Skip to main content
car-repair-720

Nobody ever wants to get in a car accident. Unfortunately, in a lifetime, the average driver is involved in three to four accidents. You can certainly reduce your risk of an accident by practicing safe driving techniques. However, even the safest drivers will likely find themselves involved in an accident at some point. Since it will probably happen eventually, it certainly doesn't hurt to know what to do after an accident.

There are several steps that need to be taken after an accident, especially if you were injured. However, if nobody was hurt in the accident, then your biggest concern is probably about how you are going to get the money to repair your vehicle. Here are a few tips to get your car repaired quickly or get the cash you need to buy a new one.

Filing the Claim With Your Own Insurance Company

When you are involved in an accident where you were the at-fault driver, your only option for compensation is going to be by filing a claim with your insurance company. This option might not be available to you either, though. If you only have liability coverage for your vehicle, your insurance company will only pay for damages done to other parties. You will be on your own for damages that you suffered personally.

If nobody was hurt in the accident, then your biggest concern is probably about how you are going to get the money to repair your vehicle.

In situations where you weren't the at-fault party, though, you have options. You can choose to go through the at-fault driver's insurance, but it might take a little while to get the money you need for repairs. That is because the other party's insurance needs to make a liability determination before they will pay you. This determination can take time, and meanwhile, you are without a vehicle.

While you may think that filing a claim with your own insurance company when another driver is at-fault is a bad idea that is going to raise your premiums, think again. When another driver is at fault for the accident, your premiums will not go up. The only downside of filing with your insurance company is that you might have to pay your deductible. Most people have a $500 deductible on their policy.

However, the $500 that you pay to your insurance company will really just be a loan if the other driver is at-fault for the accident. Once the fault is proven, your insurance company will essentially step into your shoes as a claimant. They will file a claim against the at-fault driver's insurance to recover the money they gave to you for your claim. Once they get paid, they will refund you the $500.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Many insurance companies won't even require you to pay the deductible in these cases if they feel confident in the fault of the other driver and their ability to get the money back from the other driver's insurer.

Take the Cash

In cases where your car has been damaged but is not totaled, you have the option not to fix your car and to instead pocket the cash. If you don't particularly care how your car looks and it is still drivable and able to pass inspection, you are not required to get it repaired.

The insurance company owes you for the cost of the damage done. They are not paying you for repairs. That means they have to pay you whether you get your car fixed up or not. You may have other financial costs that the money could help with more. In an accident of this type, where nobody was hurt, the whole thing could feel like a blessing if you don't care about the cosmetics of your vehicle.

There are, however, situations where this option is not available to you. When you are leasing a vehicle, part of your lease contract may require you to repair any damage done. You also have to be aware that if you do not get the repairs, then your insurance won't pay out for further damage to that area of your car if you are involved in another accident.

Totaled Doesn't Always Mean Undrivable

When damage to your vehicle is severe enough that it would cost more money to repair it than replace it, the insurance company will label the car as totaled and pay you the value of your vehicle based on comparable automobiles for sale in your area.

However, just because a vehicle costs more to repair than it is worth, doesn't make it undrivable. The cosmetic damage could simply be high enough that it costs too much to repair. In this case, you could take the money offered by the insurance company, minus the salvage cost. Salvage cost is money that the insurance company feels it could get for your vehicle after stripping it for parts.

You can have them take out the salvage cost and give you the money. You can then keep driving your beat-up car and use the money for something else.

Hire a Lawyer

When dealing with insurance companies hiring a lawyer is always a good option to keep in mind. They can help you in many areas of dealing with insurance, from helping you to prove fault, to helping you fight an offer that you don't believe is fair for the cost of your vehicle. When you have been in a car crash, a car accident attorney from Los Angeles will collect all available evidence and present your case to an insurance company while negotiating a settlement.

Nathalie Nicole Smith states that working hard and staying true to yourself are sure ways to win in life.

Contact a car accident attorney for a free consultation to discuss your options after a wreck. A competent attorney will know how to deal with insurance companies and get you an offer with which you are happy.