You paid your car insurance premiums. You’re a safe driver. Suddenly someone else crashes into your car and you need it fixed. So who pays? That answer may depend on the type of coverage you have.
If You Have Collision Coverage
If you have auto collision coverage you can make a claim against your own auto insurance policy. If you have a deductible, you’ll pay it up front when the car is done. Your company and the insurance for the person who hit you will then battle it out to see who really pays. In the meantime, your car gets fixed quickly.
If the car is a total loss, you should receive a check for the fair local market value of the vehicle.
The insurance companies will resolve their dispute either by negotiation or an arbitration. If your company can prove you weren’t at fault for the accident, you’ll get your deductible back.
If You Don’t Have Collision Coverage
Your property damage claim following a motor vehicle accident is usually handled as a separate matter from any personal injury claim. If you retain our firm for your personal injury case, we’ll work to resolve the property damage claim in a timely fashion.
If you don’t have collision coverage and the other driver was at fault, the other insurance company should take care of your property damage claim. You are entitled to either have your vehicle repaired or, if it is a total loss, full and fair compensation for the market value of the vehicle. You are also entitled to a rental car during the repair period.
Unfortunately, some insurance companies will battle over even the simplest liability issues. If they can’t win on liability, they’ll debate the value of the car. Their game plan is to wear you down.
If an agreement cannot be reached, your choice is to file a lawsuit. If the car is worth $5,000 or less, the matter can be heard in small claims court. Otherwise, it must go to a higher court. Litigation is a time consuming and sometimes expensive process. We use our experience in this area to resolve property damage disputes every day and rarely need to become involved in litigation.