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Car Accidents

Tips for Handling Property Damage Insurance Claims

Posted Oct 12, 2021 by Matt Boulton

If you get involved in a car accident that leaves your vehicle undriveable, it can leave you in limbo. Indeed, you need to figure out ways to your job, appointments, and other plans that you have. The costs of the damage can add unneeded hassle, as the average car accident that results in no injuries costs around $8900. Further, the average American only has $10,000 in their checking account. The extent of the damage caused by the accident may lead to you having to pay out of pocket. Learn more about filing property damage insurance claims.

Filing a Property Damage Insurance Claim

Here are the steps you should take when filing a property damage insurance claim.

Report the Damage to Your Insurance Company

No matter how the damage happens, you should call your insurance company as soon as possible. Even if you were not responsible for the accident and plan to file through the other party’s insurance company, let your insurance company know. There are some cases where they can work with the other party’s insurance company on your behalf.

File a Police Report

Filing a police report is a legal requirement if you’re involved in an accident that results in an injury or extensive property damage. Your insurance company may ask for a copy of the police report as well, so even if the accident isn’t damaging enough to fill one out, it can still be very useful for you and make things less of a hassle down the line.

File the Property Damage Insurance Claims

There are multiple ways to file a claim, be it call, email, fax, or through your insurance company’s mobile app. If you are calling the other party’s insurance company, you can call that company’s claim number. There are multiple types of claims you may have to file depending on the type of accident.

  • If the damage to your vehicle wasn’t caused by a collision, you need to file a comprehensive claim with your own insurance company.
  • If the other driver was at fault for the damage, then you should file a claim with their insurance company. The other driver’s liability insurance will cover repairs up to the limit of their policy.
  • If the accident is your fault, your collision insurance will cover the vehicle’s damage.
  • If the fault is unclear, then you should file claims with both insurance companies. An insurance adjuster will investigate the accident to determine who is at fault. Indiana follows 51% comparative negligence laws. This means you receive greater compensation if the other driver is 51% or more responsible for the accident.
  • If a driver without insurance hits you, the uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance still covers you.
  • If you are the victim of a hit & run, you should file a claim with your insurance company for either collision or uninsured/underinsured driver coverage.

When filing your claim, ask if a rental car will be reimbursed by your policy. Use this if filing with your own insurance company for collision or comprehensive coverage. If the other driver caused the damage, then that driver’s liability coverage pays for the costs of your rental car.

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Work With the Insurance Adjuster

After you file a claim, an adjuster will be assigned to your case. They will either review the damage on their own, or take the car to a repair shop that can accurately assess the damage. You should provide your insurance adjuster with all the documentation and information you have. Don’t speculate about anything. Your adjuster will come up with a settlement and a determination of fault.

Do not make any repairs until you meet with the insurance adjuster, else they won’t be able to determine fault or estimate the cost of repairs for your vehicle. The only time you should get your car repaired before the insurance adjuster arrives is if waiting results in more damage. In this case, make sure to call your insurance company to confirm the car needs immediate repair. Then, document all steps in the process of the repair. Make sure to take pictures of the exact damage, and keep all receipts and documents relevant to the repair.

Vehicle Repair

Your insurance company may recommend shops for you. However, they can’t force you to go to the shops that they recommend. If you do use a shop recommended by the insurance company, it’s likely the company pays the shop directly. Then, you have an easier time having additional damage approved. Most insurers only authorize after-market parts to repair your vehicle. So, if you want original manufacturer parts, you may have to pay the difference.

Finalize Your Insurance Payout

Once your vehicle receives repairs, your insurance sends a check to the body shop or to you. Regardless, you need to sign a release accepting the payment and confirming that you won’t pursue any further claims.

Learn More About Property Damage Insurance Claims

If you don’t believe you receive fair treatment, and your attempts to appeal their decisions fail, file a complaint with your state’s insurance regulator.

Matt Boulton

Author Matt Boulton

Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 25 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana. He designed his firm for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.

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