What Happens If You Are in An Accident in a Leased Car

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Car Accidents Published on January 16, 2020 and updated on March 6, 2022.

leased vehicle car crashLeasing a vehicle has several advantages, including being able to drive a newer model car without the financial responsibility of owning one outright. More people in the U.S. are using leased vehicles than ever before. However, there are certain considerations that need to be taken into account while driving a leased vehicle. Understanding how a lease affects an insurance claim after an accident is important.

The experienced Maryland car accident lawyers from our firm further explain the necessary steps to take after an accident in a leased vehicle. We are prepared to explain your rights and discuss your possible legal options in a free consultation.

What is a Leased Car?

A leased car is a long-term car rental. You make a payment every month for a certain duration in exchange for the ability to use the vehicle during that period of time. When the lease is up, you return the vehicle to the leasing company or you may have the right to buy out the vehicle.

A lease is an alternative to buying a car with a loan. That option results in you buying the vehicle through making a series of monthly payments until the end of the loan term. For many leases, you never officially own the vehicle.

Insurance Requirements for Leased Cars

Like with all vehicles owned in Maryland, minimum liability coverage must be maintained on leased vehicles, which includes:

  • $30,000 for bodily injury or death of one person
  • $60,000 for bodily injury or death in an accident
  • $15,000 for property damage per accident

This coverage helps pay for medical bills, property repair or replacement, lost wages and other damages that the other driver or passengers sustain because of the insured’s negligent actions, up to policy limits. Once the policy limits are exhausted, the at-fault driver could be financially liable for the remaining damages caused.

Because liability coverage only provides protection to the other vehicle, most leases will require the driver to take out additional insurance to protect the leased vehicle, such as collision and comprehensive coverage. This insurance helps pay for the costs to repair or replace your vehicle.

Additionally, the lease may require the driver to take out gap coverage, which is used in case the damage to the vehicle exceeds the amount still owed on the vehicle and protects the owner of the vehicle. Drivers who enter into leases must procure and maintain insurance coverage that complies with the provisions in their lease agreement.

What To Do After an Accident in a Leased Car

The first thing to do is to seek medical attention if you were injured in the accident. Also, check on the condition of the other driver and any passengers. Then, contact the police or other appropriate law enforcement office to report the accident and have an investigation of the accident completed.

Exchange information with the other driver, including your name, phone number and insurance information. If you can, try to take pictures of the accident scene, including pictures of the positions of the vehicles, property damage, your injuries, cross streets and any traffic signs that may have been relevant to the accident.

It is important that you notify the dealership when involved in an accident to avoid financial penalties at the end of your lease. The leasing agreement may have very specific provisions regarding the type of repair work that must be completed on the leased vehicle, such as only permitting you to have original repair parts installed in the vehicle. You should also contact your insurance company and notify it of the accident.

Filing a Claim Against the Other Driver

If the accident was caused by the other driver’s negligence, you will need to make a claim with the insurance company that insures the at-fault driver. You will need to provide basic information about the accident, such as the:

  • Date of the accident
  • Time of the accident
  • Location where the accident occurred
  • Information about the insured
  • How the accident occurred

However, if the insurance company asks for a recorded statement, do not agree to this. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who can handle communication with the insurance company.

Call a Licensed Lawyer for Help

Although much of the process for making a claim involving a leased vehicle is the same as for one that is owned, there are some unique nuances that make having a licensed car accident lawyer on your side beneficial. At Peter T. Nicholl Law Offices, we have been representing accident victims and their families for over three decades and have recovered millions in compensation for our clients.

Reach out to our firm to schedule a free legal consultation. There is no risk in calling us and no obligation in hiring us. Our lawyers only receive payment if we successfully help you obtain a recovery.

Call 410-244-7005 or fill our free online form to get started.