If, like many people today, you decide to lease your vehicle rather than purchasing a new or used one, you can save money. Not only are your monthly payments lower but so is the down payment. Insurance is basically the same as when you purchase a vehicle from a state perspective. However, from your leasing company’s perspective, it is vastly different.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer for Leased Vehicles
When you are involved in an accident, you may be injured or badly shaken. Sometimes, you say things that can be intentionally or unintentionally misinterpreted. Having a legal advocate at your side is an excellent way of protecting your rights and making sure your obligations are satisfied. Call David Azizi from your cell phone at 800-991-5292 while you are at the scene of the accident. The sooner you call, the sooner David and his team can handle the details.
This is important since car accident scenes are cleaned up quickly to return traffic to normal. However, in doing this, many clues as to whom was at fault are destroyed. In addition, witnesses scatter, and even if you gather their names, their memory fades with time.
Free App for That Unexpected Car Accident
In the moments after a car accident, many people are so shaken that they simply forget what to do. A car accident checklist or app that can be downloaded to your cell phone serves as an easy referenced, step-by-step guide for just this purpose. After a crash happens, every moment is important. Download the app below.
What Happens When You Wreck a Leased Car?
The actions you should take after a car accident with a leased vehicle are no different than what you should do if you own your car or are paying off a car loan.
- Stay at the scene.
- Notify the police.
- Seek emergency care for yourself and others if need be.
- Call your insurance company.
- Get contact information from other drivers and witnesses.
- Get pictures or take a video with your cell phone.
- Call your leasing company.
Setting Insurance Limits – the Basics
For a car owner, the insurance limits you choose are usually at your discretion as long as the state’s requirement for insurance has been met. In California, the liability coverage for damage you may cause to another person’s property or injury to others is set at:
- Bodily injury: $15,000 for death or injury to each person and up to $30,000 if one or more people are killed or injured in a car accident.
- Property damage: $5,000 for property damage to the property of others.
Other Types of Coverage
Insurance companies offer other types of coverage. While it is not mandatory that you purchase them, in some instances you must sign a waiver. Here are some of them:
- Uninsured motorist: The minimum amounts are the same as the limits for liability coverage. However, while uninsured motorist coverage is a good idea in a state with so many uninsured drivers, it is not mandatory. You must sign a waiver supplied to you by your insurance company saying they did offer it to you.
- Underinsured motorist: This has the same limits as an uninsured motorist.
- Uninsured property damage: This coverage has a limit of $3,500 and is only paid out if the uninsured driver is identified.
- Coverage for physical damage:
- Collision: This covers damage to your vehicle from another vehicle or an object such as a guardrail.
- Comprehensive: This covers damage to your vehicle from something other than a collision such as vandalism, fire or theft.
How Leasing Changes Coverage
The amount of coverage you need when leasing a vehicle changes according to the demands of the leasing company. For instance, a standard leasing agreement will increase the value of liability coverage to $100,000/$300,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 for property damage. Collision deductibles are often set at $500.
Guaranteed Auto Protection or GAP protection is another type of coverage that automobile owners may or may not have. Leasing companies usually require it, although this mandatory requirement is less favored today. GAP insurance covers the difference in what the insurance company pays out if your vehicle is totaled and what you owe on a lease or in car payments if you purchase your vehicle. Some leases automatically include GAP insurance without charge while others do not. If you do not have GAP insurance, you can owe the remainder of the lease and the cost of a new car.
When a Leased Vehicle Is Repairable
If your leased vehicle can be repaired, it is important to use a mechanic/auto repair shop that is not only approved by the insurance company but that is a recognized auto repair shop for the type of vehicle you drive. Parts used in the repair should be Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts. In fact, the leasing company may mandate this. Don’t try to take a shortcut here, since the use of junkyard parts is easy to spot when your vehicle undergoes a lease end inspection. If the cheaper parts are found, you will be charged for their replacement.
What Happens When a Leased Vehicle Is Totaled?
To say that a vehicle is totaled, you are essentially saying that the cost to repair it is more than the value of the vehicle. Usually, the value is set at 70 percent. The insurer will pay for the market value of the vehicle and send that payment to the owner of the vehicle, the leasing company. If this payment is equal to the total amount of the lease, it is a wash. The leasing company is satisfied. If the payment is less than what is owed on the lease, you owe the difference.
Since most leasing companies still require GAP insurance, everything is copacetic with one caveat – you do not have a car. One last warning, if your car has been repaired and all is good with the leasing company, it is best to stay in the lease. If you end the lease ahead of time, you may be responsible for the loss of value the vehicle has due to the accident.
Leased Car Accident Law Firm of David Azizi
Turn to the law firm of David Azizi after an accident. David has a long history of helping those in Los Angeles and Southern California who have been in a vehicular accident. With his extensive knowledge of the law, coupled with his sense of justice and compassion, David is the go-to person when you need help.
He is acknowledged as one of the top personal injury attorneys in Los Angeles by Expertise.com, and he deserves that recognition. Having a 98-percent case success rate reflects David’s standing in the community. Just call 800-991-5292 anytime, and we’ll arrange for a free case review to commence. Don’t wonder if you are doing the right thing after a car accident, make sure you are by calling us.