No one can ever be prepared for a car accident. They happen out of the blue, leaving victims with many questions. One such question may be: "How long do I have to repair my car after an accident?" Insurance companies often cover the expenses of having a vehicle repaired, but they may not do this if the accident has not been reported within a reasonable time.
The car accident attorneys at The Keating Law Firm LTD, we have the know-how to help victims deal with the aftermath of a car accident. Victims must often deal with many things and dealing with insurance companies while recovering from injuries need not be one of them.
We can help victims of car accidents find the best solution for repairing their car and help them avoid missing any deadlines, so they never have to pay for damages to their car outright. Contact us today for a free consultation!
In the meantime, drivers can have one of their most pressing questions answered. Here is all there is to know about having a car repaired after a car accident.
Understanding the Difference Between Reporting a Car Accident and Submitting a Claim
Reporting or filing a claim with an insurer entails informing an insurance carrier of the details of the incident. This involves letting them know that the incident has occurred, where it occurred when it occurred, and why it occurred.
On the other hand, making insurance claims means letting an insurance company know that a victim of a car accident wishes to utilize their insurance coverage to pay for the repair for their vehicle, cover medical bills related to their personal injury, to pay for additional related expenses, such as the cost of having the damaged vehicle towed.
It's essential to understand these differences because insurance companies often have different reporting timelines for reporting and making claims. It is advisable to report car accidents to an insurer within 24 hours of the accident to avoid having any car insurance claims rejected.
Must an Accident Be Reported to an Insurance Company Within a Certain Period?
The truth is that insurance providers have different schedules or timelines for reporting accidents or making claims. Following the crash, it's advisable to call an insurance carrier as quickly as possible. It is preferable to begin the claims process sooner rather than later, as delaying it may result in the insurance company denying the claim.
Additionally, victims can have their cars repaired faster, and the facts of the accident are still vivid and can be related to the insurance company more accurately. After calling their insurer and submitting a claim, claimants are allocated a claims adjuster or an insurance agent.
According to their insurance policy, this claims adjuster is there to walk claimants through the procedure and let them know whether their coverage has any time limits.
How Long Do Car Insurance Companies Take to Repair Vehicles?
The length of time required to fix a vehicle after a collision depends on the angle at which the car was hit and the speed it was traveling during the collision. Additionally, the area where the collision occurred and how much damage resulted from the collision also affect the amount of time required to repair it.
The type of vehicle and the expertise of the person repairing it also play a part. Therefore, it is advisable that claimants request that a reputable repair shop be used for having their car fixed and to get a repair estimate beforehand.
It is important to remember that not all cars are repaired. If a car insurance company notices that it costs more for the car to be repaired than the amount it was worth before the accident occurred or the salvage value, they declare the car to be a total loss and pay claimants out for the car's value instead of having the car fixed.
Is a Car Owner Obligated to Have Their Car Repaired After an Accident?
Many are hesitant to have their car fixed if the damages are minor or they do not have enough funds on hand. This may be acceptable if they own the vehicle. However, those who have a loan or lien on it and pay monthly car payments may not be allowed to avoid repairing their vehicle.
This is because the car is owned by the bank or financial institution from which the money was borrowed and does not belong to the driver.
Even though a driver may be making monthly payments to pay off the loan eventually, the car does not belong to them until it has been paid off entirely, and banks need their vehicles to be in perfect working order.
When Drivers Do Not Need to File an Auto Insurance Claim
It is typical for a motorist to choose not to notify his or her insurance company about an accident. After all, this can prevent an increase in insurance prices.
It may even be a minor fender bender that many insurers don't cover. In these cases, drivers may not wish to report the insurance claim if they are able to pay for having the car repaired.
While this may be acceptable for minor accidents that do not involve another vehicle, things can become a lot trickier if there is another driver involved, in which case filing an insurance claim may be unavoidable.
Additionally, an insurance company often enlists the help of a reputable body shop to ensure that the car is in good working condition, which can prevent any increase in future repair costs if another incident were to occur involving the same car.
Can Drivers Repair Their Own Vehicles?
Drivers who are skilled at car repairs may be wondering if they can handle the car repairs themselves. This is generally acceptable if the car is free of liens or loans, then the driver is able to attempt to repair the damage to their vehicle themselves.
However, drivers are not advised to attempt this without prior knowledge or extensive damage, as they can cause more harm than good to their own car, which may also affect their liability coverage.
In both these cases, it is advisable to take the car to an auto shop to have it repaired by professionals. Additionally, certain repairs need specific products and machinery, and car body shops often discover concealed damage after they begin working on the vehicle.
If there is a lien on the vehicle, drivers may not attempt to repair any damage without enlisting the help of a body shop or auto repair shop.
Is It Possible to Lose Car Insurance Coverage for Refusing to Have a Car Fixed?
More often than not, as part of a car's full coverage or collision coverage, the insurance company requests repairs. If a car has already been damaged and is not fixed, the car insurance company may not want to continue covering it and may drop physical damage coverage, as there is a greater chance that it can become damaged again in the future.
A second collision can exacerbate any current damages, and the insurance company does not want to have to pay out a more significant sum when this happens, especially if they have already paid a driver out to have the initial damages repaired.
The car insurance company may force drivers to withdraw car damage coverage from a car that hasn't been fixed after a claim for the expenses to have the car repaired has been paid. Therefore, it is advisable always to repair the car after an accident to avoid losing an insurance policy.
Going Through the Other Party's Insurance Company
A liability determination must first be conducted to obtain insurance claim money from the other driver's insurance. If the other driver accepts responsibility, things move along more quickly. However, victims must wait for evidence, such as a police report, before making a claim if they do not.
The other driver's insurer can take several weeks to acknowledge that their client was to blame for the collision. However, once they do, the benefit of taking this approach is that a driver no longer bears any deductible costs on their own auto insurance.
Under the tort law, they must provide the other driver with the money to repair their vehicle. By definition, a tort is a civil wrongdoing that occurs when two people do not have a legal arrangement, yet one has a legal obligation to the other.
Need an Auto Accident Attorney? Contact The Keating Firm LTD Today!
Car owners who have been in a car accident before know how stressful it can be dealing with insurance providers and auto body shops when having their vehicles repaired after a collision. This is why The Keating Firm LTD can help victims handle their claims and ensure that they report and make claims in a timely manner.
Because every accident is unique with its own set of facts and details, it can be difficult for a victim to ascertain what their legal rights are. At The Keating Firm LTD, we treat our clients with the utmost respect and confidentiality, so drivers can trust us to help them navigate the law regarding their car accident claims. Contact us today for a free case evaluation and let us get to work on that car accident claim.