A car accident under any circumstances can leave you with serious injuries, expensive bills and questions about your future. If the car involved in the accident was leased, it can be even more difficult to know what to do and how to pay for the crash. These accidents have unique elements that you will need to navigate as the crash victim. It can help to hire a car accident lawyer in Albuquerque to represent you during this complicated type of case.
What Actions Do You Need to Take?
Initially, the steps that you should take after a car accident in a leased vehicle are the same as any collision: call 911 to report the crash, render aid to anyone who is injured, exchange relevant information with the other driver and go to a hospital immediately for medical care. Then, take these steps if you are leasing the car involved:
- Report the accident to the car dealership or leasing agency where you leased the vehicle. Most lease agreements list this as a requirement after any type of collision.
- Immediately notify your car insurance company. Call your insurance provider to report the accident, but don’t admit fault or accept a fast settlement.
- Bring the damaged vehicle to the appropriate mechanic or auto shop. The leasing agency will let you know where to have your damaged vehicle towed for an estimate on repairs.
- Cooperate with the insurance investigation as much as possible. The insurer will send a claims adjuster to inspect the damage to the leased vehicle in person.
- Follow the rules. Your leasing company will most likely have specific requirements for vehicle repairs, such as not allowing after-market parts. Follow these rules to avoid paying penalties at the end of your lease.
At this point, you are ready to pursue a claim for the accident. In New Mexico, if you believe the other driver is at fault, you will start by filing a claim with that driver’s insurance company. If your claim succeeds, the other insurer will pay for the full value of your property repairs and medical bills. If you caused the accident or the other driver does not have enough insurance, however, you will need to rely on coverage from your own insurance policy.
What Is GAP Insurance?
If you decide to lease a car, it is important to spend time ensuring that you have the right types of insurance to fully cover the damage should you get into a car accident. As with any vehicle, you must purchase enough car insurance coverage to meet New Mexico’s legal requirements. You may also need additional insurance to fully cover a leased vehicle. One type is GAP insurance, which stands for Guaranteed Asset Protection. It covers the difference if what you owe on the leased car is more than the vehicle’s depreciated value.
GAP insurance is important when you lease a vehicle, since lower monthly payments often lead to a gap between the actual cash value of the leased car and how much you still owe on the lease. If you are involved in an accident where the leased car gets totaled, your collision automobile insurance will pay for the actual cash value of your vehicle. This is often less than what is left on your lease agreement. GAP insurance will cover this difference. For example, if the actual cash value of the car is $15,000 but you still owe $18,000 on your lease, GAP insurance covers the $3,000 difference.
If you get into an accident in a leased vehicle, working with a personal injury attorney in Albuquerque can make it easier to obtain the financial compensation that you deserve. Request a free consultation about your car accident today at (505) 889-3463 to learn more.