There it is, your new leased car: polished to a high shine, with a full tank of gas and ready for a trip to the countryside. In a good mood, you and your car are driving towards the sun when suddenly there is a crash. Fortunately, all passengers are well, but the car has been damaged. What to do now? After all, the leased car is not your property.
If a leased vehicle is involved in an accident, uncertainty quickly arises: who is responsible?? What rights and obligations do you have as a lessee?? What costs are incurred and how is the claim settled??
In principle, the procedures are no different from those for settling claims after accidents with a car you have bought yourself. In the case of accidents involving leased vehicles, however, it is important to understand that you are dealing with a "triangular relationship": there is an injured party, an injuring party and the owner of the vehicle, the lessor.
After the crash: keep calm and report the accident
The top priority after the collision is to secure the scene of the accident and provide first aid in case there are any injuries. After the initial shock has subsided, you must report the accident.
Whether you call the police depends on the circumstances in each case. In the case of minor damage, this is not mandatory. In this case, it is usually sufficient to note down the license plate numbers and exchange personal and insurance data with the other party involved in the accident. In many other cases, however, it is obligatory to report the accident to the police, for example:
- If the accident involves serious damage to property or personal injury
- In the event of a dispute over who is to blame for the accident
- In case of suspicion of alcohol or drug consumption of a driver
- In case of collision with a parked car during the absence of the injured party
The officers who are called in will not make a decision regarding the guilt of the accident. Rather, they record evidence and prepare accident reports, which motor vehicle insurance companies request for the calculation of compensation for damages.
Our tip: The better the documentation of the accident and the damage, the more clearly the question of fault can be answered and the more smoothly the claim can be settled. In case of doubt and in order to avoid a conflict with the insurance company, it is therefore advisable in most cases to call the police.
In the event of road traffic accidents involving a leased vehicle, you must – regardless of the severity of the damage or the question of who was at fault – immediately notify the lessor or. Dealer contact. He is the owner of the car and specifies the further course of action.
In addition, the incident is basically the car insurance report – in written form within one week at the latest, in case of serious injuries or death within 48 hours. Also inform the opposing insurance company about the damage and your own version of how the accident happened!
Accident with the leased vehicle abroad
If no permanent stay is planned, business trips and vacation trips with the leased car to other EU countries and Switzerland are unproblematic. If an accident occurs there, the validity of the insurance coverage is decisive. Always carry the green card (international insurance card for motor vehicles) with you. It is considered as an international insurance certificate and contains important information for claims settlement. As in Germany, accidents should also be recorded by the police abroad. Report the damage to the insurance company and the lessor and sign only documents whose language you understand. If you have your own claims for damages, the central call of the car insurers will help you to find the insurer or the person responsible for the accident. Regulatory representative of the foreign accident opponent: +49 (40) 300 330 300.
Who was at fault for the accident?
If you have reported the accident to all the relevant authorities in due form and time, the next thing to do is to clarify the question of fault. From their point of view as lessee, one of the three constellations comes into question:
- The accident was not the fault of the driver.
- You are partly to blame for the collision.
- you have caused the accident yourself and are mainly to blame.
Third party or. Unintentional accident: If another road user has caused damage to your leased vehicle, the lessor has priority as the vehicle owner to claim damages. If the leasing contract obliges you as the lessee and vehicle owner to repair the vehicle, you can claim the costs incurred from the party responsible for the accident or the lessor. Claim its insurance.
Accident caused by both sides: if you can be proven to be partly responsible for the accident, you as well as the other party to the accident are liable for all damages to the vehicle on a pro rata basis.
Self-inflicted accident: If you are the person who caused the accident, you are liable for damages for the property damage in accordance with § 823 BGB. This means that you are liable for any repair costs incurred and for compensation for any reduction in the value of the vehicle.
For fair, smooth claims settlement, it is essential to take a close look at the question of fault. In any case – even if you are the damaged party – as the lessee you must return the car to the lessor in repaired condition. However, who bears the costs depends on who is responsible for the collision.
By the way: the lessee is usually the one who drives the leased car. If another member of the family also uses the car on a regular basis? To ensure that it is also covered in the event of damage, co-use should be agreed in the leasing and insurance contract.
Repair or total loss: what is the difference??
How the vehicle is treated after the accident and the question of fault has been clarified depends on the severity of its damage. Regardless of the law on damages, the leasing contract defines whether there is a repair or a total loss. Often, the corresponding clauses assume a total loss if the repair costs are more than, for example, the amount of the damage. amount to 60% of the replacement value. A repair would therefore be economically unreasonable.
In the case of a repair damage, If the cost is below this limit, the lessee is usually responsible for the repair of the vehicle, depending on the contractual agreement. The settlement of a total loss on the other hand, is usually a matter for the lessor. It is not uncommon for the leasing contract to be terminated – with the agreement of the leasing bank.
Notice: in any case the lessor has to be contacted. The lessee may not repair or dispose of the leased car without consulting you.
What to consider when repairing leased cars?
