What To Do After a Car Accident
Accidents and car wrecks happen and they may happen to you.
Sometimes, your concern may not be so much about your health as it is about your damaged car. Besides the shock of the accident, many car owners are usually confused on what to do next after being involved in a car wreck.
The first step you are likely to take is to file an insurance claim to cover the cost of the damages. After filing your claim with the insurance, what it next?
Here is what to do next in order to get your car back on the road as quickly as possible.
1. Contact the insurance
Most insurance companies will tell you to contact them within 24 hours after an accident has happened. Ensure that you and your car are in a safe place. This is the first immediate action.
After that, exchange information and contact your insurance company. If it is possible for you to contact the insurance company from the scene of the accident then better do that.
It is very useful if you can have someone guide you on what to say or do like a lawyer for example. You should not admit any guilt or liability. You will be required to give your name, contact information, vehicle registration, license number of the driver, and a description of the accident.
For a car insurance claim, you must fill out a claims form with your insurance company which you can easily do from the company’s website or mobile app. Most insurance companies have these options.
2. Choose a auto repair shop
The second step is to choose a repair shop. Insurance companies are not allowed to steer clients to particular repair shops as it is illegal.
Nevertheless, your insurance company can give you a list of repair shops to choose from. A lender requires you to pick a shop from the list if you are making payments on your car. But you have the right to choose whichever auto repair shop that works for you.
However, choosing an auto body shop that is within the insurance’s radar will save lots of time and hassle but you face the problem of the mechanic using aftermarket parts to save on costs.
When you are choosing your own mechanic, these tips should help you find the right auto repair shop:
Check for ASE certification for the mechanic
Check for AAA affiliation for the shop
Ask about repair warranties
Read online reviews of other customers to get a picture of the kind of service offered by the repair shop
Before the repairs on your car are started, make sure to see what is wrong
Compare price estimates from different repair shops
Additional certifications to look for include AC-Delco, Better Business Bureau, ICAR, NAPA auto care, Parts Plus Car Care, and PPG certification
But you don’t have to fix your car. You can decide not to in case you prefer the cash rather than the repair. An insurance company will still owe you that money whether you get the car repaired or not.
Sometimes insurers companies will opt to give you cash worth the value of your car especially if it was severely damaged in the accident. It would be better to give you the cash rather than spend a lot of money on the repairs.
3. Take your car to the garage
You’ve found your mechanic after deliberation and made an appointment. It is now time to figure out how to get your car to them in case you cannot drive it there. To do so, you must:
Check to see if your insurance covers roadside assistance including towing
Check whether your AAA membership or any other road club membership can get you towing assistance
Hire a towing company to pick up your car in case all the above options do not apply to you
Now, when getting your car to the repair shop, it is necessary to check with your insurance company on how long it should take you. Most insurance companies have a statute of limitation that state how long you have to get your car fixed before the claim becomes invalid.
Sometimes, your insurance might fail to cover expenses like replacing a broken windshield if it increases the time your car needs for repairs.
It is easy to get around without your car but if you are not familiar with the other means of transportation, it may be overwhelming. Some of the options you have include:
· Hiring a rental car especially if your roadside assistance comes with rental coverage. You can still hire a rental without a rental coverage. You just have to find the best shop
· Some repair shops and dealerships can offer you a loaner car while your car is getting fixed
· Another alternative is to use public transit in case you live in a city with easily accessible and affordable public transport. You can use Uber, hail a taxi or use a bus to get around.
· Otherwise, you can decide to hitch a ride with family or friends who are heading the same direction as you are. They can also loan you a car they are not using for you to use in the meantime.
4. follow up with the insurance and the garage
You need to be vigilant about your claims with your insurance companies. Confirm with your insurance company on any documentation that is needed from the mechanic regarding your repairs.
Insurers are different. Some insurers will need to see an itemized list of repairs along with the estimated costs while others may want to approve this list before repairs are made. Your insurance company and garage need to be on the same page. Once you get the list of the requirements when you make the claim, always keep tabs on it.
When the process becomes unnecessarily slow, follow up with your insurer and the garage so that they have everything to speed up the process.
5. Confirm the repairs
After your mechanic is done with the car repairs, he or she will call you to let you know when you can pick it up. You must do a quick-run through before you take your car home just to make sure that everything has been fixed. You can also ask the mechanic to give you a breakdown of the repairs that were made while showing you the particular places.
After that, go through the itemized bill so that you have an understanding of what everything means. As you go through the bill, be observant to notice whether the bill closely resembles the estimate you were given prior to the repairs. In case the two are different, you should ask for an explanation.
Don’t be shy about asking whether the garage offers a guarantees. Once you questions and concerns have been addressed, you can go for a test drive to ensure that everything is okay and nothing seems off. Don’t leave with your car if you are unsure or uncomfortable with something. The car should be in perfect condition because in any case, you will be paying for the repairs.
6. Pay for the repairs
When you are the one at fault during an accident, you will need to pay your deductible before the insurer authorizes repairs. When you are not at fault, your insurer should work with the insurer of the other party so that the latter can reimburse you for your deductible. Your insurer can decide to pay you directly instead of reimbursing you especially if it is a garage that they prefer. Within 30 days, your claim will be paid.
It may happen that you are unsatisfied with the repair work. What should you do then?
· First, contact the insurer and garage to explain why you are dissatisfied with the job
· Speak to the supervisor in case the insurance rep is not helping you with your issue
· If this is not working, file a complaint with the insurance department in your state or online
You can take it a step further and sue the insurance company. You can talk to your lawyer for that. Consider the legal fees involved. This escalation is only necessary when there is still substantial damage to your car after the repairs the insurance paid for.
Accidents and car wrecks are usually the ‘best’ times to evaluate how good your insurance company is in customer service and provision of services. If your needs were not adequately met then you may have to change your insurer.
Every person who has been involved in an accident will tell you that getting into a car accident and dealing with the insurance claims can be a frustrating process.
If you know what you expect and which steps to follow you will save yourself a whole lot of problems. In case you are not sure what you should, just communicate with your insurance company so that you are on the same page and that you do not receive any surprises.
If you are interested in getting your vehicle looked at and have more questions or want a 100% Free Quote Today, contact us directly by clicking here.