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What Is Loss Of Use Compensation, And When Can It Net You Hundreds More After A Car Accident?

Just a few months in the past, I used to be (mockingly) on my option to an auto components retailer once I was minimize off by a limousine, of all issues. Sadly, my tiny little Miata couldn’t cease in time:

What Is Loss Of Use Compensation, And When Can It Net You Hundreds More After A Car Accident? - Accident

Fortunately, everybody was OK and the limo wasn’t stuffed with teenagers who wouldn’t make it to promenade. Atlanta PD formally cited the opposite driver and located him at fault, so after all of us parted methods, I mentally equipped for some verbal jousting with their insurance coverage firm.

Fortunately, the opposite driver had State Farm, who’re fairly courteous and simple to take care of. After a pleasant younger rep walked me by way of every thing I used to be entitled to, I had a query:

“What about lack of use compensation?”

There was a pause, as if I had simply requested for a uncommon, classic wine at a flowery restaurant they usually needed to bear in mind if there was a bottle hiding within the cellar.

The factor is, I don’t blame the rep for being caught a little bit off guard by the query. Largely solely attorneys and insurance coverage nerds like me are likely to know what LOU comp even is.

However it’s undoubtedly value figuring out about since it will possibly simply web you an additional few hundred bucks after your subsequent fender bender. Working example, the State Farm rep pecked away at his keyboard for a minute and bought again to me with some excellent news:

“Alrighty, sir – with lack of use comp you’re entitled to an additional $475.”

Should you’re the sufferer of an auto accident and lose using your automotive for some time, you’re nearly definitely entitled to a further payout within the type of lack of use compensation.

Learn extra: Fender Bender? How To Deal with A Minor Automotive Accident

What’s auto-related lack of use compensation?

What Is Loss Of Use Compensation, And When Can It Net You Hundreds More After A Car Accident? - What is auto-related loss of use insurance?

In terms of vehicles, auto-associated lack of use compensation is designed to cowl the inconvenience/expense of shedding entry to your automotive whereas it’s within the store for repairs.

In idea, lack of use comp ought to cowl the price of a rental or public transit in addition to lack of revenue for those who want your automotive to generate income (like driving for rideshare firms).

In actuality, nevertheless, most insurance coverage firms will solely pay out lack of use comp at a strict per diem fee. Instances will be made for strictly business automobiles like taxis or vans, however the guidelines surrounding private automobiles generally used for business functions are murky.

Doesn’t harm to ask, although!

Learn extra: Can You Lease A Automotive With A Debit Card? It Relies upon

When does auto-related lack of use compensation apply?

In easiest phrases, you usually qualify for auto-related lack of use compensation when:

  1. You’re entitled to a rental automotive.
  2. You decline it, or a rental is unavailable.

The magic phrases, both coming from your insurance coverage supplier or the different driver’s, are “rental automotive.”

Right here’s what quite a lot of people don’t know

Should you’re supplied a rental automotive by an insurance coverage firm, you possibly can really decline it and settle for money as an alternative. That money received’t be as a lot because the rental prices, however it’s nonetheless one thing – and it’s referred to as lack of use compensation.

Should you’re unsure for those who want a rental automotive, you possibly can take a rental automotive some days and a lack of use per diem different days. Your assigned insurance coverage rep will tally all of it up later after you get your personal automotive again and also you’ll get a lack of use compensation test.

Right here’s once you’re entitled to a rental automotive after an insurance coverage declare

Your entitlement to a rental automotive will rely on who’s at fault for the accident:

  • If the accident was the opposite driver’s fault. You’ll be entitled to a rental automotive paid by the opposite driver’s insurance coverage for so long as your automotive stays “undrivable” (extra on that beneath).
  • If the accident was your fault/no fault. You’ll solely be entitled to a rental automotive when you have rental automotive reimbursement protection as a part of your coverage together with your personal insurance coverage supplier.

The latter case highlights why paying for rental reimbursement protection may be a good suggestion even for those who don’t intend to make use of a rental. I used to skip rental reimbursement protection as a result of I figured I’d be OK with out my automotive for some time. In spite of everything, I earn a living from home, and I’ve a motorcycle I can use to get groceries.

