2013 under Accident Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Your own insurer would only have to pay you whatever rental reimbursement amount your policy provided for (if any). The other party's insurer, however, should have to pay for a rental roughly comparable to what you had been driving: when a driver is at fault, he is potentially liable for the all the damage he causes, which means that his insurer (subject to policy limits) is potentially liable for the damaged party's actual costs and losses. However, here the kicker: paying you is voluntary on their part UNLESS you actually sue the other driver and win; that is, the insurer could, for example, decline to pay anything, forcing you to sue to establish your right to money. Or rather than declining to pay at all, they could cap what they are willing to pay, offering you a settlement that you may feel is low; however, since the only way to force them to pay more is to sue their driver, you need to consider whether that is worthwhile. In this case, say that you are otherwise satisfied with the settlement, and the difference in rental is $20/day for, say, 30 days--or $600. Is it worthwhile rejecting the settlement over $600 and suing? Even if you sue in small claims court, there will some costs, monetary and otherwise (e.g. you taking a day off from work); winning, even with a good case, is never 100% certain; and because cases take time, you will delay receiving compensation for months. It may be better to accept that you  will have to pay some of the rental yourself.

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