Leased Car Accident Attorney in Harrisonburg
Many Virginians take advantage of the option of leasing a new car rather than buying one. Leasing a car is essentially entering into a fixed-term car rental. It requires a smaller down payment and lower monthly payments than a car loan. About one out of four vehicles in the U.S. in 2021 were driven under leases.
If you are driving a leased car, you may wonder what happens if your leased car is in an accident. Your concerns may be about paying for repairs, whether you can return a leased car after an accident, and exactly how an accident affects a car lease.
In many ways, responding to a leased car accident is no different than handling a standard car accident. But a lease is a contract. It may have certain requirements you must not overlook or it could adversely affect your insurance claim. Because leased cars are recent models, they are fully insured, meaning there should be adequate insurance coverage available to repair the vehicle.
At the Kendall Law Firm, we have helped thousands of car accident victims from Harrisonburg and across Virginia. We can handle your leased car accident claim to ensure it is submitted correctly and that you claim all of the compensation you are entitled to receive. Phone (866) 590-9773 today for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case.
What Is Car Leasing?
A car lease is a long-term rental agreement that provides a set amount of time and a limited number of miles you can drive the vehicle. Monthly lease payments, which are less than car loan payments, are based on the car’s loss of value over the course of the lease. When the lease term is up, you return the car to the dealership and can walk away. You may enter a contract to lease another new car or buy the car you’ve been driving.
A lease is usually for 3 to 5 years (36 to 60 months) with a limit of 10,000 or 15,000 miles per year. Because monthly payments are based on the depreciation of the car’s value, there will be a per-mile fee charged at the end of the lease for mileage that exceeds the limit. This makes it important to be certain you’ll put less than the 10,000 to 15,000 mile limit on your car each year if you are considering a lease.
What Happens If My Leased Car Is in an Accident?
After a car accident in a leased car, you need to remember that you do not own the car. This means the car owner – the dealership or leasing agency – must be notified about the accident. It also means there will be another party involved in your efforts to obtain compensation for your losses through an insurance claim.
Your car lease contract will require you to return the car in sellable condition at the end of your lease. After an accident, you must either have the car repaired or declared a total loss.
Your lease may require you to have the dealership or leasing agency approve any garage you take the vehicle to for repairs. You may be required to have the dealership repair the vehicle.
After a leased car accident, you should:
- Phone 911 to report the accident to the police. Request an ambulance if needed.
- Gather your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance card to exchange information with the other driver.
- Take photos of the vehicles and their damage and any visible injuries you have.
- Get the contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
- Get a medical exam within 24 hours if you are not taken to a hospital emergency room.
- Report the accident to your auto insurance provider and the car leasing agency and follow their instructions for obtaining repairs.
At the Kendall Law Firm, we can handle your insurance claim, including a claim for bodily injury compensation if you have been injured. Contact us with any questions you have about the insurance process, property damage, car accident injuries, or compensation you are due. We will answer your questions in a free case consultation with no obligation.
Full Insurance Offers an Advantage After an Accident in a Leased Car
The good news about being in an accident in a leased car is that the car itself is typically well insured. Because it is a relatively new car, the leasing agency will require you to insure the leased vehicle for its full value. The insurance costs are a part of the monthly payment.
Insurance on a leased car includes:
- Collision. Collision coverage pays for damage to the covered vehicle caused by a collision with another vehicle or fixed object when the policyholder is at fault.
- Comprehensive. This is coverage that pays in cases of theft or damage caused by an incident other than a collision, such as vandalism, hail, flood, fire, falling rocks, or trees.
- GAP insurance. Collision and comprehensive insurance payouts are based on the market value of the vehicle at the time of the accident. If your leased car is totaled, there may be a “gap” between what you owe on your lease and what insurance coverage on the car will pay. Guaranteed asset replacement insurance pays the difference.
- Liability insurance. Liability coverage pays for harm to others when you are at fault for a car accident. Conversely, you obtain payment through another driver’s liability insurance if they injure you. The terms of a car lease may require you to maintain more auto liability insurance than required by the state where you live. In Virginia, the minimum required liability coverage for policies effective January 1, 2022, provides:
- $30,000 for injury or death of one person
- $60,000 for injury or death of two or more people
- $20,000 for property damage
After an accident in a leased car, you would seek compensation for damage to the vehicle through your auto insurance. If the accident was someone else’s fault, you would first seek compensation for vehicle damage, as well as your personal injuries, through their auto liability insurance. If any insurer were to deny your claim or offer to pay you less than you deserved, you should contact a leased car accident lawyer. How do you know how much compensation you deserve after a leased car accident? An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you understand what you expect.
Contact a Harrisonburg Leased Car Accident Attorney
After a leased car accident in Harrisonburg, VA, take advantage of Kendall Law Firm’s offer of a free case evaluation. If we handle your case, we can investigate to determine who was at fault for the accident, identify all insurance coverage applicable to the accident, assess the full extent of your losses, and pursue a claim for the maximum compensation available. Contact us online today or phone (866) 590-9773 for your free case evaluation.