At Morris Bart, LLC, we guide you each step of the way after an accident. When dealing with property damage, follow this general guide on what to expect and how to handle insurance companies and adjusters. Though it’s easier for clients to take on the property damage claim themselves, your attorney can guide you in speaking with the insurance adjuster, getting a rental car, and/or fixing your damaged vehicle.
First and foremost, what is considered as property damage?
Anything that was damaged in or on your vehicle during an accident is considered property damage. Lost a bumper during a fender bender? Shattered a windshield? These are pretty common damages to expect compensation for after an accident. But what if your smartphone’s screen breaks while swerving? What if your child’s car seat is damaged? If so, you’re entitled to the cost of repair or replacement value. It’s important to do an inventory of your vehicle if you are in a car accident to make sure receive compensation for all damages caused by the negligent driver.
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Get Ahead of the Adjuster
Before speaking with an insurance adjuster, make sure you have, or have done, the following:
- Claim Number: You may have this already, or else your assigned attorney can get it to you.
- Vehicle Title: You will need to give the official title document to the adjuster.
- Vehicle Tow: If your vehicle was towed from the scene of the accident, be sure you know where. Insurance will companies only pay for 2-3 days of storage fees; make sure you get your vehicle out of storage as soon as possible to avoid incurring any extra fees. NOTE: If your vehicle sits in a tow lot for more than 30 days, it could be sold at auction.
- Vehicle Photos: Insurance companies may have you submit your photos online. If this is the case, make sure to include pictures of the entire vehicle, even if the undamaged parts. It’s always better to have too many pictures than not enough pictures.
When you speak to your adjuster about the damage, don’t discuss any details about the wreck—your attorney will handle those details for you. All you need to do is let the adjuster contact you. Give the adjuster the necessary info, as stated above, and nothing more.
Follow Up with the Adjuster
The following are three instances that you’ll most likely deal with when handling your property damage claim:
- Rental Car: Insurance companies arrange this for you. Be sure that the adjuster gives you a vehicle return date. If your car is not fixed but your rental is to be turned in, contact the adjuster immediately for an extension on the rental. Extensions are not an issue; however, last minute extensions can be difficult.
- Repairs: You may have the option of choosing where you’d like your vehicle fixed, or the insurance company may tell you where to get an estimate in your area. Make a definite plan with the adjuster to get an estimate at a specific time and place. If you get your own estimate, the adjuster may want to get a separate estimate to compare the pricing—it’s annoying, but it’s part of the process. Request a third estimate from an independent repair shop if the estimates from either business are too different. And remember, before leaving the repair shop with your repaired vehicle, make sure everything is fixed properly. Call the adjuster if the repairs are unsatisfactory.
- Totaled Vehicle: The cost of repair could be greater than the value of the car, so the insurance company may decide to pay you the value of the car prior to the accident. There isn’t much to negotiate when it comes to a totaled vehicle. This fixed value is based on what your car would sell for on the present market. If you think that you’re getting the runaround for the value of your vehicle, contact your personal injury attorney for guidance.
If you or a loved one has been in an automobile wreck, or any type of personal injury incident, contact us today or fill out our free case evaluation form. Our hotline is open 24/7 – One Click, That’s It!