IF SOMEONE ELSE WAS THE CAUSE OF THE ACCIDENT AND YOU DO NOT HAVE COLLISION COVERAGE, WHAT DO YOU DO?

File a Third Party Claim:

 

This is when instead of going through your own insurance, you present a claim against the other vehicle owner’s and/or driver’s liability insurance policy if the other driver was wholly or partially at fault.

 

What Type of Damages Are You Entitled to?

 

You are entitled to:

 

The cost of repair OR the value of the car, whichever is less.

 

Repair Costs

           

     How it works. The insurance company will most likely work with the auto body shop to get an estimate and fix your car. If you still have a loan for your vehicle, then the check will be both your name and the lien holder or the body shop on the check. Sometimes, the body shop will only be on the check. The reason why the insurance company does this is because, when you financed your vehicle, the lien owner required you to have a certain level of insurance to protect their investment (the auto you are in the process of paying off). So, because you have not paid of the vehicle, then the insurance company is obligated to either cut a check in the lien holder’s or auto shop’s name as well as yours

Total Loss Costs

Fair Market Value. This will be done by the insurance adjuster (representative) investigating the so-called “blue book” value. But, you need to obtain from the adjuster the data from which he or she arrived at the value.  Then you need to do your due diligence to verify that the offer is fair or unreasonably low.  Sometimes, simply running a value estimation at www.kbb.com is sufficient. Other times, further or other valuation methods can or ought to be used.

 

Salvage Value is a vehicle’s value as a wrecked and totaled vehicle. If you want to keep the totaled vehicle, the salvage value will be deducted from your recovery.  The salvage value can sometimes be negotiated with the insurance company.

 

Pro-rata Unused DMV Fees: if the car is totaled you should get your unused DMV fees back.

 

Sales Tax: Since you have to purchase a new vehicle you they should have to pay the sales tax for purchasing another vehicle.

 

Towing and Storage Costs 

The other driver’s insurance will be responsible for reasonable charges related to towing your vehicle and any storage fees. Remember, its reasonable charges, so don’t have your car towed 500 miles and keep it at a tow yard for longer than necessary.

 

Rental Car

If you rented a car while your car was getting work done, they need to pay for that. Again, only reasonable rental charges. Therefore, rental charges will be based on how much it would cost to rent a vehicle like the one you own. They aren’t going to pay for a Lamborghini if you drive a Camry.

 

Loss of UseIf you don’t rent a car, you may seek to claim damages for “loss of use” of your car which is the reasonable rental value of your car.   Insurance companies normally will agree to pay something that is reasonably priced and necessary charges (but not for insurance for rental vehicle) during time or repair or, a total loss, until replacement of your car (although insurance companies will seek a lesser period).

 

Damage to Other Belongings or Items

The collision violence may damage things in your car interior or trunk (examples: cell phone, laptop, sports equipment, etc.) or attached to you (eyeglasses, wrist watch). Such other damaged property is also recoverable as damages

 

STARTING THE CLAIMS PROCESS

 

Unlike the personal injury part of the claim, the property damage claim settlement process normally starts shortly after the traffic collision. Call them and ask them to “see your vehicle ASAP” and let them know where they can find it. If liability may be an issue, let them know they can still inspect the vehicle right away and once liability is confirmed, you can get it fixed.

 

OBTAIN GOOD QUALITY ESTIMATES

 

Independent Estimates:

 

  1. Get estimates from the place where you will actually get the vehicle repaired.

  2. Verify that the repair shop is qualified and is diligent to find ALL of the damage to your car.

  3. If possible, seek to obtain an estimate from a factory-authorized repair facility.

  4. If you can, obtain several estimates.

 

Insurance Company Estimates:

The insurance company has the right to inspect your car and obtain an estimate.  But it should be at your convenience, not theirs.  You ought not to have to drive a great distance. You are advised to be present during the inspection if practical. The insurance company should only be given one inspection. Exception: You or the repair shop later discover damage that the adjuster is not yet aware of. But seek to be reasonable with the insurance company; otherwise extended delays may happen. 

 

Starting Repairs:

Normally, it is unwise to get your car repaired before the insurance company agrees on the price with the repair facility.  There may be limited exceptions to this rule.