What to do if You’re in an Accident in a Leased Car?
It can be hard to know what to do after a car accident. It can be even more confusing if you drive a leased vehicle. A leased vehicle is a long-term rental agreement for a personal vehicle. When you’re in an accident in a leased vehicle, there are some unique things that you need to know. Here’s what you need to know about car accidents in a leased car from our Miami car accident attorneys.
What to Do After an Accident With a Leased Car in Florida
When you’re in an accident with a leased car in Florida, you should stop your vehicle and remain at the scene. Call law enforcement and call emergency medical personnel if anyone might be hurt. You must notify the leasing company and your insurance provider about the accident.
Depending on the circumstances, you might repair the vehicle and continue the lease, or you might terminate the lease. It depends on the severity of the damage. Your car insurance policy and gap insurance may cover your losses.
Do You Have to Report an Accident on a Leased Car?
Yes, you have to report an accident on a leased car. Your lease contract almost certainly has a requirement in it that you must report an accident to the leasing company. The timeline to make the report is short – often only a day or two. There is nothing to gain by failing to tell the leasing company about an accident. Your best bet is to comply with the terms of the lease and let them know right away if you’re in a crash.
What Happens If You Get Into a Car Accident With a Leased Car?
If you get into a car accident with a leased car, you must comply with all laws about reporting the accident to police. In addition, you must notify your leasing company about the accident. If you can repair the vehicle, the insurance company covers your repairs minus your deductible.
When the car is a total loss, you still owe the leasing company for the value of the vehicle. However, you might have gap insurance that can cover the difference. You may also be able to roll the outstanding balance into a new lease.
Does an Accident Affect Car Lease?
No, an accident does not affect a car lease. You still owe the leasing company for the value of the vehicle when an accident occurs. However, you may cover repairs with your insurance policy. You may also have gap insurance that pays the difference if you total a leased car, and you suddenly owe the leasing company for the entire value of the vehicle.
What Happens If Your Leased Car Is Totaled?
If your lease car is totaled, the insurance policy pays you for the current value of the vehicle. When the current value of the vehicle is the outstanding balance of the lease, you terminate the lease, and you break even.
Unfortunately, in most cases, you still owe something to the leasing company. You might have extra insurance called gap insurance that covers the difference. You should check and see if you have gap coverage that can step in when you have an outstanding lease balance after an accident.
Damage to a Leased Car
What happens after you suffer damage to a leased car depends on the level of damage to the car, who is at fault for the accident, and the insurance coverage that you have. If your vehicle can be repaired, you have the repairs done.
Be sure to check the terms of your lease — some lease agreements require you to have your vehicle serviced at an approved location. Also, keep in mind that most contracts prevent you from using aftermarket parts for repairs. If you can repair your car, you have the repairs done, and your insurance company pays you back minus your deductible.
What Happens If a Leased Car Gets Totaled
If a leased car gets totaled, your lease is going to end one way or the other. You still owe the lease company for the outstanding balance on your loan. But there are some things that you can do to cover the expense. Usually, the standard for totaled is when it’s going to cost more than 65 percent of the value of the car to make the repairs.
The first step is to see what your car insurance pays you for the value of the vehicle. If they pay you for some or all of the value of the car, you put that amount towards the outstanding balance. Both Florida law and your car lease require you to have certain types of car insurance. You should see if your policy covers some or all of your losses.
In addition, most lease contracts require you to have something called gap insurance. Gap insurance steps in to pay the difference if you’re in an accident in a leased car and your car insurance doesn’t fully cover it. If you lease a vehicle, you probably have gap insurance even if you don’t know it. You should check to see whether this insurance coverage can step in.
Finally, you can bring a lawsuit against the responsible party to cover your losses. If you’re not at fault for the accident, in theory, the responsible party should pay you for the full amount of your damages. Of course, if the other party doesn’t have insurance or if there are questions of shared fault, it might not be that simple. But in many circumstances, bringing a legal claim for recovery may be the very thing that you can and should do after an accident in a leased vehicle. The standard to win your case is the same as it is in all other types of car accident cases.
Leased Car Totaled Not at Fault
When you have a leased car totaled, but you’re not at fault, don’t forget that you can sue the responsible party for your damages. The driver who causes the accident owes you compensation for your losses. Damage to your leased vehicle is a kind of loss. Your right to bring a claim for compensation is the same whether you lease or own your vehicle. A claim for compensation might be the best way for you to cover the damages to your leased vehicle.
Contact Our Miami Car Accident Lawyers
Have you been in an accident? Do you need help with a crash involving a leased vehicle? Bernstein & Maryanoff can help.
Our attorneys are aggressive, determined litigators. We use every possible avenue to reach the best possible result after an accident in a leased vehicle. Call us today to talk about your case.