How Can I Get My Car Fixed After an Accident?
While being in a car accident can cause serious injuries, it can also result
in major property damage. Getting your car repair and fixed after a collision
can be a stressful process. First, it is important to understand what
damages you are entitled to recover where the collision was entirely the
other driver’s fault. First, you are obviously entitled to either
the fair and reasonable costs associated with repairing your vehicle.
If the cost to repair your vehicle is about the same or more than the
cost to repair, your car will likely be deemed a total loss. In that situation,
your claim is for the fair market value of the vehicle in its pre-accident
condition. Second, if any personal property was damaged or destroyed,
you should assist the adjuster by itemizing and photographing the damaged
items. Again, you will be entitled to the fair market value of the items
– NOT necessarily the replacement cost. Lastly, if your vehicle
is repaired and not a total loss, you may have a claim for the diminished
value of your vehicle. Diminished value is the term used to describe the
change in value of your vehicle due to the damage sustained. Most adjusters
will not offer this information up, so you should be prepared to raise
the issue yourself.
There are three potential sources of recovery for your property damages:
liability coverage under the other driver’s insurance, collision
coverage under your own auto policy (if you have it), or your own uninsured
motorist coverage (if you have it). If you are struggling to get the repairs
handled appropriately by the other driver’s liability insurer, you
might consider having your own insurer pay for the repairs under your
collision coverage. This coverage does have a deductible, but if your
insurer later recoups the funds from the at-fault driver’s insurer,
your insurer should refund that deductible to you. Uninsured motorist
coverage would typically only apply in situations where the other driver
is unknown, the other driver is known but had no insurance, or the other
driver had insurance but coverage is being denied for some reason, like
failure to pay premiums.