However rental reimbursement protection can nonetheless be useful since you possibly can typically use it for a rental or for a lack of use per diem as an alternative. Verify the phrases of your personal supplier’s rental automotive protection to make sure.

How lengthy is your automotive thought-about “undrivable”?

I discussed earlier that the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage pays to your rental so long as your automotive stays “undrivable.”

Based on, in case your automotive has any of the next:

  • Broken, cracked, or lacking mirrors.
  • Broken, lacking, or misaligned exterior lights.
  • Broken or lacking reflectors.
  • Broken or quiet horn.
  • Bent hood.
  • Lacking bumpers.
  • Bodywork with jagged edges.
  • Cracked windshield.
  • Tires/wheels out of alignment.
  • Underperforming brakes.

Your automotive is legally undrivable, and also you’re entitled to a rental automotive till it’s fastened.

When you qualify for a rental, how do you get lack of use comp as an alternative?

What Is Loss Of Use Compensation, And When Can It Net You Hundreds More After A Car Accident? - Once you qualify for a rental, how do you get loss of use compensation instead?

When you or the opposite celebration’s insurance coverage tells you you’re certified for a rental, you possibly can merely inform them that you simply’d relatively have lack of use compensation as an alternative. It helps to know their lack of use compensation fee, which is often a flat per diem.

Then, you possibly can determine on which days you need the rental, and which days you need the money.

Do you need to know precisely once you want the rental vs. the money?

Most often, you received’t really need to determine proper there on the spot. With State Farm, they gave me a particular quantity to name Enterprise and advised me to rearrange a rental on any days I would want it, no rush. Then, on any days I didn’t have a rental, they’d give me the per diem fee. We’d tabulate all of it as soon as I bought my automotive again.

The underside line is that this: as soon as the supplier presents you a rental, make abundantly clear that you simply’d like lack of use compensation for on daily basis that you simply have been entitled to a rental however didn’t get one. Insurance coverage firms received’t battle you on this as a result of their lack of use per diem fee is usually a lot lower than they’d pay for a one-day rental.

How a lot is lack of use compensation usually value?

State Farm paid me $25 per day for lack of use compensation.

That won’t sound like a lot, however it provides up shortly – particularly in case your automotive was legally undrivable for days, weeks, or months.

Should you’re getting lack of use compensation, insurance coverage firms will usually need you to maneuver considerably shortly – you possibly can’t simply let your automotive sit for a 12 months and gather $9,000 in LOU comp. Suppliers usually say you’ll qualify for LOU so long as you get your automotive in a store inside a “cheap” period of time, possibly one to 2 weeks.

Personally, I used to be so desirous to get my tiny little Miata repaired that I bought it to the store inside an hour of State Farm formally accepting their driver’s fault for the accident. My store moved shortly, additionally – components arrived the following day, and I used to be again on the highway inside three days (thanks, Adnan!).

However although every thing on my finish moved at lightning velocity, the entire course of nonetheless took 19 days:

  • 10 days for the police report back to be launched.
  • 6 extra days for State Farm to gather an announcement from the opposite driver and settle for duty.
  • 3 days for the repairs.

So for a fender bender, 19 days and $475 in lack of use compensation might be thought-about on the low finish. In case your subsequent accident makes your automotive undrivable for a month or longer, you can be entitled to far more. 


Right here’s a recap of auto-related lack of use compensation and when it applies:

  • Lack of use compensation covers the expense/inconvenience of shedding using your automotive till it’s repaired.
  • Usually talking, if an insurance coverage firm presents you a rental automotive, you possibly can decline it and take lack of use compensation as an alternative – often paid at a per diem fee for on daily basis you don’t hire a automotive.
  • You’ll qualify for lack of use comp for on daily basis your automotive is “undrivable,” which might take as little as a busted taillight or a protruding fender.
  • The per diem fee for lack of use compensation might be as little as $25, however given how insurance coverage conditions can typically take weeks to resolve, these per diems add up shortly.

Subsequent time you, or somebody you care about is in an accident, you’ll want to ask about lack of use compensation as soon as the mud settles. Don’t go away $500+ on the desk!

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