In general, someone leasing an automobile is expected to take care of it as if it were their very own. While on the road though, it is impossible to eliminate the danger of an accident completely. If you do damage the vehicle, what should you do? This depends on what exactly has happened to the car and the seriousness of your vehicle’s condition. Below, we’ll list some of the most common steps to take in these circumstances.
1. Read the Contract Carefully
First, you’ll need to figure out whether the lender will actually care about the damage caused. Most leasing agencies will allow a certain amount of wear and tear during the length of the contract, meaning that minor dings and scratches may actually be overlooked when you return the car.
To be absolutely sure of this though, you’ll have to read over the contract and see exactly what the terms and conditions say. Some examples of excessive damage include:
- Paint chips
- Cracked glass
- Water damage
- Multiple dings
- Worn tyres
The specifics of what constitutes minor wear and tear will be found in the contract. Sometimes, measurements may be given to classify excessive wear and tear. This will give you an accurate way of determining whether you have to actually deal with the issue or whether the leasing company will be prepared to look the other way.
2. Contact Your Insurance Provider
If the damage is significant, it’s an excellent idea to have it repaired before the contract expires. Here, you should talk to your insurance agent to determine how much you’re actually covered for in this particular situation. If the accident was someone else’s fault, you may even be covered by that individual’s insurance policy as well.
The specifics of the payout will depend on a number of factors, such as what types of accidents you’re covered for, the size of the deductible, and how much your policy is worth. You may also receive more money to cover the repairs if you’ve chosen wisely by picking a personal car lease for a model that insurance firms like. If you accidentally damage the right type of car, you might be eligible to receive a payout that completely covers the repair costs required.
3. Conduct the Necessary Repairs
Now, it’ll be time to take your vehicle to get fixed. Since you know how much your insurance company will cover, it’s important to compare auto mechanics and find out which ones will repair your car without going over budget. Your lender usually won’t mind which specialists you take your automobile to as long as the damage gets fixed in the end. Of course, you’ll need to choose wisely to be sure that they do a good job and fix your vehicle in a long-term manner. You may also have to ask your insurer about which mechanics are included in their coverage so you’re absolutely sure you’ll be compensated for the repair fees.
4. Let the Leasing Firm Assess the Car
This last step won’t be necessary if you’ve followed all of the above. However, if you opt to let the leasing firm repair your vehicle instead of doing it yourself, you may have to let them asses the vehicle’s condition. Whereas before lenders generally evaluated the damage themselves, now a third party appraisal firm may assess the damage for the carmaker. This means that there might be some surprise costs in the final report that you, as the client, are forced to cover. This includes the following:
- Replacing the bumpers
- Fixing windscreen damage
- Repairing dents and scratches
- Resolving mechanical faults
In some cases, you might be charged an additional service fee as well, another aspect which drives up your final costs. Thus, if you have damaged your leased vehicle, it’s a better idea to compare mechanics on your own and conduct the necessary repairs before you hand the vehicle back to the lender.
This should give you some general advice about how to handle a leased automobile which has been damaged accidentally. For more details though, we recommend you speak with your leasing company and/or your insurance agency. They will be able to advise you further and suggest the best course of action on this matter.
Author: Kelli Aguilar is a freelance writer for Leasing Options, a company that has been delivering value and service for more than 23 years. They aim to provide clients with the best possible car rental deal.