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Car Accidents Involving Leased Vehicles

Your leased car was just involved in an accident, what now? When you are in an accident with a leased vehicle, there are a few specific extra steps to be aware of as you are not the actual owner of the vehicle.

1) Call 911

Report the accident to the police, even if it is relatively minor and even if you are at fault. A police report is very important in resolving disputes and establishing facts and faults.

2) Document the damage

When your leased vehicle is involved in an accident, the terms of the lease agreement will determine what you are required to do, and will spell out your obligations to the leasing car. The leasing company will most likely require that you document any damage to the vehicle.

3) Call your Insurance Company

Even if the accident was not your fault, your own insurance company can help make the process of filing your claim against the other driver and their insurance company much smoother. Your insurance company will set up to have an estimate of repair costs done at an approved professional body shop. Since your vehicle is a lease, repair work must be done in a way that your vehicle is restored to like-new condition meaning all parts must be OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer).

Since the damage was done to a leased vehicle, it is up to the leased vehicle company to get the car repaired.  However, if the car is totaled and you own the car, then you must:

1) Contact the lien holder

If the insurance company has deemed your vehicle a total loss, you then must contact the lien holder (the company that leased you the vehicle) and ask what the current payout is for your vehicle.  You should be able to determine this information from your leasing agreement. Then arrange for your insurance company to pay the lien holder directly.

2) Check to see if you have GAP insurance

Check your lease agreement to see if it includes GAP insurance. If it does, it will cover the difference between the insurance payout and the amount owed on your lease contract.

3) Make any additional payments if necessary

If you do not have GAP insurance and the amount of the car is worth less than the amount the lien holder requires, you are then required to pay the difference.

4) Continue to comply with the terms of the lease until the title is cleared.

You must continue to comply with your lease terms until the title is cleared. Title clearing happens after the car is totaled as the car is processed by the lien holder and the insurance companies. During that time, you must continue to make your lease payments as agreed. Your lien holder will notify you when you are released from your lease contract and are no longer required to make payments.

If you have been involved in a car accident, contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible will make the claims process much easier.  Attorney Charles V. Contrada will explain your legal options, guide you through the process.

To speak to attorney Charles V. Contrada about a car accident in Ohio or Michigan, call 419.841.4400. Charles has helped thousands of individuals with car accident claims and will explain the legal options that are available to you. Call Contrada & Associates for comprehensive legal guidance that will help you to receive the most favorable outcome.


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Attorney Charlie Contrada has been practicing law since 1979, focusing his career on personal injury, car accident, and mesothelioma cases. Over the years, Charlie has helped thousands of clients throughout Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan to receive the settlements that they deserve.