You’ve gotten into an auto accident, and your ride’s too banged up to drive. Thank goodness you’re ok, but now you need a rental car. Where do you even begin? 

Getting a rental car from a car insurance claim for a covered comprehensive or collision loss is fairly straightforward. But it can be tricky to know which insurer to call, where to go, and even how to pay for the rental. Luckily, insurers and rental car companies have these methods dialed in, and all you have to do is pick up the phone to begin the process of replacing your own car with a solid rental. If you’re thinking about changing car insurance, now’s a great time to weigh your options for cheap car insurance—and you can do it all online! 

With Insurify, you only need to enter a few details like your ZIP, the kind of car you drive, and your driving habits, and you’ll get back 10+ real quotes in minutes.

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When to Seek Rental Car Reimbursement 

Rental car reimbursement coverage can pay for a rental car if your car is damaged in a covered accident and out of commission for more than 24 hours. This kind of rental car coverage covers each vehicle on your policy separately. Generally speaking, you are given a per-day rental car allotment not to exceed a certain number of days or dollar amount. For example, a $30/$900 policy means that you can spend $30 a day on a rental car while not exceeding $900 total. Many insurance companies refer to this kind of coverage as “extended transportation expenses coverage” because it can also pay for Uber, Lyft, or even train tickets if other modes of transportation are more efficient for you during this time. 

But who do you call for the rental? Do you make a claim against your own policy or the other insurance company? And how much money do you even have to spend? 

First things first—it’s important to never admit fault in an accident. And you need to get the following things before you file a claim: the other driver’s contact information, their insurance information, and a police report including witness statements. These are just some of the things that the insurance company will use to determine fault when the claim is made. Other ways they determine fault include investigating video footage, traffic light patterns, and vehicle damage. 

Regardless of who’s at fault, it’s always good to call your own insurance company first to determine what rental reimbursement coverage you may have on your insurance policy. If fault is assigned to the other driver, you or your insurance company can contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company to file a claim that includes rental vehicle coverage to get you back on the road in a comparable vehicle. If your damage is minor and you aren’t sure whether you want to make a claim at all, many insurance companies allow you to call in for a free consultation and discuss your possible claim with someone knowledgeable.

Once you make a claim, an insurance adjuster is assigned and usually is in contact with you within 24 hours to discuss your needs as they relate to your claim, including your rental car. If the other party is at fault, the driver’s insurer will be making all the rental car arrangements for you directly or through your insurance company. Fault isn’t always established soon after the accident, but rest assured that your insurance company is committed to working for you and getting you in a rental car that corresponds to your policy as soon as possible.

Just like insurance companies work with preferred body shops, the insurance adjuster will give you a list of preferred rental car agencies you can choose from. You don’t have to use the preferred agencies, but the insurance companies have usually negotiated a lower rate with them, so it would be in your best interest financially. Often, the rental car agencies are set up to exchange payment with the insurance company directly instead of you having to pay out of pocket, which is a plus. Companies like Enterprise even have a free pick-up service, which means that you won’t even have to get yourself to the rental location. It’s all done for you.

In terms of picking out which car you want to drive, you do have a choice (though driving a similar vehicle will keep your out-of-pocket costs low). For example, if your rental car reimbursement gives you $50 per day for the cost of a rental car, but you want to try out something more luxurious at $100 per day, you’ll have to pick up the difference.

Can I get rental car insurance? 

Yes, you can get rental car insurance for your replacement vehicle. In fact, you can get it from the company that you rent the car from. However, you may not have to. Believe it or not, you may already have a certain level of additional insurance coverage through your auto insurance agency or your credit card issuer. Check with them first before deciding to supplement your coverage with the rental car agency. Coverages include collision, liability, medical, and more. Limits and deductibles vary, so make sure you know the details before purchasing any policy.

Rental Car Reimbursement FAQ

Whose insurer do I call for rental car reimbursement? Mine or theirs?

If the accident is clearly the other driver’s fault, it makes good sense to call their insurance company or have your insurance agent file a third-party claim for you. If you are unsure or know that it is indeed your fault, then filing a claim with your insurance company is the answer.

How much do typical policies pay for a rental car?

The answer really depends on the policy that you’ve purchased. The more expensive your vehicle, the more coverage you probably have. Generally speaking, you are given a per-day rental car allotment that is not to exceed a certain number of days or dollar amount. For example, a $30/$900 policy means that you can spend $30 a day on a rental car while not exceeding $900 total. That amounts to a month-long rental reimbursement.

Where can I compare car insurance quotes online and get a cheaper policy?

If you’re looking for a cheaper policy, Insurify.com is an AI-driven quote comparison site that lets you compare hundreds of national and regional car insurance companies online—quickly returning you a list of 10+ quotes that you can act on immediately.

Conclusion: Where to get the best and cheapest car insurance quotes

When you’re looking for good car insurance, yes, you want the cheapest rates. But you also want that rate to include the basic coverage required and include every discount that you possibly qualify for. That’s why people go to Insurify.com for their car insurance quotes. 

Insurify lets you compare hundreds of car insurance companies easily—taking dollar upon dollar off the top by matching you with multiple discounts and competitive cheap car insurance quotes.

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Rental Car Reimbursement FAQ

Whose insurer do I call for rental car reimbursement? Mine or theirs?

If the accident is clearly the other driver’s fault, it makes good sense to call their insurance company or have your insurance agent file a third-party claim for you. If you are unsure or know that it is indeed your fault, then filing a claim with your insurance company is the answer.

How much do typical policies pay for a rental car?

The answer really depends on the policy that you’ve purchased. The more expensive your vehicle, the more coverage you probably have. Generally speaking, you are given a per-day rental car allotment that is not to exceed a certain number of days or dollar amount. For example, a $30/$900 policy means that you can spend $30 a day on a rental car while not exceeding $900 total. That amounts to a month-long rental reimbursement.

Where can I compare car insurance quotes online and get a cheaper policy?

If you’re looking for a cheaper policy, Insurify.com is an AI-driven quote comparison site that lets you compare hundreds of national and regional car insurance companies online—quickly returning you a list of 10+ quotes that you can act on immediately.

Updated December 3, 2020

Jeannette Wisniewski is a technology writer whose passion is encouraging people to engage with technology by making it more understandable and more interesting. Though she enjoys writing business copy for a wide range of subjects, she is most inspired by emerging tech and its applications. She is a graduate of San Jose State University, a Georgia Peach at heart, and happy to call Boise, ID home.