After a car accident, you’re suddenly given a lengthy and foreboding to-do list. It can get overwhelming looking through it and thinking of all the phone calls and paperwork you’re going to need to do. But one of the first issues you’ll have to deal with after a collision is getting your car repaired or replaced. Here’s some tips on maximizing the amount you recover.
Some people don’t get their car repaired and instead are willing to live with the damage. This can ultimately lead to them losing out on thousands of dollars. Often times the body shop doesn’t know the extent of the damages until they start taking it apart. If you rely on the initial estimate to accept the settlement for the body damage, you may be driving a car with significantly more damage and the value of your car will suffer more than the initial estimate.
If your vehicle has special wheels, performance parts, or accessories that aren’t listed as part of the original vehicle, the insurance company won’t consider those in valuing your car. Make sure you let the insurance adjuster know about the upgrades and provide receipts whenever possible.
Depending on the insurance policy, you may be entitled to recover for damage to your property that was in the vehicle at the time of the collision. This may include clothes, computers, GPS devices, phones, etc. Let the insurance adjuster know about these devices and provide receipts whenever possible.
The insurance industry uses multiple databases to search for the value of your vehicle (if it’s going to be totaled). If you can find a vehicle that’s comparable to yours with the same year, model, mileage, and options listed for sale, you may be able to get the adjuster to increase the amount they offer if their estimate appears low.
You’re allowed to take your car to any body shop you choose. The insurance company cannot dictate where you take your vehicle, so make sure to choose shop that you feel comfortable working with.
Insurance companies hate to offer any compensation for diminished value of a vehicle that has been in a collision, but Washington law recognizes it as a compensable damage. Generally, you will need to obtain a report from a vehicle appraiser to get the insurance company to pay for diminished value. If your vehicle’s a very common make and model, it may not be worth the cost of the appraisal. However, if you have a specialty vehicle or classic car then it may be worth the expense.
Need help with your car accident claim? We can help. Elsner Law Firm specializes in car accident or collision cases, whichever term you prefer, and we can help you get through the hairy details. Give us a call today.