Leasing a car has become a popular option, especially as the price of buying a new car has gone up. Leases offer the ability to get a new car every few years, without worrying about the maintenance that comes with owning a car for a long amount of time. Unfortunately, car accidents happen whether you’ve bought your car, or you’re leasing. In the case of the latter, it’s important to know what to do, should you be involved in a car accident.
A leased car is essentially a long-term rental car. A monthly payment is made in exchange for using the car. At the end of the lease period, the car is brought back to the dealership or leasing company, and turned in. Unlike a vehicle you take a loan out for pay off, you don’t own a leased car when the lease is up. When leasing a car, you’re essentially paying for the depreciation of that vehicle.
First things first. If you’ve been in a leased car accident, it’s important to make sure you, or anyone else involved in the crash, hasn’t been injured. Calling the police should be next on the list. Law enforcement involvement is important regardless of injuries involved, as police officers can properly document what happened, interview witnesses and produce a police report. Having a police report will help down the line, especially if there are any disputes about who caused the accident.
Exchanging information, including name, phone number and insurance information is important with the other drivers involved. Taking photos of the damage is also a good idea, if you can.
In New York State by law, all cars must be insured. The insurance company should be notified of the car accident as soon as possible, a rule that applies to leased cars. The dealership or leasing company should also be immediately notified of the car accident, as they may have specific requirements for repairs.
After contacting the insurance company, the assigned adjuster may set up an appointment for the damage to the car to be assessed by a claims adjuster. That may involve taking the car to a specific shop, or having the adjuster come to where the vehicle is.
Depending on the lease terms, you may be required to get the car fixed with original manufactured parts, as opposed to after-market parts. Not using original parts to fix the vehicle could cost you down the line, if financial penalties are imposed by the leasing company or dealership.
Pursuing a claim against another driver, should you feel that driver is at fault, is the same whether you lease or own the car.
If, for instance, the body shop or adjuster declares the car a total loss, the insurance company usually pays the leasing company for the actual value of the vehicle. With a lease, however, you still may owe the remaining payments under the lease agreement, unless you have gap insurance, which would cover the difference. It’s important to know what’s in your lease contract.
It’s also important to remember that you’ll be on the hook for any damage to the leased car when you turn it in. It may be worth getting damage fixed, even if it seems minor at the time.
Depending on your lease, it may be your responsibility to take care of, along with any wear and tear.
At the Law Offices of William Mattar, we can help you after your leased car accident. If you sustained personal injuries, you may be entitled to compensation. Call our car accident attorneys today at (844) 444-4444.