Leased Car Accident – Not My Fault. What Happens?
More and more Americans are leasing cars more than ever before. In fact, as many as 31.9 percent of licensed drivers lease their vehicles. If you have been involved in a leased car accident in Las Vegas, NV, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Although much of the recovery process will mirror that of a traditional car accident, specific situations for leased cars make having a Las Vegas car accident lawyer on your side imperative. Here are some critical things you should bear in mind when you’ve been involved in a leased car accident:
What does it mean to lease a car?
Much like leasing a home, you can think of leasing a vehicle as a long-term rental. You make a down-payment to get started, and you make monthly payments for a fixed period of time thereafter. When your lease is up, you can either a). return the vehicle to the leasing company, or b). purchase the vehicle, if your lease agreement permits.
Leasing a vehicle is very different than purchasing a vehicle on a loan. When you buy a car on a loan, you make monthly payments on the loan, and you pay interest on the loan, until you have met the requirements of your loan and own it outright. With a lease, however, you return the vehicle to the leasing company at the end of your lease.
What insurance do I need if I lease a car?
If you opt to lease a vehicle, it is important that you select the right insurance coverage to protect yourself in the event you are involved in an accident. There are various considerations to make when deciding to lease a vehicle, and it is important that you address the following:
- Meeting Nevada’s insurance minimum coverage requirements for all drivers
- Collision and comprehensive coverage
- Coverage that complies with your lease agreement
- Gap insurance/coverage
Notifying the leasing company and your insurance company
If you’re in a leased car accident, you must inform both your leasing company and your insurance company. You must contact both companies to ensure you cover all of your bases. In most cases, you’ll want to inform them as soon as possible following the accident.
What happens if I total my leased car?
Following a leased car accident, if your car is undriveable, your car will be towed to an auto repair shop of your choosing. The shop will evaluate the damage to your vehicle. If the repairs will cost more than 65 percent of the current value of the vehicle to repair it, the insurance company may decide to declare it a total loss. In that case, your insurance will generally pay you for the current value of the vehicle. However, this does not break your lease with your leasing company. You will still owe the leasing company the remaining balance under the lease… which leads us to our next topic: gap coverage.
Fortunately, if you total a leased vehicle, you can buy gap insurance to help you in the event the value of your vehicle does not equate to the remaining balance on your lease. Gap coverage is a very smart option for those who do not wish to pay a large sum of money out-of-pocket in the event their leased cars are totaled. In fact, most leasing companies require that you maintain this type of insurance on their leased vehicles. Be sure to check with your prospected leasing company to discover if this is a requirement.
What if I am not at fault for my leased car accident?
If you were hit by a negligent driver, you have the right to collect compensation for your damages. Your losses include damage to your vehicle as well as compensation for any physical and emotional injuries, both economical and non-economical. In the State of Nevada, the driver that causes the accident must pay for your damages. You reserve the right to file a claim against the negligent driver and their insurance company to recoup your losses.
Contact The Injury Firm for a free consultation
If you’re in an accident in a leased vehicle, an experienced attorney can help you determine your best options for recovery.
Attorney, Brian M. Boyer of The Injury Firm has nearly a decade of experience representing injury victims of Las Vegas, NV, and he is available for a free consultation 24/7 at (702) 800-0988. If he cannot help you, he will point you in the best direction for your specific needs.