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Car crashes are traumatic events, and filing insurance claims, getting the right repairs and working with insurance adjusters can seem more stressful than the accident itself. To ensure your case progresses smoothly, CarTek Collision explains the insurance claims process that drivers in Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, Pasadena and Glendale go through after an accident, and what happens when they need repairs. Read on to learn more:

1.      When should you file a claim?

Choosing to file an insurance claim depends on the coverage you carry and which party was at fault in an accident. Here are some tips to help you decide whether filing a claim is right for you:

Your Car is Damaged:

  • File a claim with the other driver’s insurance company under their liability possibility if the accident was clearly their fault.
  • If the accident was your fault, file a claim with your insurance provider under your collision policy.
  • If it is unclear which driver is at fault, or the fault is shared, file a claim with both your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company. You will receive coverage under one or both policies once fault is determined.
  • If your car was stolen, damaged by extreme weather, vandalized or damaged during circumstances unrelated to a collision, file a claim with your comprehensive insurance.
  • In cases where the other party is uninsured or underinsured, your insurance policy will cover the losses as long as you have coverage for uninsured/underinsured motorists.


You are Injured:

  • If you have MedPay or PIP insurance, file a claim with your provider even if you are not at fault. Other policies may cover all or part of your expenses, but filing a claim through MedPay or PIP will make sure you don’t get stuck with expensive medical bills while fault is sorted out.
  • If it’s the other driver’s fault or the fault is unclear, you can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company with their liability policy.
  • If the other driver is underinsured or uninsured, your insurance provider will cover damages, as long as you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.


No One was Injured, but Your Car Sustained Minor Damage:

  • When the other driver is at fault, your losses will be covered by their liability policy, and you will not be required to pay a deductible. Even when claims are minor, file it under the other party’s insurance coverage.
  • If you are at fault for minor damage, but you can live with it or the cost of fixing it is too high, consider not filing a claim. The reimbursement you receive could be less than the increases you could see in your insurance rates.


2. So, you’ve Decided to File an Insurance Claim. Here’s How:


Procedures for filing an insurance claim after a car accident vary from company to company, but here’s a general overview of how the process works:

Contact Your Insurance Company and be prepared to give them the following information:

  • Which covered car was involved
  • Who was driving the car
  • The time and location of the collision
  • A narrative of what happened during the accident and the severity of the damage sustained.
  • The insurance information and name of the other driver
  • Contact information and names of other parties involved, including potential witnesses.


Most insurance companies will request a police report number.

If you did not get a police report immediately after the accident, you can still go to your local police station to file one.

Follow up with Insurance Adjuster.

An insurance adjuster will be assigned to your claim, and will probably contact you for more information. When they do, avoid making assumptions or speculating what happened and stick to the facts as much as you can. If you have any photos from the scene or contact information of witnesses, be sure to provide those.

Keep in mind that these conversations are recorded and determine which party was at fault. If you are filing a personal injury claim with the other party’s insurance, consider contacting an attorney before this step.

Evaluation

Your insurance adjuster will evaluate your policy, what occurred, inspect vehicle damage and potentially make a payment.

Resolution

Your claims adjuster will approve a final payment. At this point, you will sign a release of liability, accept the payment as payment in full, and close the case.

3.     Whose Fault was the Accident?

Since the responsible driver’s insurance coverage are required to pay for the losses, determining fault matters a lot. These are some things to keep in mind regarding how fault is allocated:

The insurance adjusters will determine fault using statements from the drivers, witnesses, police reports and other damage.

If they disagree on fault, they will communicate to come to a final agreement. In rare cases, fault will be determined by a lawsuit of insurance companies cannot agree on fault.

Fault can be shared.

If you are found partially at fault, the amount you can recover from the other party’s insurance provider will be reduced in most cases.

Your insurance company will represent you in court.

If the other driver sues you in personal injury cases where you are at fault, your insurance company will represent you in court and any litigation to reach a settlement.

If the other driver is at fault, you will have to deal with their insurance company.

Assistance may be available from your insurance company or broker. However, you’ll end up filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance and get coverage under their policy.

Consider getting legal representation if the other driver is at fault.

If the other party sustained severe injury, their insurance company may be unwilling to pay some bills in full or in a timely manner. You should contact a personal injury attorney in these cases.

4.      How to Get Car Repairs after a Property Damage Claim

Your insurance provider will give you instructions for getting your vehicle fixed, but you should always be aware of the following factors and take them into consideration:

Refrain from getting any repairs before your insurance adjuster’s inspection.

The only exception is when delaying repairs will incur more damage. Even in those cases, you should discuss repairs with your provider first. Most insurers won’t pay for damage that was avoidable, so follow these steps in those scenarios:

  • Confirm that damages exist and need immediate repairs to prevent further repairs. Your company will provide instructions.
  • Document the damage that will be repaired with pictures.
  • Discuss the nature of repairs with the shop you choose. They will confirm the repairs you need to prevent more damage.
  • Keep any receipts and documentation.
  • Provide any information insurers request from you.


You can choose the repair shop you use.

Even though there may be advantages in using the repair shop an insurance company recommends, you’re never required to do so.

You do not have to accept parts from third-parties.

If there are cheaper replacement parts than the ones from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), your insurance provider may not be willing to cover the more expensive options. They are not required to pay for OEM parts, but they must give you the option to cover the extra costs associated with original parts.

You can appeal any decision the insurance companies make.

When you’re concerned about the way insurers handle your claim, you have several options at your disposal, including:

  • Contacting your insurance agent. They can act as an intermediary during negotiations with the insurance company. Since you’re their customer, they will most likely be willing to assist.
  • Contact your insurer.
  • Request an appraisal independent of the insurance company’s. Under most insurance policies, you are entitled to an independent appraisal if you oppose the company’s valuation of a totaled car.
  • Contact State regulators if you cannot reach an agreement with an insurance company.
  • Contact an attorney. You are entitled to legal representation during negotiations with an insurance company.


Need Post-Accident Repairs? CarTek Collision Has You Covered

When you need post-accident repairs or an appraisal after a car accident, CarTek Collision is in your corner. We work with all major insurance companies and provide top-notch service to drivers throughout Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, Pasadena and Glendale.

Make an appointment with us online, or call 323-255-7711 to speak with a representative from CarTek Collision.