In the wake of a car accident, you may find yourself facing an unexpected and unfortunate reality: your leased vehicle is totaled. In this situation, it’s important to understand what steps you should take in order to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. Here’s what you need to know if your leased car is totaled in a Houston car accident.
Insurance Coverage Requirements
No matter whether or not you lease or own a vehicle, if it’s damaged in an accident, insurance will be needed in order to cover the damages. In most cases, the vehicle owner—whether that’s the leasing company or an individual—will need to purchase collision and comprehensive coverage for the vehicle. This will typically cover any damage caused by another driver, as well as any damage caused by theft, vandalism, hail storms and falling trees. However, even though these policies are necessary for leased vehicles, they won’t apply when a car is totaled—in other words, when the cost of repairs exceeds the value of the car itself.
Understanding Your Contract
If your leased vehicle is totaled in a Houston car accident and your insurance does not cover it, then you will be responsible for any remaining payments due on that lease agreement. It’s important to have a full understanding of your contract prior to signing because certain provisions can be quite costly; some leases stipulate that if a vehicle is totaled before all payments are made on its term length, then all remaining payments become immediately due. As such, it’s wise to read over your contract carefully before signing it so that you know exactly what costs could arise if something were to happen to your vehicle during its lease period.
Working with Your Insurance Company
If your leased car is totaled in an accident and insurance does not cover it (or only covers part of it), then contact your leasing company right away and provide them with information about how much money was paid out from the insurance claim. From there, they can work out how much money still needs to be paid (if any) before releasing you from the terms of the agreement. Oftentimes this means that you would only need to pay off any remaining balance on top of what was paid out from insurance; however again this depends upon how exactly your specific lease agreement is written up.
Having one’s leased car totaled can be both financially and emotionally difficult; however knowing exactly how such a situation should be handled can help reduce some of that stress. Before signing a lease agreement make sure that you fully understand all potential liabilities associated with such an arrangement; additionally always keep current on one’s auto insurance coverage so that any damage sustained following an accident can be covered accordingly should their policy allow for it. Finally remember that working with both one’s insurer and leasing company can help alleviate some of these burdens in addition to providing clarity regarding steps going forward after experiencing such an unfortunate event.