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Silverthorne Attorneys is a personal injury law firm in Orange County whose top priority and singular focus is the people we represent. We work diligently to make sure that our clients are well taken care of and that their needs are not only met, but come first. Injured now? Do not hesitate to reach out to Silverthorne Attorneys for a free consultation.
What Happens in an Accident in a Leased Car
Do you ever wonder what happens if you are in an accident in you are leasing? Well, I know I had this question and I am even more sure that I am not the only one. Working for an accident lawyer I have learned a lot about insurance companies and what we need to do in case of unforeseen circumstances. Today, I am going to discuss what to do if you are in a car that you do not own outright. If you are in an accident in a leased car and you need a car accident attorney, please do not hesitate to contact us. Consultations are free!
Accident Lawyer | You Were in an Accident, What Now?
First thing is first, do not panic! When you have been in an accident, you still need to do what is necessary. Exchange information, take pictures of the scene, and file a police report. One thing to note is that you will need to carry the appropriate amount of insurance. This is in order to cover the cost of the full lease. For instance, some insurance companies may require that you carry at least $100,000 in bodily liability coverage and at least $50,000 in property damage liability.
The insurance company will then determine who the at-fault party is and the overall damage to the vehicle. Our accident lawyer should note that you should also take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic. This is because you want someone who you trust to look at your car to get you a fair estimate. This is assuming that your vehicle has not been totaled – we will discuss more about that later.
If the accident does not total your vehicle, the at-fault party’s insurance policy will pay for the repairs to your car. You will still continue to make payments on your lease. It should be noted, that your leasing company has to approve the shop where you take your car for repairs. If you fail to get approval from the leasing company, you lose the option to get back any deposit you paid on the lease.
What if the Car is Totaled?
If the at-fault insurance company determines your vehicle to be a total loss, the insurance company will then pay the leaseholder the value of the car before you were in the accident. A car is considered to be a total loss if the damages exceed 75% of the total value of the car. Unfortunately, as the leaseholder, you are then responsible for the remainder of the balance that is not covered by insurance.
This is the time you will want to call your finance company and inform them of what happened. Since they are technically still the owners of the vehicle you are making payments on, they will want to know what happened to their vehicle.
Remaining Lease Payments
Depending on the circumstances of your accident and the terms of your lease agreement, the leasing company may have you pay for the remaining balance of the lease. Furthermore, they may also charge you termination fees. Our car accident attorney suggests adding Gap insurance to your lease. This will help to offset any of the remaining lease payments as well as any additional fees. When I purchased my new car about a year ago, the leasing office highly recommended this coverage because if you don’t have it, you may have to pay out of pocket.
Car Accident Attorney | Next Steps
If your vehicle is not considered a total loss, once you and your car accident attorney at Silverthorne Attorneys have received an estimate for the repairs to the leased vehicle, you can go ahead and get those done right away. During this time and considering that your car is not a total loss, you will continue to make payments as usual.
We should caution you: if you try to sell your vehicle after it has been involved in an accident, the overall trade and resale amount will diminish the value of your vehicle. However, if you return the car or buy it outright, you bypass any of those issues. Our accident lawyer advises that you do not return the car before the lease is up, as you will suffer from a loss of value due to an accident.
This is especially important to remember. Especially if you have been in a minor accident and the damages are not extensive. That is because if you return it before the end of the lease and there was damage done to the vehicle, the overall value decreases.
It is important to have a good insurance policy when you are leasing a car. Overall, it’s important to have good insurance anyways. But when you are leasing a vehicle that you do not own, the car belongs to the leasing company. Shop around for a policy that will fit your needs and one that you can benefit from.
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However, when it comes to accidents and insurance companies, do not be fooled. An insurance company is a business. Therefore, they will do whatever it takes to make sure the business is not losing money. And that means that they will do everything in their power to try to lowball your settlement. Insurance companies use very sneaky tactics to get you to settle before you are ready.
That is why contacting Silverthorne Attorneys is so important. Our attorneys have years of experience dealing with insurance adjusters and we never back down when they are being unfair. If you have been in an accident and need representation, contact our office. Consultations are free!