A major concern for anyone who’s been involved in a car accident caused by another driver is their damaged vehicle. In the legal world, that is referred to as property damage. The expert legal site FindLaw answers frequently asked questions about car accident property damage at the following link; injury.findlaw.com/car-accidents/car-accident-property-damage-claims-faq.html. We’ve built upon that information and expanded those questions into a step-by-step guide on what to do with a damaged vehicle after an accident.
A Via the at-fault driver’s insurance. Pros: You don’t need to pay a deductible. Cons: They may legally take up to 30-days to accept responsibility and start the claim.
B Via your own insurance. Pros: The claim is processed faster. Cons: You’ll have to pay the deductible, at least until the at-fault insurance accepts responsibility for the accident.
When talking with the insurance company about your damaged vehicle it’s important to only talk about the property damage. Don’t give a recorded statement about the accident or discuss your injuries if you suffered any. Do tell the insurance company where the damaged vehicle currently is. If it’s in a tow yard, you will need to sign a document for the insurance to get it out.
A The insurance company via their adjuster determines the vehicle is repairable.
You’ll receive an estimate on repair costs. Decide which repair shop to use and remember that you don’t have to use the one recommended by the insurance company. Once the vehicle is fixed, sign the insurance property damage release from the adjuster.
B The insurance company via their adjuster determines the vehicle is a total loss.
The insurance will make you an offer for the totaled vehicle. Make sure it’s a fair offer by comparing vehicles (same year, make, model, and accessories) on www.kbb.com, www.carfax.com, www.edmunds.com, or other sites. If the offer appears to be fair, accept it, and you’ll receive a check from the insurance.
If the offer is below comparable vehicle prices, send the insurance evidence. If they still won’t make you a fair offer, try the other insurance involved (the at-fault, or your own), and accept the better offer. If you want to keep your totaled vehicle, talk to the adjuster and pay the determined salvage value.
A Rent through the at-fault insurance.
Pros: They’ll give you a rental until your car is repaired or the offer for a total loss is made.
Cons: They won’t give you a rental until they accept responsibility for the accident, which may take up to 30 days.
B Rent through your own insurance.
Pros: It’s usually faster than waiting for the at-fault insurance.
Cons: Depending on your policy you may need to pay the deductible and then be reimbursed later on.
C Rent out of your own pocket.
Pros: This is the fastest option.
Cons: You’ll have to pay out of your own pocket and then wait to be reimbursed once the at-fault insurance accepts responsibility.
If you choose option C, rent the cheapest vehicle available and save all of your receipts. If the rental company offers you extra insurance on the rental, do not purchase it.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by someone else, get in touch with the experienced car accident attorneys of Craig Swapp & Associates. Unfortunately, there’s no easy step-by-step guide for anyone to get through a personal injury claim. Our attorneys will take care of the claim so you can focus on healing