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Property Damage FAQ

Many times, people are involved in auto accidents in which their car or truck is damaged even if they were not injured in the accident. Here are some of the most common questions we receive about property damage repair.

Q. How do I know who was at fault in my accident?
A. The police report will indicate who the officer felt was at fault in the accident. However, the insurance company will decide who it feels is at fault through their own investigation.

Q. How does the adjuster determine fault and how long does it take
A. The insurance company can usually determine fault within two weeks from the time it receives the claim. They investigate the claim by getting the police report, taking statements from all parties, and photographing the cars and the accident scene.

Q. What if the other driver does not have insurance?
A. File an uninsured motorist claim under your automobile insurance policy. This coverage will help you with the property damage as well as any injury claim.

Q. My car was damaged in an accident and I don’t know what to do.
A. Immediately report the claim to the other person’s insurance company and your own company. The exchange slip you received at the accident scene should contain the company’s information.

Q. What can I do to get my car fixed faster?
A. If your car is drivable, get a written estimate from the body shop of your choice for the repairs. If it is not drivable, let the adjuster know the location of the car for assessment of damages.

Q. What can I do when my car is not drivable and I need a rental car?
A. You can wait for the adjuster to provide the rental or rent a car yourself and possibly be reimbursed by the adjuster. Remember, insurance companies do not have to provide rental vehicles but may pay for loss of use. You can use these funds to rent a vehicle.

Q. Does the insurance company have to pay the additional insurance coverage on the rental car?
A. No, they do not. If you have comprehensive and collision coverage on your auto policy, it will transfer to the rental. If you do not, the rental company will require you to pay for the extra coverage out of your own pocket. You will not be reimbursed for this expense.

Q. Can I be compensated for the personal items that were damaged in the accident?
A. Yes, you can. These items will be repaired or replaced for their value at the time of the accident.

Q. What does it mean when they say my car is a total loss?
A. It means that the estimated damage to your car exceeds 70% of the fair market value of the car. The insurance company will not pay for the repair work but will pay the fair market value of the vehicle before the collision.

Q. How is the value of my car determined?
A. There are several guides to go by when valuing a vehicle. The overall condition of the car is taken into consideration. Area dealerships will also give quotes on vehicle values.

Q. Do I have to accept the offer that was made on my car?
A. No. You can try to negotiate with the adjuster for a higher offer. Make sure you are prepared to justify why you think the vehicle is worth more than what they are offering.

Q. The adjuster’s offer will not even pay off my loan. Can I make them pay off the loan?
A. The insurance company does not have to pay off the loan. They make an offer on your car based on what the car was worth before the accident. You are still responsible for the loan.

Q. The offer for property damage is less than loan payoff and the adjuster said I could do a substitution of collateral. What is that?
A. That is when the finance company allows you to get another car and adds the remainder of the old loan to the new loan. (Not recommended)

Q. I’m not happy with my property damage settlement. Can I get more for my injury settlement?
A. No, these claims are completely different. Their value and settlement are separate.

Q. Can I request that only new parts be used for repairing my car?
A. Yes, it is your car and only you have the right to decide what parts to use. However, the insurance company may refuse to pay for the extra cost of the new parts.

Q. Do I have to settle my injury claim when I settle my property damage?
A. No, usually the property damage is settled first. If you are hurt, after you have been released from a doctor and know the full extent of your injuries the personal injury claim can be settled. Because personal injury is so complex, we recommend you consult an accident attorney.