What To Do After An Auto Accident:
Dealing with insurance companies can be a difficult experience best left to a professional. It is important that your car is thoroughly examined at your repair facility and not an insurance company claim center. Often significant damage is hidden behind flexible plastic bumpers rendering a drive in claim inaccurate or incomplete. Eastside Collision has extensive knowledge of the claims process and can negotiate your claim to ensure the highest quality repair to your vehicle. Call Eastside Collision first and let us advocate for you!
- Insurance Claim Types:
Basically there are two types of insurance claims, first party which is between you and your insurance company and third party between you and another's insurance company. If you are at fault then you will be filing a first party claim directly with your insurance company. However, if your car was damaged and the accident was not your fault you will be filing a third party claim. Here are some guidelines to help you in dealing with the insurance companies and getting your car repaired.
- What is covered?
You are entitled to payment for any damage done to your car and personal property, such as, clothing, eye wear, sports equipment, or personal belongings that were in your car at the time of the accident if the accident was entirely someone else's fault.
- How am I paid for damages?
You may be able to recover your losses from the following three sources:
1 Liability Coverage under the other driver's Insurance - If the other person's insurance company accepts fault in your accident, they will normally pay to have your car repaired and you will not be responsible to pay a deductible. Unfortunately, insurance companies often take days or weeks to decide whether to accept fault in the accident. Therefore, this method may not be for you.
2 Collision Coverage under Your Insurance - This is usually the fastest and easiest way to get your car repaired. Your car repairs will be paid under your own insurance policy regardless of who is at fault in the accident. You are responsible for paying any deductable up front. This deductable will be returned to you if your insurance company is repaid by the other party.
You may also be responsible for any rental car fees during the time your car is being repaired if you do not have rental reimbursement coverage under your own policy.
3 Uninsured Motorist Coverage under Your Insurance - If the person who caused the accident does not have any insurance or is not able to be identified, you are protected under the uninsured motorist coverage of your own policy. Depending on the type of accident, you may be responsible for paying a deductible.
- How do I get my car repaired?
If your car is drivable and the other driver is at fault - You should contact the other driver's insurance company to initiate a claim or ask the Manager of the body shop to call the insurance company on your behalf. An insurance adjuster will be assigned to look at your car or you may be asked to take your car to the insurance company's location. If this is their approach, explain to the adjuster that you have a preferred body shop and this is where the car can be seen. It is illegal for insurance companies to mandate where you have your car inspected or repaired.
If your car is not drivable - The insurance company will send an adjuster to estimate the damage to your car. If your car has been towed to an impound yard it is very important to have your car moved as quickly as possible to the body shop of your choice. Most of impound yards charge a daily storage fee that you may be responsible for paying.
- What if my car is "Totaled"?
The insurance company will compare the amount your car could have been sold for before the accident (fair market value) to the estimated cost of repairing your car (plus rental charges and salvage value) and pay you whichever amount is less. A car that costs more to repair than it was worth before the accident is called a "Total Loss". The fair market value of your car is determined by the current price for a car similar to yours as listed by area car dealerships, newspapers, dealers surveys, and car value books.
When your car is declared a total loss, you have two options:
1 You can accept the total loss value of your car less the salvage value and keep your car.
2 You can accept the total loss and salvage value of your car by signing your car over to the insurance company. You will be required to sign the title and odometer reading statement. You may also be asked to sign a power of attorney to allow the insurance company to dispose of your car.
- Rental Cars
While your car is being repaired or you are waiting on payment for a car that is a total loss, you may want to rent a car. Provided the rental is comparable to your car, rented at a reasonable price, for a reasonable amount of time, the insurance company will reimburse you. Under the law in New York, the insurance company must only reimburse your expenses; therefore, you are often responsible for renting and paying for a rental car in advance.
Insurance companies often argue the amount of time a rental car is used, so it is important that you follow up with the body shop to make sure your car is repaired in a timely manner.
We hope you find this information helpful in resolving the damages to your car and remember Eastside Collision has extensive knowledge of the claims process and can negotiate your claim to ensure the highest quality repair to your car. Call Eastside Collision first and let us advocate for you!