The first question that many people have in a car accident case is; how do I get my car fixed? This is called a property damage or “PD” claim. Generally, personal injury attorneys do not handle property damage claims. In our office, as a courtesy to our clients, we will assist them with their property damage claim.
The first step in deciding how you're going to get your car fixed is sorting out who is at fault or responsible for the crash. If you caused the crash, you only have one way available to get your car fixed, and that is through your own insurance company. If you do not have collision insurance, you will need to pay for your repairs out of pocket.
If you are not responsible for the accident, you may have some choices of how you are going to get your car repaired. Initially, you must review your insurance policy or insurance declaration and see if you purchased collision insurance. If you have collision, you need to understand how much your collision deductible is. Car insurance collision coverage usually have deductible that range from $100.00 to $1,000.00. Like health insurance, you are responsible for the deductible before the insurance company pays dollar one. For instance, if you have a $1,000 deductible and the damage to your vehicle is $1,100, you will pay your deductible and the insurance company will pay $100.00.
4 benefits of going through collision insurance:
- Many times it is quicker because the other driver's insurance company will have to investigate the claim before it accepts liability and agrees to repair your car.
- Your insurance company has a duty to treat you more fairly than the other driver's insurance company.
- If you go through your insurance company, your rates will not go up if the accident was not your fault.
- If it costs more to get your car repaired than the other driver has in insurance.
1 disadvantage of going through your own collision insurance is:
- You have to pay your deductible to the body shop before you will be able to pick up your vehicle. So you may have to reach into your pocket for $500.00 or $1,000.00. Your insurance company will seek repayment from the other driver's insurance company, which will include your deductible. When your insurance company receives payment, it will forward you your deductible. However, it may take three to six months to get your money back.
The other option available to you is going through the at-fault driver's insurance company. Indiana requires all drivers to have a minimum of $10,000.00 of property damage insurance.
2 benefits of going through the other driver's insurance company to get your car fixed:
- You do not have to pay any money out of pocket
- The company will provide you with a rental car when your car is in the shop
2 disadvantages of going through the other driver's insurance company:
- It can take time. The other insurance company has to set up the claim, assign an adjuster, get the accident report, talk to their insured, and accept responsibility for the accident before you can get your car fixed. This can take days to weeks depending on the insurance company and the cooperation the company gets with their insured.
- The other company does not have the same requirement of fair dealing with you, so you must be less trusting.
Some insurance companies may require you to bring your vehicle to their estimating facility. Other insurance companies have property damage appraisers who will come to your home or storage facility and estimate the vehicle. Still others will ask you to take your vehicle to one of their preferred shops for the estimate.
If you have any questions about getting Your Car Fixed After An Accident give us a call today (219) 874-4878.