What to Do If Your Car Is Damaged in an Accident
Car accidents can be a huge hassle! You have to take care of your injuries, some of which require significant time visiting doctors and can affect you for a long time. Also, depending on the type of accident, it is very likely that you will have to deal with damage to your car. This damage can be anything from a minor scuff to a completely totaled car. No matter the degree of damage, having a broken car can be a major inconvenience to your life.
Should I use my own insurance or the other driver’s insurance for car repairs?
When you choose to address the damage to your car, you have two choices: use your own insurance or use the insurance of the “at-fault driver”. There are pros and cons to each option. Hopefully as you continue to read you will be able to decide which option is best for you in your situation.
Using Your Own Insurance
There are a few reasons it would be a good choice to have your car repair paid for by your own insurance. Most likely you will have a better, friendlier experience when you interact with your own insurance carrier. This is because they have the incentive of trying to keep you as a customer. Therefore, they may be more responsive to your requests regarding your car repair and also just answering the phone or returning your calls in general.
One reason not to use your own insurance is the fact that you will need to pay the deductible up-front. Although it is important to note that if there is a settlement with the “at-fault driver’s” insurance or if they accept responsibility for the accident, you will likely get the deductible money back. Some insurance companies are even waiving the deductible requirements if the other insurance company accepts responsibility. However, some deductibles can be high and you may have to wait to get that money back on a repaired vehicle. On a totaled vehicle, they may deduct your deductible from the amount they are giving you on your totaled car. If your deductible is $1,000, that is a lot of money to be waiting on.
Another big concern is whether or not car insurance premiums will increase if they use their own insurance for the repair. It should be comforting to note that insurance companies should not raise their premiums when the accident was not your fault. There is a Utah statute that addresses this issue. Please contact our lawyer for more information on this issue with respect to your car repair.
Using the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance
A major advantage of using the At-fault driver’s insurance is that you do not have to pay the deductible or wait for the deductible to be refunded. This is a particularly good option if you do not have the cash available to pay your deductible. I know it is difficult to come up with an extra $250, $500 or $1000 or whatever amount your vehicle deductible might be.
Also, if you do not have collision coverage on your insurance plan this may be your only option for getting your car repaired. Some people do not have full coverage on their cars or trucks. This is often when they have paid off the car or truck completely and are not required to have comprehensive or collision coverage by the lender anymore. I see this frequently on older cars and trucks that are also not worth a substantial amount. However, this can leave you exposed and solely relying on the other driver’s insurance for repairs.
One of the biggest reasons people choose not to use the other driver’s insurance is the fact that it can takes days or even weeks for the insurance carrier to accept fault for the accident. That means that your car repair will not be paid for until they have accepted that they are responsible to pay for those repairs. Oftentimes, the other insurance company will want to get the police report and talk to witnesses before deciding on responsibility for the crash. If they cannot reach a witness or driver, this can delay things significantly. This can be a major disadvantage if you need your car repaired quickly.
There is not a right way or a wrong way to get your car repaired. It is important to look at the pros and cons of each option and weigh which alternative is better for you and your situation. What works for another person may not be the best for you. If this or any other decision you have to make post-car accident seems too overwhelming, contact Symco Injury Law to help you decide which choices will be best for you.