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My 2014 Ford Taurus was backed into in a parking lot while it was parked and nobody was inside— the person who caused the accident wasn't injured either. They came into the building we were in, found us, and we exchanged insurance and contact information.

I called my insurance, which ultimately had me call their insurance to file this claim. Apparently, when I called their insurance, they were already notified and had a claim started. As we walked through the steps to get the damage taken care of, we got onto the subject of rental vehicles since they were going to provide one as I was entirely not at fault.

They stated that they'd only cover a mid-size four-door sedan unless there were accommodations that needed to be met. My immediate confusion/concern was that they damaged my full-size sedan, which is expected to be out for 3-4 days, but that they were essentially downgrading my daily transportation to save on costs.

Question:

  • Would I have any ground to push back and request a full-size sedan since that's the type of car they damaged?

The only major thing that comes to my mind is an accommodation for my height. I'm 6'5" (198cm~), so I'd expect that the vehicle should have a comfortable amount of room for me to sit up; and, even more important, not be so compact that my legs cannot drive comfortably. Even my car is already on the edge of my legs being comfortable on driving, so a smaller vehicle seems like a potential risk/downside.

Edit (Outcome):
I did end up getting the rental upgraded to a full-size sedan. The adjuster mentioned it was "approved to accommodate physical needs". He did also mention that if I hauled/towed things for work, or had a large family, that they would have approved it for those reasons too.

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As a former rental car employee I can explain why this is. Cars that are rented to customers for insurance reasons (accidents, etc) are supposed to match the size of the car that was damaged as close as possible. I'm speaking for one rental car company in particular here but I'm assuming others have a similar policy but every 2 years old the car is it goes down a size in rental. So your 2014 would and could be considered a "standard" size or even "compact depending" on what is available on that rental lot or how that agent is feeling.

With that being said, I've seen customers complain to insurance companies to get bigger cars sizes or even pay out of pocket for larger vehicles. In most insurance rental situations, the company provides "X" amount of dollars per day, generally between $20-25. These insurance companies have deals with rental agencies to secure rates that align with these low daily costs - the same car they get for $20 a day would cost a walk in customer double or triple that. You could use that $20-25 a day towards the cost of your rental and then just pay the difference on the larger car if you'd like.

So to answer your question, yes you can push back all you want. Direct your concerns to their insurance company. In my experience, I've seen more often than not they agree to the larger vehicle. You can also petition the rental agent to let you get the larger car for the cheaper rate - however bear in mind these rental agents hear this 100 times a day and this can be your quick ride into that dusty PT Cruiser that nobody wants in the corner of the lot.

  • Although I did get approved for the full-size sedan for "physical needs", I find it interesting that the car essentially shrinks in sizing. I understand the value of full-size newer cars are higher than mine, but that's wild that if I had a 2006 or something that it could be reasonable to rent something drastically smaller. All this over what sounds like a $20 request to cover those 3-4 days with a larger vehicle... – Xrylite Jul 18 at 16:45
  • One of the cheapest and biggest differences you can make with your insurance policy is to upgrade your rental package. I've seen people crash their 20 year old Dodge Neon and come in with a $50 a day rental allowance and leave in an Escalade. – MikeWRX Jul 18 at 17:08

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