When you’re involved in an auto accident, filing a property damage claim should be one of the first actions you take. The insurers will to try and determine who was at fault. In simple cases, such as rear-end collisions, the fault is usually easy to determine and the claim can move forward relatively quickly. When the case is more complex, such as a crash at an intersection, you may have to use your coverage to get your car back on the road. If you’re not the one at fault, you can pursue a property claim against the other driver. While the exact property claim process varies by insurer and case, we’ve provided a basic idea of what to expect should you choose to file.
Vehicle damage and value assessment
The insurer should arrange for an adjuster to assess the damage to your car, or ask that you take it to an approved facility for an estimate within days of your accident. Generally, if the repair estate cost is over 75% of your vehicle’s value, the car is totaled and you receive your car’s value, less any deductible you have.
Your car’s value is based on the average going price for the same or a similar vehicle in your area. Check out other price listings for similar cars, such as on online auto classifieds, to confirm your insurer’s estimated value for your car is accurate.
Decision time: keep the money or go for repairs
When you’re trying to decide what to do with your car, always consider its value and what types of repairs it needs first. You may be able to take the repair money from the insurer but junk your car anyway.
If the car is considered totaled, you might have the option of taking the maximum repair or total value amount the insurer is willing to pay and keeping the car yourself. Note that if you do this, the insurer may have to have a salvage title issued for the car, which indicates it’s been deemed a complete loss at one point.
Request a rental
You can speak to the insurer about a rental car after your accident, as it may be covered by your policy. Explore all avenues before renting a car yourself to ensure you get any reimbursement or coverage you’re entitled to.
Overall, when it comes to car damage from an accident, remember that you are supposed to mitigate your damages when possible. This duty includes contacting the insurer as soon as you can and providing the property damage-related documents that they request. If you have further questions or are considering filing a case with a lawyer, Parnall Law Firm has helped thousands of clients get the compensation they deserve. If you’re in New Mexico, we encourage you to contact us today.