Accident with a leased vehicle - you have to pay attention to that

Accident with a leasing car

Anyone involved in a traffic accident with their leasing car quickly gets into a tricky situation. The problem is that the accident is a conflict in which three parties are involved: the leasing company, the lessee and the opponent of the accident.

The following sections explain how you should best behave in the event of an accident with the leased vehicle and who is your right contact when.

Accident with a leased vehicle - What to look out for - What about the guilt for the accident?

A traffic accident can quickly occur. A little carelessness in traffic and it's done. Fortunately, most traffic accidents in Germany go off lightly and the vast majority of people involved in the accident are not seriously injured. However, property damage almost always arises.
Unlike an accident with your own car, in an accident with a leased vehicle there is still the leasing company from which the leased vehicle was purchased. The lessor is the owner of the vehicle, the lessee is the owner of the vehicle. In the event of an accident, the lessor is liable to pay compensation to the lessee.

Who is to blame?

In many traffic accidents, the question of guilt is quickly resolved. If, for example, there is a crash after a car has passed the traffic light at red or if a parked car is touched by a moving car, the situation is clear. It can get complicated when the course of the accident can no longer be exactly reconstructed and all the drivers involved have blamed themselves. In such a case, the police should be consulted. The officers can determine who actually caused the damage and take further legal action if necessary.

The police should of course also be informed if a parked car has been damaged in the absence of the vehicle owner, if a driver is apparently under the influence of drugs or alcohol and if serious damage to property or personal injury has occurred.
The officers always prepare an accident report. The report must be submitted to the motor insurance companies involved. Only then can it be decided whether the insurance will regulate the financial damage.

The notification to the insurer

After an accident, the lessor should be informed by the lessee as soon as possible. Depending on who is to blame for the accident and which contract has been concluded, the lessor decides how to proceed.

If the damage was caused by third parties, the motor vehicle insurance of the person who caused the accident is liable for the damage. As the owner of the leasing vehicle, the lessor makes the corresponding claim for damages.
There is also the option of stipulating in the leasing contract that the lessee is responsible for repairing the vehicle. This means that it is not the lessor who makes the claim for damage, but rather the lessee has to claim the costs of the repair in a vehicle workshop from the insurance company of the person who caused the accident. However, such a regulation is rather the exception.

Financial compensation for the depreciation of the vehicle due to the accident can also be requested from the opposing insurance company. After the insurance company has paid this financial compensation, the amount must be paid to the lessor. From now on, the car is an accident vehicle and when it is returned, it no longer has the same residual value as an accident-free car. An expert determines whether an impairment has actually occurred and how high it is.

If the repair of the leasing vehicle in the workshop takes a long time, the opposing insurance also pays for a rental car during this time. The rental car must be a comparable vehicle class.
The lessee is not permitted to suspend payment of the lease payment for the duration of the repair.

If the lessee has caused the damage to the car himself, he will have to take out comprehensive insurance. Most leasing contracts require that comprehensive insurance be taken out. This usually covers the cost of repairing damage to vehicles that were caused by the customer.
Whether there is a deductible and how high it is depends on the type of tariff for comprehensive insurance. Precise information on the deductible can always be found in the contract documents.

If the accident damage was caused by both drivers, they must also be liable for the damage financially. Both the lessee's comprehensive insurance and the opponent's motor vehicle liability then pay for the damage proportionately. In order for the costs to be covered quickly, the damage should be reported to the insurance company as soon as possible.

The total loss

After an accident, an appraiser can clarify whether there is total damage to the vehicle. The appraiser also determines how high the replacement and residual value of the car are.

In the event of a total loss, the lessee's fully comprehensive insurance or the opponent's motor vehicle liability insurance covers the replacement value of the leased vehicle. This may be less the residual value. A residual value is to be understood as the current value of an equivalent car with the same mileage and comparable equipment. The replacement value does not automatically have to be the installment that is still to be paid. The lessee still has to pay the installments. An exception would be if the lessee has completed GAP protection. GAP protection is a supplementary insurance for comprehensive insurance that closes the gap between the replacement value and the monthly leasing installments still outstanding.

Accident with a leased vehicle - what to look out for when you are abroad

Unless lessees plan to stay there permanently, journeys with the leased vehicle to other EU countries and Switzerland are not a problem. This applies to both business trips and private trips. If an accident occurs, the validity of the insurance coverage is very important. Lessees should ensure that they always have an international insurance certificate and important information about the process of claim settlement with them when traveling abroad. Just like in Germany, the police should also be called in after an accident abroad. This is particularly due to possible language barriers. With the presence of the police, everything can be clarified in English if in doubt.
The insurance company and the lessor should then be informed immediately of the accident.
It is very important that you only sign documents on site that you also understand. Never be forced to sign a document in a foreign language!

Think about the possible consequences before the accident

Regardless of whether you are the owner of a vehicle or have leased the vehicle: after an accident has occurred, the next steps are identical and clearly regulated for everyone involved. The motor insurance of the person who caused the accident must pay for the repair costs and any other claims for damages. If possible, lessees should also take out financial protection as well as possible and take out liability insurance, comprehensive insurance and GAP protection. With these three types of insurance, you are definitely on the safe side and do not have to worry about financial problems after an accident.

Unlike a vehicle owner, the lessee also has to adhere to the requirements of his leasing contract. This usually says what to do after an accident. It is always important that the leasing company is informed about the accident as soon as possible. All further steps (for example, the award of a repair order or the vehicle recovery after a total loss) may only be initiated after consultation with the leasing company. This is the economic owner of the leasing vehicle and remains so even after an accident.