What To Expect When You File An Auto Insurance Claim
A Call for Facts of Loss
When you’re involved in a car accident the first thing that happens after you report your claim is you receive a call from the insurance adjuster. An insurance adjuster looks at your coverages, listens to your statement about what happened (Facts of Loss), and then determines fault. This adjuster will also guide you through the remaining process to get your vehicle back to pre-loss condition. If it is found that another party is at-fault, you may elect to go through them for your repairs. If you use your insurance, you may have to pay your deductible up-front which your insurance company will attempt to A close up of a damaged car headlight & to subrogate back for you.
Choices for Repairing Your Vehicle
When you need to get your vehicle repaired, the choice is up to you on who fixes your vehicle. Typically, the insurance carrier will work with a network of body shops in your area and can recommend one or two. Regardless of who you choose, the insurance adjuster or estimator will work with the body shop on your behalf to ensure your car is repaired.
Oftentimes, insureds are surprised to hear that the insurance company authorized the usage of aftermarket (commonly referred to as Like-Kind-Quality or LKQ) parts on their vehicle. If your vehicle is new, it is unlikely this will occur, but if your car is more than a couple of years old, there will likely be many parts like bumper covers and fenders that are available for your vehicle that may be used when your vehicle is repaired. Most of the time, you will not have an option to choose, but if you see it on your estimate, you could likely opt to pay the difference yourself. Most insurance contracts say in the policy language they may use aftermarket parts.
When your vehicle is in the shop, you’ll likely be without it for at least a few days. If you need a rental car during this time, you’ll have to check your policy to see if you have one available. If you’re going through the at-fault party’s insurance company, they will provide you with a rental vehicle for basic transportation. If you have unique circumstances like an ADA vehicle or a truck or van that you have to use for work, be sure to let them know you have circumstances that require a similar temporary replacement.
If you are at fault for your accident, you’ll have to pay a collision deductible. The amount is unique to your insurance policy and typically is between $100 and $2500. If you’re not at fault and going through the at-fault party’s insurance company, there will be no deductible applied to your claim.
We hope you never have to experience an auto insurance claim but in the event you do, we’re here to help. If you’d like to discuss your auto insurance coverages prior to being in an accident, please schedule a time or call our office to review your existing coverage.