Getting into a car accident is often a stressful matter. It can be more stressful if you were driving a leased car when you crashed. A leased vehicle is a long-term rental agreement for a personal vehicle and there are a few things you need to know if you crash a leased car.
The accident certainly won’t affect your vehicle lease, so you will still owe the leasing company for the car’s value. But your car is damaged in the accident and needs an expensive repair to get back on the road. This is where your car insurance kicks in. But as we all know, things get tricky when insurance companies are involved.
Leased Cars Explained
Leasing a car is fairly similar to renting a car but for a longer term. You’re basically paying the dealership to use a vehicle for a certain amount of time, after which you will have to return the vehicle to the leasing company after the period ends.
This differs from purchasing a vehicle with a car loan. In both cases you will have monthly payments, but unlike a car loan where you would eventually own the vehicle, with a lease you will not own the car eventually and will just fulfill the lease contract.
What Happens If a Leased Car Gets Totaled in an Accident?
This will largely depend on the type of auto insurance you carry. Normally, a vehicle is deemed a total loss if the estimated cost to repair the damages sustained is more than 65% of the car’s value.
If your insurance is a standard comprehensive policy, the insurance company will only pay the current value of your vehicle, which will most definitely be lower than the amount owed to the leasing company.
However, if your policy includes what is called “gap insurance”, then it will cover the difference between the amount you owe the leasing company and the payout you received.
What To Do After a Leased Car Accident
After a car accident, many people get disoriented and don’t know the proper steps to take to protect themselves and their loved ones. Here are some of the best tips on what to do following a leased car accident presented by expert accident attorneys Shapiro Appleton Washburn & Sharp:
Call the Police
Even if the accident is minor and especially if it was major or if there were any injuries involved. Filing a police report is crucial in presenting and preserving all the facts, and would help you solve any disputes that arise after the accident.
Take Proper Documentation
It is essential to document the damage and the scene to the best of your ability after an accident. Take photos with your smartphone of everything you can, including both vehicles, the scene, any injuries sustained, and any property damage. Gather the contact info of the other driver and any witnesses of the accident to further strengthen your claim.
Get Medical Attention
This is arguably the most important step to take. Your health should always be your top priority. So try to seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident. And don’t forget to save all the medical records pertaining to your injuries as they will be incredibly helpful to your insurance claim.
Call an Attorney
Before you speak to any insurance adjusters, you should seek help from a car accident lawyer. An attorney can guide you through the best way to tackle the insurance claim and could negotiate on your behalf to ensure you receive a fair compensation for your damages.
Notify the Leasing Company
Talk to the leasing company and let them know what happened to the vehicle. Since the vehicle is leased, any repairs done must use original parts and must be able to restore it to a like-new condition.