Property Damage Claims - Car Accidents
Many people have been in some sort of car accident. These accidents can range from single to multi-car collisions and the damage can be minor or very severe. Most people, being unfamiliar with such a situation, are left clueless as to what should be done, their rights, and their responsibilities.
When involved in a collision with another car, you have a right to have your car repaired or if totaled, a right to compensation of the fair market value of the vehicle at the time of the collision. However, there are many questions that arise when getting your car repaired. For instance: who pays for the car? Where do you get it fixed? How do you get around while your car is in the shop? What other issues will come up?
Who Pays For the Damage?
If both drivers are insured and you are not at-fault, the other person's insurance covers the damage. However, if the other driver is uninsured, you should look to your insurance (specifically Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Property Damage) to cover the damages incurred.
How Do You Get Your Car Repaired?
An important thing to remember is that you have the right and option to choose your own repair shop. An insurance company will often have the vehicle evaluated by their own property damage specialist and then work with your chosen repair shop to ensure the work is completed. However, although insurance companies often offer an authorized repair shop, you are not obligated to use them.
What About a Rental Car?
While your car is being repaired, the other driver's insurance company is required to pay for a rental car. If your vehicle is totaled, the insurance company must pay for a rental car until you are given a check for the totaled vehicle. If the insurance company does not immediately accept responsibility for the collision, they must compensate you for every day that you were denied a rental car. Most of the time your own insurance company will cover the costs of a rental car, but that is something that needs to be verified with your individual provider.
Who Pays for Towing and Storage?
The at-fault driver's insurance company is normally responsible for any towing and storage fees accrued from the accident. However, storage fees are only paid for until the insurance company decides to repair or total the vehicle. If the company decides to repair the vehicle, they will pay to have it moved to a repair shop. If the vehicle is totaled out, they will pay to have it moved to another storage facility or a salvage yard. If you decide to keep the vehicle, you are responsible for the moving costs. If you do not allow the insurance company to move the vehicle, then you are responsible for storage costs after that point.
What Else Should You Be Aware Of?
Sometimes the at-fault driver's insurance company can claim that some damage to the vehicle was done prior to the accident or that a mechanical failure is not the result of the accident. If that happens, you will need to have the vehicle inspected at an independent mechanic or body shop. You will need to provide a written report to the adjuster and request a re-evaluation of the vehicle.