Garage bond: one of the most important tasks after an accident is to repair the car as quickly as possible – completely and professionally. You should definitely refrain from having your car repaired by an independent repair shop or by car mechanics from your circle of friends. The lessor gives you the names of selected contract and partner workshops. If he is assigned to a manufacturer’s organization, he will write in the contract in most cases a for the vehicle brand authorized repair shop before. In view of your contractual obligations, you should comply with this requirement even if the insurance company suggests a different, less expensive repair shop.
costs: you will be the first to receive the invoice for the repair. The vehicle insurance of the party responsible for the accident will pay for the repair. If you yourself are the party at fault for the accident, it is a matter of your lessor comprehensive damage, for which your fully comprehensive insurance will cover. The amount of the deductible depends on your individual agreements. Up to a certain amount, it may even be worthwhile to replace the entire damage yourself, if this does not increase your insurance premium. If there is a liability claim is due to someone else’s fault, you pass the bill on to the motor vehicle liability insurance of the other party to the accident.
Our tip: During the repair work on the leased vehicle, you will incur a loss of use. However, it is not possible – even after an accident for which you are not responsible – to suspend payment of the monthly leasing installments for this reason. However, in the case of justified claims for damages, you can recover the costs of a replacement car, an expert’s report or towing costs from the party at fault in the accident or from the lessor. recover from your insurer. The same applies to the financial compensation for the reduction in value of the vehicle, which you then pay to the owner.
If the vehicle loses value in the event of an accident?
A car repaired after the accident is also an accident car and its value is diminished. If the car is sold on, the dealer must expect losses. This economic or. appreciable reduction in value this is particularly important for top-of-the-range and new cars, as they lose value as soon as the ignition key is turned. If only a few leasing installments were paid up to the time of the accident, it can also not be assumed that the devaluation could be compensated approximately. So the lessor is entitled to charge a compensation when returning your leased vehicle at the end of the leasing period.
However, this does not result in any leasing-specific disadvantage for you. The situation is comparable to the resale of a car that belongs to you. even then, you must truthfully state that the car has been in an accident – with the consequence that it will probably fetch a lower price on the used market than a car that has not been in an accident.
Notice: compensation for depreciation is usually only payable in the event of collision damage caused by your own fault. In the event of liability damage, the other party’s vehicle insurance must usually compensate for the damage.
Third party liability, hull& GAP: your options for coverage
German law requires motor vehicle liability insurance to be taken out from the start of the contract for the entire duration of the lease. It compensates the injured party for traffic accident damage caused by the lessee. In addition, fully comprehensive insurance is usually compulsory for vehicle leasing.
Our tip: all-inclusive offers at leasingmarkt.De often already include both insurances.
The fully comprehensive insurance covers the lessee’s own fault vis-à-vis the lessor and settles comprehensive damage claims. But their designation is confusing. Contrary to initial assumptions, the comprehensive insurance does not usually pay for the full damage. It only replaces the replacement value of the leased car involved in the accident. Based on the agreed residual or. Book value, however, the lessor’s claims can be significantly higher. This results in a difference and the insurance payment does not cover all that is owed by the lessee to the lessor, thus the redemption value. In the case of leased vehicles, you should therefore also cover this risk of damage. In some contracts, however, such an additional insurance is part of the contract anyway.
The literal gap between the replacement value reimbursed by the fully comprehensive insurance and the residual lease value is compensated for by the so-called GAP coverage from.
|Leasing contract||example calculation|
|36 leasing installments (300 € each)||+ 10.800 €|
|calculated residual value at the end of the contract||+ 22.000 €|
|total lease value||= 32.800 €|
|outstanding payment in case of total loss / theft
after 24 months
|12 leasing installments||+ 3.600 €|
|Calculated residual value||+ 22.000 €|
|redemption value||= 25.600 €|
|financial gap / GAP||example calculation|
|redemption value||+ 25.600 €|
|Reimbursed replacement value||– 18.000 €|
If your comprehensive insurance includes GAP protection, the entire replacement value of the vehicle is reimbursed after a self-inflicted total loss, and you are not left with the considerable costs. In addition, GAP coverage also applies in the event of theft.
Tip: you can find more information about GAP protection in our magazine article on GAP insurance.
Think about the consequences of the accident before it happens
Whether you own or lease a vehicle, the risk of an accident is with you every day on the road. If the dreaded crash actually occurs, the procedure is the same for everyone at first. The vehicle insurance of the party responsible for the accident is asked to pay for repair costs and other claims for damages. It’s better to take precautions and cover yourself comprehensively with liability, comprehensive and GAP insurance!
the lessee must also observe a number of special conditions, which are essentially stipulated in the leasing agreement: by signing the agreement, the lessee undertakes to report the accident to the lessor as soon as possible and also to inform the opposing insurance company of the involvement of a leased car. The further procedure – for example the repair order or the vehicle utilization after total loss – is carried out exclusively with the consent of the lessor. because he is the beneficial owner of the leased car.
By the way: our step-by-step instructions from the infographic can also be found here as a PDF download – suitable for the glove compartment. So you are always well informed even when you are on the road!
In the event of an accident with your leased car, you will also find a lot of information in our guide section on the repair and on the evaluation of the vehicle at the end of the contract at the lease return. You can read everything worth knowing in the following articles:
Repairs, inspections& TuV: the correct maintenance of your leased vehicle
Before signing: check the leasing contract properly
The advantages and disadvantages of leasing under the magnifying glass
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