Managing car repairs after an accident
If you have been involved in a vehicle crash of any time, seeking medical treatment for any injuries should be your top priority. After that, you will also need to deal with car repairs after an accident.
Below are a few tips to keep in mind before you proceed with assessing and repairing damage to your car:
At the scene
As we have discussed in past blogs, gathering evidence at the scene of the accident can help you build your case and make the claims process more efficient. Take photos of the damage to your car, the other vehicles involved in the crash, the site of the accident and any surrounding details that can help tell the story of what happened.
Write down your recollection of the event at the scene or as soon as possible afterward. Call police to the scene and ask when you can receive a copy of the police report.
Call your insurance company to report the accident. You should alert your insurance agent about the clear facts of the accident, but don’t admit fault to your agent or anyone else at the scene. If the other driver was clearly at fault, you can share that information. If your agent asks you about injuries, answer that you will seek medical treatment to check for any injuries.
Gather insurance information from the other parties involved in the accident.
Filing a claim
Contact the appropriate insurance company (yours and/or the at-fault party’s) to determine when a claims adjuster will visit you to assess damage to your vehicle.
Per the insurance company’s instructions, take your vehicle in for an estimate. Some insurance providers require three estimates, so be sure to ask how many you will need.
If your vehicle requires minor repairs that don’t meet the deductible on your policy, and if you would be filing the claim through your own insurance, you may decide to skip the claim and handle the minor repairs on your own.
If the claim will go through the other driver’s insurance, or if the damage is extensive, you should file the claim.
Once your estimate has been approved by the insurance company, you can begin the repair process.
When it’s time to have a mechanic or auto body shop repair your car, you ultimately have the final decision about which shop to use. Some insurance companies will recommend certain shops, but you have the right to seek out your own professionals to handle the work.
Ask the insurance company if they will pay for a rental car while your vehicle is in the shop. Also determine whether the shop will use new or after-market (used) parts for your repairs, and express your preference if you have one. In some cases, you might be responsible for the difference in cost.
If the shop finds additional damage when inspecting your car, contact the insurance company right away to approve coverage for the additional work.
Before the mechanic or auto body shop releases the car to you, inspect it closely to ensure that the repairs are complete. Only sign for the car if you are satisfied with the work.
If you have been in a car accident, always seek a medical exam to rule out any injuries. If you have been injured in an accident, contact us for a free case evaluation.