How do I handle property damage after an accident?
The moment an accident is over one of the most common things to do is get out and look at the car. Why? Because everyone is worried about their property damage. Fixing a car that has been in an accident can be expensive and take a long time. There are several important things to remember when handling your property damage after an accident.
First, it is important to get the name and insurance information of the other driver, especially if the accident is their fault. If the accident is their fault it will be their insurance company that will be paying for repairs. Along with that it is important to take pictures of the damage at the scene of the accident. The photographs will be helpful in resolving your property damage, and often the photographs can be used to help illustrate how the accident occurred.
If your vehicle is damaged badly enough that it needs to be towed, time can become a factor. Unless you specify a repair shop, often times the wrecker service will tow your vehicle to storage facility that charges fees for each day your vehicle is there. If your vehicle is towed and is at a storage facility, it is important to determine as quickly as possible whether your vehicle is a “total loss” or is “repairable.” The insurance company will make that determination.
If your vehicle is repairable find a repair shop that is willing to repair vehicles that have been in an accident. You will need tell the repair shop where your vehicle is being stored and ask the repair shop to have it towed to their shop. The bills for towing are usually paid by the repair shop and included in the repair shop bill. The sooner your vehicle is out of storage the sooner it will get fixed and you will not have to worry about extra storage fees.
If your vehicle is a “total loss,” you are entitled to the fair market value of the vehicle immediately prior to the accident. Once the insurance company has made you a reasonable fair market value offer, you have a reasonable time (on average less than a week) to accept the offer. After such time, you could be responsible for excess storage fees.
Lastly, you may find that the liability insurance company is not responding or not treating you right. If you find yourself in this situation, consider contacting your own insurance company. Often they are more willing to assist you since you are their customer.