Car Insurance 101: What to Expect AFTER an Accident

After you are in a car accident, the dust settles, and you take care of any possible injuries, chances are you are still left with a bunch of questions.

“When should I notify my insurance company?”

“Will insurance cover all the damages?”

“Can I use any repair facility?”

How long will it take to get my car repaired?”

These are just a few of the most common questions people have concerning dealing with their insurance company after an accident but have no fear, we are here, to help your mind clear! (don’t worry, the rest won’t rhyme…)

Below is a simple but answer filled tutorial on what to expect from your insurance company after an accident and a little about what you should do as well:

  • When you should call your insurance company-The bottom line is, you should contact your insurance company about the accident as soon as you are able. They can explain your coverages and get the process started of getting your car repaired.
  • Your deductible (how much you may have to pay out of pocket)-Your DEDUCTIBLE represents how much you will pay out of pocket. In a car accident, that coverage is called COLLISION. If you have a $500 deductible and the damage to your vehicle is $5000, then the insurance company will pay $4500 and you will pay $500 for the repair. (note: if you are not at fault, you may likely end up not paying anything at all or at least be reimbursed for any amount you do pay.)
  • Choosing a facility to repair your vehicle-You will have the option to choose any repair facility to fix your vehicle, but the insurance company may provide you with a list of PREFERRED PROVIDERS. These are facilities that are approved by the insurance company as having a quality reputation and it is likely that the process of working with the insurance company will be more streamlined as a result of being a part of this program. 
  • How long will it take to get your car back? –Obviously this depends on how much damage was done to your vehicle and how busy the repair facility is. You may have limitations on coverages such as rental car coverage, so make sure to go over those limits with the repair facility to ensure they can fix and return your vehicle within the allotted time. Most repair facilities can handle major collision repair within a 7-10-day period. 
  • Whose insurance policy will pay for my damages? –The answer to this question is simple: The insurance company whose driver was found to be at fault will be responsible for the damages done to the vehicles. Even if you were not at fault, your insurance company may pay for your damages and seek reimbursement from the other company after the damage is repaired. This is done to help expedite your getting back on the road with your vehicle as soon as possible.

While most claims are straight forward, the process can be lengthened if there is a dispute as to who is at fault or if one of the drivers has been unresponsive in reporting the claim to their insurance company. If you are involved in an auto accident, make sure to speak with your insurance agent asap to go over the claims process and your individual car insurance coverages so you know exactly what to expect during the claims process.

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