The Ins and Outs of Property Damage Claims

Posted on: January 16th, 2015 by The Rodzik Law Group

If you’re involved in an auto accident that results in your vehicle being damaged by the other driver’s negligence, then filing a property damage claim with your insurance company will help you cover the cost of repairing your vehicle. But, getting your claim approved is not always as easy as it should be. What you do immediately after the accident weighs big on your recovery chances.┬áHere, our auto accident attorney in Wilmington NC outlines the steps you should take in the event your property is damaged in an auto accident.

auto accident attorney in Wilmington NC

An Accident Occurs and Your Property is Damaged, Here’s What to Do First

The first thing you need to do is get out of the flow of traffic and move to a safe location. Next, you should immediately obtain the other driver’s name, license number, and insurance information. Then, call the police to report the accident. The police report is your most powerful ally in claiming property damage, so make sure you give the responding officer a complete and thorough report of the accident.

While you are waiting for the police to arrive, take photos of the damage to your car and any other vehicles that were involved, especially those that suffered damaged. Do not talk with the other driver and most importantly, never apologize or admit fault at the scene. If there are any witnesses at the scene, try to get as many names and phone numbers as you can. Look around the scene to see if there were any contributors to the accident, such as traffic signs hidden by tree limbs, traffic conditions, roadway problems, etc. Document anything you find that may be a factor.

Keep in mind, the more information you provide the insurance company’s examiner, the faster your claim can be validated and paid.

What Type of Insurance Do You Need to Have in Order to File a Claim?

If all you have is a liability insurance policy, then your insurance company is not going to cover the damage to your vehicle. You need to have collision coverage or comprehensive auto insurance if you want this benefit.

In some cases, a standard comprehensive policy will only cover the base vehicle, not any after-market add-ons. If your vehicle is equipped with after-market accents or equipment that you want covered, then make sure your insurance covers them or if not, ask your insurer about optional coverage riders.

Which Insurance Company Should You File the Claim With?

The answer to this question is determined by who is at fault for the accident. If the other driver was clearly at fault, then you will file a third party claim with their insurance company. If it is unclear as to who was at fault, then you should file the claim with your own insurance provider. Then, if during the investigation it is determined that the other driver was definitely at fault, then the other driver’s insurance company can attempt to reclaim the damages they paid out to you, which will in turn allow you to reclaim your deductible.

What Happens if Your Vehicle is Totaled in the Accident?

If your auto insurance company determines that your vehicle has been damaged beyond a certain percentage of its value, then they may declare the vehicle to be a total loss. If this should happen, then you will have to negotiate with the insurance company as to the actual cash worth of your vehicle at the time of the accident.

Keep in mind that if your car is “totaled” and you still owe on your auto loan, it is not guaranteed that the insurance company will give you enough money to pay off your loan. The actual amount you receive is based on several factors, not just how much you paid for the car. The only way you can ensure you receive enough money to cover your auto loan is for you to carry gap insurance. This type of insurance covers the difference between the cash value of your vehicle and the amount you owe on your loan.

Call Our Auto Accident Attorney in Wilmington NC Today

Even though your auto insurance company is there to protect you, it will try to protect its best interests first and this can sometimes create problems for those filing property damage claims. In some cases, victims of auto accidents need legal representation to ensure their claims are paid.

If you were recently involved in an auto accident, then contact The Rodzik Law Group’s auto accident attorney in Wilmington NC as soon as possible. You may be eligible for compensation for your medical bills, lost earnings, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other damages. For more information or to schedule a free initial consultation with one of The Rodzik Law Group’s experienced attorneys, please call us at 910-762-1199.

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