If you have been in a car accident, your vehicle may be badly damaged. Even in the event that the damage was minor, it should still be taken care of as minor damage can fester and turn into bigger issues in the future. What are the steps that you should take to get your vehicle repaired after a wreck?
Find a Car Repair Center That You Trust
Your car insurance company cannot tell you where to get your car fixed or deny a claim based on the location that you take it to. Therefore, your only obligation is to find a repair center that will work with you and your insurance company to get the repairs done in a timely manner. If you are liable for some of the damage or need to pay a deductible, make sure that you can do so in a manner that is best for your needs and budget. This may mean asking to pay with a credit card or otherwise asking about an installment plan.
Get an Estimate of the Damage
Before any work is done, you should get an price quote from one or more repair shops. This will help you in the event that your car has been declared a total loss as you have some basis to reject that assertion. For instance, if your car is worth $10,000 and the repairs only come to $2,000, you may be within your rights to get the repairs done as opposed to letting your insurance company give you a check for the value of your car.
An Insurance Adjuster Is Going to Look at the Car
As part of the claims process, an adjuster is going to look at the car to determine the true extent of any damage done to it. If the adjuster thinks that the damage wasn’t caused in an accident or thinks that the damage isn’t covered under your policy, he or she may recommend that the insurance company deny or defend itself against the claim. While this may be an inconvenience, it may also just be a stalling tactic in an effort to get you to accept less than what you are entitled to. Ideally, you will stand firm and demand that your coverage provider honor the terms of its policy.
Obtain a Rental If Necessary
Most car insurance policies will cover the cost of renting a vehicle or using a loaner car until your main vehicle is repaired properly. While the rental may not be the same quality or type of car or truck that you had before, it is better than nothing, and it also may be all that you are entitled to after an accident. In most cases, you will have 30 days of rental coverage in your policy or more depending on the terms of your coverage.
Talk to Your Attorney About Any Other Issues That You May Have
In the event that you have any further questions or concerns about your case or your rights after an accident, you should talk with an attorney. Legal counsel may be able to give you the answers that you need or give you more advice as to how to proceed with your case.
If necessary, an attorney may be able to represent you in court or in negotiations with your insurance company. Typically, you have 30 days to appeal a decision by your auto coverage company, and they generally have 30-60 days to review your appeal and make a final decision.
In the event that you don’t have coverage or the person who hit you doesn’t have coverage, legal counsel can still help you get the compensation that you deserve assuming that you didn’t cause the crash. In most cases, you are still entitled to have your car repair bills paid as well as obtain cash to make up for lost wages or lost future earnings because you didn’t have transportation.
A damaged vehicle is both a safety hazard for anyone in the vehicle as well as an asset that will quickly depreciate in value. Therefore, it is in your best interest to have it fixed as soon as possible. If you were hit by another driver, that person or his or her insurance company is liable to pay your repair bills no matter where you choose to have that work done or how much it costs.
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