If you want money for your car damages, then you need to start an auto accident insurance claim. Here are the 5 basic steps you need to follow:
1. Call The Auto Insurance Company
You have to call the insurance company, which you intend to collect money from, and start a property damage claim. You can file this claim under your own collision coverage or against another driver’s liability insurance. (Read Should You Use Auto Collision Insurance to Pay For Car Repair Costs?)
At this point, you have started your compensation claim and you will be given a claim number.
2. Gather Evidence
If you decide to file an auto accident insurance claim against another driver’s insurance company, then you will have to show how much the other driver was at fault for your car crash.
These are important because the amount of money you get depends on the percentage of blame you can assign the other driver.
For example, lets assume your damages are worth $5,000. After looking at your collected evidence, the insurance company decides that their insurer was at 80% at fault and you were 20% at fault for the accident.
This would mean your auto accident insurance claim will be reduced by 20% to $4,000.
3. Get Car Repair Costs Estimates
Your next step is to get estimates for your car damages. You should take your vehicle to a local repair shop and get an itemized list of all repairs.
Make sure the costs are for factory replacement parts for your particular vehicle. Your car should be returned to its original condition using the same quality parts. Also check if the estimates include any required paint job.
You should always take your car to a qualified repair shop that is familiar with your type of vehicle. This will give you an accurate estimate of the cost of labor.
Get a copy of this estimate to give to the insurance company. Make sure that the estimates are detailed with list of replacement parts and cost of labor. The more detailed your estimates, the easier it is to justify the amount of your auto accident insurance claim to the insurance company.
If your car was completely totaled, such that the cost of repair is more than the cost of the vehicle, the insurance company will pay you the car’s Actual Cash Value (ACV). Check the Kelly Blue Book to calculate your car’s ACV.
4. Discuss Damages with Insurance Claims Adjuster
Once you send your estimates to the insurance company, they will try to evaluate your car repair costs. The insurance company will assign an insurance claims adjuster to handle your auto accident insurance claim. The insurance adjuster will get in touch with you over the phone to discuss your estimates.
A lot of times, the claims adjuster will want to examine your vehicle, and see if your estimates are reasonable. They will ask you to visit their own repair shop to compare with your estimates.
If this happens, you should arrange a time and place to get your car checked up that is convenient for YOU. You do not have to travel far or take time out of your busy schedule for this meeting. Do what works for your schedule, not theirs.
After the check up, if you and the adjuster agree with your car repair costs, you will be sent a check in the mail a few weeks later.
Sometimes there will be a dispute over what the damages to your vehicle actually add up to.If so Read How to Negotiate More Cash To Fix Your Car From Your Auto Accident Insurance Settlement
5. Sign a Property Damage Release Form
Once you and the insurance company have agreed to a settlement amount, you will be sent a Property Damage Release form. This form is to close your settlement and protect the insurance company from any future property damage claims from your accident.
Once you sign this form, you cannot collect any more money from the insurance company. If you discover a car repair problem you missed, you will not be compensated by the insurance company. So make sure you get a thorough estimate when you start your claim.
Getting money for your car repair costs from an auto accident insurance claim isn’t really a complicated process. The only tricky part is trying to avoid getting any blame for your car crash and showing who was really at fault.
To better understand this, read Be Careful Starting Your Car Accident Settlements and understand how you should speak when discussing your car accident insurance claim
If you follow these 5 steps and gather enough evidence, you will be able to get your car repair costs pretty smoothly.
Want to know How Much Your Injury Claim is Worth? Get a free settlement estimate right now.