If you ever find yourself victim to an automobile accident, it can be a very challenging and emotional process. Not only have you suffered bodily injury at the expense of another party’s negligence, but you also must combat transportation issues in order to get back and forth to work, doctor’s appointments, etc. Property damage claims can be very confusing and often leave people feeling as if they were not fully reconciled.
Below are answers to commonly asked questions regarding property damage:
- I am entitled to a rental vehicle. False. An insurance company may extend a rental vehicle as a courtesy, but is not required to do so by law. An insurance company is required to pay for loss of use of your vehicle once liability is accepted/determined.
- If my vehicle is totaled, the insurance company doesn’t have to take into account recent repairs or maintenance in my total loss valuation. False. If you recently had repairs or maintenance done to your vehicle, the insurance company may be required to take these costs into consideration. Be sure you save all maintenance and installation receipts. These must be submitted to the insurance company in order to show an increase in value in your vehicle. It is important to note that the vehicle value increase must be proven, which is done so by providing past maintenance history and work receipts. Additionally, an insurance company is required to pay diminished value for the loss of value when your vehicle is damaged in a car accident and is not totaled.
- The insurance company is required to pay off my lender. False. Insurance companies are not responsible for paying off your lender nor are they responsible in assisting you with purchasing a new vehicle. In fact, legally, the insurance company’s only responsibility is to pay the fair market value of your vehicle at the time of the accident. If you are purchasing a new vehicle or used vehicle, you can ask your lender for gap insurance, which will offer added protection to ensure you are never upside down on an automobile loan by covering the difference between the declared value of your vehicle and the excess loan amount. If you find yourself in a situation where you are upside down on your loan after an automobile accident and do not have gap insurance, you may speak with your lender about possibly rolling the amount of the previous loan into your new loan when purchasing a new vehicle.
- I was not at fault for the collision, so I have a right to keep my vehicle in storage while the at-fault insurance company investigates the facts of the loss, as well as, coverage. False. You are responsible for mitigating your own damages when involved in an automobile accident and may be responsible for excess storage fees if your vehicle is left in storage for an unreasonable amount of time. If you have comprehensive/collision coverage through your own carrier, it is beneficial to use your own insurance carrier in order to expedite the property damage process. Although you will be responsible for your deductible if repairs are completed, the deductible will be reimbursed once liability is accepted and a subrogation claim is submitted by your insurance company to the defendant’s carrier.
- I am entitled to get a new car seat if a car seat is in my vehicle at the time of the accident. True. Though it may not be physically damaged, the insurance company is responsible for reimbursing you the cost of the car seat in order to replace it. You must provide the insurance company with an original receipt of purchase or purchase a similarly priced car seat as the original and provide the receipt of purchase for reimbursement purposes.
If you or anyone you know has been injured in an automobile accident, please feel free to contact us at (678) 502-0229. Although we are personal injury attorneys, we also assist our injured clients throughout the tiring property damage process. Call us today for a free case consultation!