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Getting Your Car Fixed After a Northwest Indiana Car Accident?

Guy DiMartino Oct. 31, 2014

Michigan City, Indiana car accident lawyer explains how to get your car fixed after a Northwest Indiana car accident.

If you're involved in a car accident in a Northwest Indiana car accident you may have two separate and distinct claims: (1) a property damage claim, to get your car repaired; and (2) a personal injury claim if you've been injured in the accident.

Property Damage

If your car, truck, or motorcycle is damaged in a Northwest Indiana accident the at-fault driver's insurance company will repair or total your car. If the car is going to be repaired, the insurance company will send an appraiser out to your body shop or will have you bring your car into a service center for appraisal. Be sure to review the estimate provided by the insurance company closely.

If the insurance company finds you vehicle is a total loss. The company will offer you fair market or actual cash value for the car. Again, make sure you review the comparables that are provided by the insurance company, to make sure the vehicles listed are actually available and for sale at the price identified by the insurance company.

Insurance Issues in Property Damage Claims

All drivers in Indiana are required to carry a minimum amount of insurance coverage. One of the requirements is a minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability insurance. Some drivers also purchase collision insurance (not required in Indiana). Collision coverage pays for property damage up to the limits of your policy. Collision coverage usually carries a deductible of somewhere between $100 and 1,000.

If the other driver is at fault, you have an option of how to get your car repaired if you carry collision coverage. You can deal with the other driver's insurance company and negotiate a settlement under the driver's property damage insurance coverage, or you can file a claim under the collision coverage. If you go under your own collision coverage, you will have to pay the body shop your deductible. Your insurance company will then seek repayment from the other driver's insurance company and return your deductible.

Compensation for Property Damage

The insurance company will decide whether it is cheaper to repair or total your vehicle. If the insurance company decides to total your car it will pay you fair market value for the vehicle before the accident happened. Fair market value is determined through a number of sources. In order to see if the insurance company is dealing fairly with you, you can check out Kelley Blue Book or search your local market for the cost of vehicles similar to yours.

Many people run into trouble with their property damage claim because they owe more to the bank or finance company than the fair market value of the car. The insurance company is not required to make up the difference. Unfortunately, you will still owe the bank or finance company any unpaid balance on the loan.

Getting Your Car Repaired

Your insurance company may recommend a “preferred” auto body shop, but you are allowed to take the car to a body shop of your choice. For instance, Allstate may direct you to Sterling Autobody, which is a subsidiary of Allstate Corporation. If you go to a non-preferred shop, the insurance company can challenge any repairs it deems excessive, and could refuse to pay the full bill. You can insist on original manufacturer parts as opposed to aftermarket parts.

Miscellaneous Issues

  • The at-fault driver's insurance is responsible for storage and towing.

  • If you are without a car for a short amount of time while your car is getting fixed – the insurance company should provide you with a rental car. However, there are strict limits on what the insurance company will pay for the rental car, so don't plan on driving a luxury car, SUV or van.

  • Your own insurance should cover rental car use, so you do not need to buy extra insurance through the rental agency. Check your policy to make sure you are covered. However, make sure you have collision coverage and understand if you are the at-fault driver in an accident – you will have to pay the rental company your collision deductible.

If you have any questions about a Northwest Indiana car accident, call our Michigan City car accident lawyer or fill out the internet consultation form on the right.