Property Damage

Who pays for my car repairs? Who pays for my rental car? When you’ve been in a car accident, you have questions and concerns. We understand being without your car can add to the frustration and confusion. Below is helpful information regarding property damage claims, getting a rental car, and what happens if your car is a total loss. This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Every case is different and you should contact your car insurance representative with questions specific to your policy.

It is also important to note that when it comes to property damage, the insurance company will only work with the registered owner of the vehicle- regardless of who was driving the car at the time of the accident. Notify your insurance company as soon as possible.

REMINDER: Don’t give any recorded statements or sign any documents without consulting with our office.

My car is damaged and I need transportation. Who pays for my rental car?

  • Check with your Insurance Agent, or review your policy to see whether your policy provides coverage for a rental vehicle.
  • Most major insurance companies work with major rental car companies like Enterprise(www.enterprise.com) or Hertz (www.hertz.com). Make sure you tell them you were in a car accident and have an active insurance claim number. Major rental companies will make sure you get the appropriate vehicle and will accept a debit and/or credit card.
  • A compact rental car is usually covered. If you decide to upgrade your rental car, you may have to cover the difference.
  • The person renting the vehicle must be the registered owner of the car- regardless of who was driving when the accident happened. (provided the owner of the vehicle meets the minimum age requirements)
  • If the other party accepts responsibility, their insurance may cover a rental vehicle.

It is also important to remember that while you are driving the rental car- you should make sure you have rental insurance. So you do not have to purchase any additional rental coverage unless you do not already have sufficient collision coverage. If you have not paid for rental coverage through your insurance, then you probably will be required to provide a major credit card or other payment to rent a similar vehicle, in which we will make a claim on your behalf for reimbursement.

Who pays the tow truck fees or storage charges?

  • Check with your insurance policy to see if you have towing coverage.
  • You may be responsible for storage charges which can be extensive. It is extremely important to have your vehicle removed from the tow yard quickly.
  • As the owner of the vehicle you are entitled to go to the tow yard one time to remove your possessions during normal business hours, without being charged; keep in mind you may be charged for additional visits to the tow yard.
  • It is your responsibility to lessen your damages and get your car out of the tow yard as quickly as possible.
  • The tow yard has the right to auction the vehicle off if the fees are not paid in a certain amount of time.

What if my car is “totaled”?

  • The insurance company has the right to declare your car a total loss if the cost of repairing the car is more than the fair market value of the vehicle.
  • The decision to declare your car “totaled” is the insurance companies to make. If you are in disagreement with this decision, you can process the claim through your own company and they will apply the deductible.
  • You can get a general idea of your vehicle’s Blue Book value online at www.kbb.com, although this may not be the guide the insurance company uses. Do not go to an auto dealership to research the value of your car.

What if my car is totaled and it’s not worth what I paid?

  • Check with your insurance policy to see if you have gap coverage. Gap coverage closes the gap between what your auto insurance company pays if your car is totaled and what you owe the finance company.
  • If you do not have gap coverage, you may be responsible to pay for the negative equity of your vehicle.
  • It is important to remember that the insurance company, even your own, only has to pay the fair market value of the car. An insurance company is not required to give you the replacement value for your vehicle.
  • Again, you can get a general idea of the Blue Book value online at www.kbb.com. Do not go to an auto dealership to research the value of your car.

Who pays for my car repairs?

There are two ways to receive payment for property damage – through your own insurance company or through the other party’s insurance company.

Your own insurance company:

  • The fastest and easiest way to pay the repair is through your own insurance company.
  • If you purchased collision coverage on your policy, your insurance company will pay for repairs after you pay the deductible. The deductible may be reimbursed later by the party at-fault.

Other party’s insurance company:

  • If you choose this option, you may face significant delays in fixing your car.
  • The at-fault party’s insurance coverage typically will not pay for your repairs until it has accepted fault and investigated the claim, which may take several weeks.

Either way, do not make any repairs to your vehicle until the insurance company has inspected the car:

  • It’s important to remember that if the other driver’s insurance company is not on the police report or is unidentified; it will take longer to process the claim.
  • Once the other driver’s insurance company has been identified, it could take quite a while before the car has been inspected.
  • During this time period, you must not repair the car yourself because the insurance companies have to be able to first look at the car. It is helpful if you have photos and an estimate of the damage.

How do I get my car repaired?

  • The insurance company will inspect the damage so that you can make arrangements to fix your car.
  • Most auto insurance companies have a “preferred provider” system for car repair. To help control costs, insurers work with certain body shops.
  • You are entitled to get your car repaired at the shop of your choice. There may be benefits to taking your car to a preferred provider shop. If you need help in finding a repair shop, call us.
 

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