Getting the most money for the damages to your car after an accident is hard work. Here is information we hope you find helpful.
If you have other questions about your car accident claim, we'd love to help.
Who will pay to fix my car after an accident?
To figure out who will pay to repair your car after an accident, you must know two things. First, who was at fault for the accident. And second, what insurance coverages are available. The answer to both of those questions depends on the specific facts of your case so this guide is not meant as legal advice, but is intended to provide you some helpful information.
Why is it important to know who was at fault for the car accident?
The person who caused the car accident is responsible to pay for the damages to both vehicles. In Utah, we have a law called “comparative fault”. That law says that every person is responsible to pay for the damages caused by their own negligence. If a person is more than 50% at fault for an accident, then they are not allowed to make a claim.
The first thing insurance companies will do is determine who was at fault for the accident. They will also evaluate the facts of the accident to assess a percentage of fault to each driver. They will then pay for the vehicles to be prepared based on the percentages of fault. For example, if the other driver was 75% at fault, then his or her insurance company will pay for 75% of the cost to repair or total your car.
What kinds of insurance will cover damages to a vehicle?
There are typically two types of coverage that can pay to repair or total a vehicle after an accident. They are:
- Comprehensive Insurance
- Collision Insurance
Comprehensive Insurance. This is insurance that you can buy from your own insurance company. It will provide for repair or replacement of your vehicle after a collision or after any type of damage to the car. Generally, insurance companies will require payment of a deductible prior to paying out on the claim, but this coverage will apply regardless of who or what is at fault for the damage.
Collision Insurance. This is the insurance of the person who hit into you. It is often referred to as liability insurance. It will cover the damage to your vehicle up to the extent that the other person was liable, or at fault, for the accident.
We recommend to all of our clients that have both comprehensive and collision coverage. This is what people sometimes refrer to as “full coverage.” If you have both types of coverage you will always be able to get your car taken care of no matter who was at fault.
Should I pay my deductible and get my car fixed?
Oftentimes the easiest way to get your vehicle damage resolved is to make a claim against your comprehensive insurance coverage. This means you will ask your own insurance company to either repair or total your car, and you will pay the deductible.
If the other driver was at fault, your own insurance company will make a claim against the other driver’s liability insurance company to get paid back for the money the spent on your car. This is called “subrogation.” If they are successful, there is a good chance they will reimburse you for your deductible as well.
If the liability insurance carrier quickly accepts liability, meaning they agree the accident was caused mostly by their insured person’s negligence, then you will want to have them pay for your vehicle damage. The advantage will be that you will not have to pay a deductible before getting your vehicle damage paid for.
What about rental car coverage?
Rental car coverage is a type of insurance that you purchase through your own insurance. Make sure you check with your own claims adjuster to see if they will provide a rental car for you.
Am I required to use the insurance company’s preferred auto body shop?
Your insurance company will have body shops that it recommends because they have an established relationship with them. The advantage to using an approved body shop is that the insurance company will have verified their reputation and they will work well together to make sure the bill gets paid timely. It is also often the case that these body shops provide faster service and quicker turn around on vehicle repairs.
All that being said, you are not necessarily required to use the insurance company’s recommended body shop. If you would prefer to have work performed at another body shop, contact your claims adjuster and arrange for the work to be performed by the body shop of your choosing. Just be forewarned that, in some cases, you may have to pay for the services up front and then wait to be reimbursed by the insurance company.
Can I negotiate the value of my car?
The short answer is yes. But be aware that car insurance companies do not play nicely when negotiating over the value of a totaled car. Invariably, your car will be more valuable to you than what the insurance company is willing to pay. That is because the insurance company’s valuation will be based on their own assessment of market value which more often resembles trade-in value than private-sale value.
If you want to negotiate over the value of your car make sure you to go into the negotiation prepared. Learn the value of your car by finding similar vehicles that have been sold. You will need to find cars of the year, make and model of your car. It will be best to find comparable cars that are similar to yours in terms of condition and mileage.
You can also ask the insurance company to consider things that may enhance the value of your automobile such as customizations or recent repairs. If you intend to rely on these types of “betterments”, make sure to have receipts and other evidence to prove the value.
Make sure to organize all of your counterpoints before calling the claims adjuster. Also be prepared with as much documentation you can find to help strengthen your case.