What Are My Rights Regarding Property Damage?
When your vehicle is damaged in an accident, you have the right to have it repaired to the condition it was in prior to the crash. Though an insurance company may have chosen a repair shop, you are not required to use that particular shop. You may chose whichever repair shop you desire.
If another driver is at fault for the vehicle accident, you have the right to seek compensation for:
- A rental car while your vehicle is being repaired
- Any loss in the value of your vehicle resulting from the accident
- Towing and storage costs related to the accident
When your car is ‘totaled’
If the insurance company decides that the cost to repair your vehicle is more than the vehicle itself, this is considered a “total loss.” When this happens, the insurance company must compensate you for the fair market value of your vehicle within 30 days of the date you filed your claim. To determine the estimated amount for which you will be compensated, you can check with an online resource like Kelly’s Blue Book. The factors taken into consideration when determining this value include:
- Condition prior to the accident
- Options and features
- Maintenance completed prior to the accident
If your vehicle is deemed a “total loss,” you deserve to be fairly compensated for the fair market value of your vehicle. You also have the right to be reimbursed for:
- The sales tax on the fair market value
- Prorated annual tax and/or registration fees
- The cost of tag transfer
Your right to a rental
The law requires that the at-fault person’s insurance company provides you with a rental car while yours is being repaired or until you receive a check for the fair market value of your vehicle. If theinsurance company takes time accepting liability for the accident, which they often do, you have the right to be compensated for each day you are without a vehicle.
Fixing your vehicle
A majority of accident claims are resolved by dealing directly with the insurance company, either your own insurance or the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If you use your own insurance to fix your vehicle, you must pay your deductible up front, and seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s insurance.
If the at-fault driver is underinsured or not insured at all, you must get your car fixed through your Under-insured Motorist Coverage (UIM) or Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM). In this case, we do not recommend attempting to collect from the at-fault driver, as this may affect your personal injury claim.
When you do not want it totaled
If the insurance decides to total you car, but you want to fix it, unfortunately this is not up to you. The law states that the insurance company can choose whether to repair your vehicle or declare it a total loss and compensate you fairly. A few insurance companies will allow you to keep your vehicle by reducing what they pay you by the “salvage Value.” This allows you to keep the vehicle and recover compensation for your car.
Motor vehicle accidents are frustrating and time consuming. If you live in the Boise area and you or a family member has been hurt in an automobile, motorcycle or truck accident, please contact our Boise personal injury lawyers. We know the law, have more than 50 years of experience in dealing with insurance companies and can ensure you are fairly compensated for the accident.
Craig Swapp & Associates
One Call, That’s All
2939 N. Cole Rd.
Boise, ID 83704