How can I get my car repaired after a crash?

There may be many options available for getting your car repaired after a crash. If the damage is extensive, your car may be declared a total loss instead.

If you establish that another driver caused your crash, then that driver’s property damage liability insurance should pay for repairs to your car. You may also turn to your own collision coverage. This will pay for repairs to your car regardless of who is at fault. You may have optional insurance coverage that pays for towing costs and damage to any custom features on your car. The insurance company should pay for renting a car while repairs are made.

You have the right to choose the shop that repairs your car. However, if the insurance company finds a shop that will do the work for less money, you can expect the insurer to refuse to pay any more than that amount. A lawyer can help you with these negotiations.

If the amount of damage to your car exceeds 75 percent or more of its actual cash value, the insurer will declare it a total loss, or “total” it. The insurer will then pay you the actual cash value. There are many ways to arrive at that figure. Typically, it is based on the Kelley Blue Book value. If your car is “totaled,” you have a right to keep the car. The salvage value will be deducted from the amount the insurer pays you. Again, an attorney can help to negotiate a fair settlement if your car is “totaled” instead of repaired.

The amount of damage often depends on the type of collision. To learn more, see Hardison & Cochran‘s page Common Types of Car Accidents.


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