What To Do if Your Leased Vehicle Is Totaled
Vehicle leasing is an excellent option for continual access to a new vehicle. Since you are borrowing the car, a collision can raise grave concerns. Review information on what to do if you or someone else totals a leased car.
Totaled Cars and Insurance Coverage
Totaling a car does not necessarily mean an accident wrecked a vehicle beyond repair. The expression refers to the cost of restoring the car to its previous condition. If the expense of fixing an automobile is larger than the machine’s cash value, an insurer refers to the vehicle as totaled.
When you lease a car, the property belongs to the leasing company. Any insurance payments for repair after an accident must go to the company as the owner. A lease agreement contains many stipulations, including returning the car in undamaged condition and only driving a limited number of miles. The leasing company typically dictates the amount of insurance you should carry to protect the vehicle. The limits are often well above the minimum that the state law requires.
Your leasing company probably expects you to maintain gap insurance in addition to your regular coverage. This policy covers the gap between the insurance payout and what you owe on the vehicle. For example, if you total an SUV worth $25,000 but owe $28,000 on the lease, the gap insurance pays the outstanding $3,000. Ensuring your coverage never lapses prevents a mountain of trouble after a collision.
Steps To Take After an Accident
A crash is a harrowing ordeal. Keep a copy of the following tips in your glove compartment or save them in your phone to remind you what to do after an accident:
- Call first responders. Report the incident to the police and contact medical transport if you fear the impact has seriously harmed anyone. Don’t leave the scene without sharing your side of the event with the police.
- Swap contact details with the other party. You need the other driver’s name, number, and the insurance company.
- Photograph and film the scene. Capture skid marks, property damage, injuries, and wreckage as evidence.
- Get the statements and contact information from witnesses.
- Call your insurance company. Alert the insurer to the incident to file a claim but do not elaborate on what occurred.
If you are not at fault in the accident, an experienced attorney can provide the assistance you need to fight for fair compensation. Keep in mind that insurers have their shareholders and bottom line as their primary interests. A firm may not offer what you think is a fair amount to cover damages or may attempt to undervalue the vehicle. Some people might think they are capable of handling a dispute with an insurance company independently but underestimate the struggle of contending with a robust team of insurance experts.
Reliable Help After an Accident
The stress, collection of evidence, and back-and-forth communication between parties can be very overwhelming after an accident in your leased vehicle. You don’t have to face the situation alone. Contact us Mills & Mahoney, P.A. at (919) 683-2135 to access decades of experience in your fight for fair remuneration.