My Vehicle Was a Total Loss: How Long will the Insurance Company Pay for My Rental Car?

Cars parked on a car lot.

In Tennessee, the at-fault driver is not required to provide you with a rental car if your vehicle is a “total loss” (Prewitt v. Brown 525 S.W.3d, 616 [Tenn. Ct. App. 2017]). Despite this case law, many insurance companies covering at-fault drivers in Tennessee will still pay for a rental car after an accident, so our advice is to go ahead and request a rental car from the at-fault driver’s insurance company—the worst they can say is no.

Even if your vehicle is a total loss and the at-fault driver’s insurance company is denying your request for a rental car, you may still be able to get a rental car under your own insurance policy. To determine whether rental reimbursement is available under your auto insurance policy, look at the declarations page for your policy. If your policy does include rental reimbursement, the length of time the insurance company is obligated to pay for your rental car after an accident will be controlled by the language of your policy.

Typically, insurance companies will pay for your rental car for the period of time your car is being repaired, or if your vehicle is a total loss, for 72 hours after they make an offer of settlement to you for your vehicle. Most policies also include a cap of 30 days for rental car coverage and an average monetary cap of around $900.