Luckily, many car accidents occur without serious physical injuries to those involved. When a person has been in that type of crash, usually the most pressing issue on his or her mind is: how do I get my car fixed? That question can have many answers. The first thing to consider is whether or not you even have comprehensive collision coverage on your vehicle. Working through these things with an attorney can help you weather the storm. In Utah, this type of coverage is not required. That means that some drivers will be unable to get their car fixed by their own insurance company. That leads us to the next issue.
Photo Credit: Patrick McKnight
Usually the first question everyone should be asking after an accident is: who was at fault? If you did not cause the accident, you will be able to go through the at fault party’s insurance for your claims.
Going through the at-fault driver’s insurance.
If you contact the at-fault driver’s insurance and file a claim on their liability policy, you will not have to pay a deductible. You will also not have to file a claim on your own policy and may avoid the possibility of a future increase in premiums. Unfortunately, going through the adverse insurance can take an awfully long time because they will not do anything until they can determine fault. You would think that determining fault would not take long after most accidents, you’d be wrong. They will delay longer than you would ever think is practical.
Going through your own insurance.
This is typically the best path to take. Most of us don’t realize that after fault is determined, your insurance provider will be reimbursed anyway and you will then be reimbursed your deductible. Having to pay the deductible upfront is the biggest downfall to going through your own insurance. When you have rental car coverage on your own policy, this decision can become somewhat of a no brainer.
Getting the repair done.
Your insurance adjustor may set up a time to see your car so he can draw up an estimate himself. If this happens, keep in mind that you can also take it to your own shop to get your own estimate and negotiate for the higher one. If your insurance provider does not have a local adjustor they will likely send you to a preferred body shop or even have you take it to multiple shops so they can pay you the amount of the lowest estimate. Just make sure that you trust the shop and your shop agrees that they can do the repair at a good quality for that amount.
When the estimate gets to be more than your car’s fair market value, your car will be considered “totaled.” That gives you two choices. You can either sell your damaged car to the insurance company for “fair market value.” Or, you can deduct the salvage amount from the fair market value and keep the damaged car. Remember that fair market value is based on how your car would sell in your geographical region and that amount can be negotiated.
Was anyone hurt?
Finally, keep in mind that if anyone was hurt in the accident, the car becomes the least of your worries. The bodily injury claim is extremely more complex to deal with. You will likely need the assistance of a good car-accident attorney.
This article is offered only for general information and educational purposes. It is not offered as and does not constitute legal advice or legal opinion. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this article without first seeking the advice of an attorney.