What is loss of use coverage auto insurance?
Los Angeles has a strong car culture. Residents who are unable to drive their cars after an accident will undoubtedly experience personal and practical losses from being deprived of the value of their car, even for a short period of time.
The Los Angeles car accident lawyers at Ellis Law Corporation are part of the City’s car culture. We represent clients whose cars have been damaged in accidents, and we understand the nuances of loss of use auto insurance. When warranted, we include the value of the loss of use of a car after an accident as a component of the damages that we will seek from the negligent party that caused the accident and that party’s insurance company.
Loss of use auto coverage is a property damage insurance rider that covers a party’s reasonable costs to rent a similar vehicle for the amount of time that is required to repair the car that was damaged in an accident. If an accident damages a car beyond repair, loss of use coverage may be available for the amount of time required to replace the vehicle. In California, a person may be entitled to loss of use damages even if that person does not rent a substitute vehicle during the repair or replacement period.
Table of Contents
How you can prove the value of your loss of use of your car.
If you rent a car while your damaged vehicle is being repaired, your rental receipts are clear proof of the value of your loss. You could also present receipts for taxis or ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft that you used in place of your car. If you do not have receipts, your car accident attorney may be able to use advertisements or price quotes from rental car companies. If your accident case goes to trial, your attorney may also call a rental car agent as an expert witness to testify about the cost of a replacement rental car.
Loss of use auto insurance coverage should provide a comparable vehicle.
If you normally drive a luxury vehicle or a full-size sedan, loss of use auto insurance should not force you to accept a sub-compact car as a legitimate replacement while your car is being repaired. Insurance companies often default to a rule of thumb that provides loss of use reimbursement in a range of $25 to $30 per day. Consult with an experienced auto accident attorney if an insurer declines to reimburse the costs of an appropriate replacement vehicle. A knowledgeable attorney will know how to negotiate with an insurance company to get the compensation you deserve.
Expect resistance from the insurance company.
In addition to declining to reimburse the costs of an appropriate replacement, insurance companies use other arguments to reject loss of use property damage claims. An insurance company might argue, for example:
- the value of your car had depreciated significantly when it was involved in an accident;
- repairs do not require as much time as your mechanic has estimated, or your mechanic is taking too long to complete the repairs;
- you own another substitute vehicle that is available for your use;
- you are eligible for reimbursement from other sources, such as a business.
The validity of these and other defenses, in part, will be a function of the language of the loss of use auto insurance rider that is in the policy of the negligent party that caused the accident. When you are looking for an attorney to represent you in your auto accident case, make sure that your attorney understands insurance coverage law and can respond to insurance company arguments with legitimate rebuttals to compensate you for all of your losses.
The damages that you can recover after an auto accident are always specific to the accident itself.
No attorney can guarantee that you will receive compensation for the loss of use of your vehicle after it is damaged in an accident, or that you will recover any other specific amount of damages. Rather, an experienced attorney will know how to organize the facts and circumstances of your car accident and to present an argument that will substantially improve your opportunity to receive the largest possible reimbursement for your property losses, medical expenses, and non-economic damages (e.g. pain and suffering).
If you have been in a car accident in Los Angeles or elsewhere in Southern California that put your vehicle out of commission for an extended period of time, please contact one of our car accident lawyers as soon as possible after the accident for a complimentary analysis of your case. Call the Ellis Law Corporation for more information on loss of use auto insurance coverage.