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Right to a comparable rental car after a car accident


I was in a car accident. While my SUV is in the shop, the other driver’s insurance authorized a rental sedan. I don’t want a sedan; I want an SUV. The adjuster says that because my SUV is older, a sedan is considered equivalent. Is the adjuster right, or taking advantage of me? I need an SUV to hold my work supplies. What are my rights?


Insurance companies will do anything they can to take advantage of claimants by low-balling, delaying, and failing to pay for comparable rental cars.

Under California law, you are entitled to rent a “similar” car. Specifically, California Civil Jury Instruction 3903M (Loss of Use of Personal Property) states: “To recover damages for loss of use, [name of plaintiff] must prove the reasonable cost to rent a similar [item of personal property] for the amount of time reasonably necessary to repair or replace the [item of personal property].”

The jury instruction does not take into consideration the age of the vehicle. Under California law, the other driver’s insurance carrier must put you in a similar vehicle. A sedan is not similar to an SUV. You are entitled to an SUV, regardless of the fact that your SUV was older.