What do I do after an accident when my car is in the shop or totaled? | Craig Swapp & Associates
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What do I do after an accident when my car is in the shop or totaled?

Getting the vehicle repaired

You always have the right to have the repairs performed at a shop that you choose. The insurance company never has the right to force you to one of their preferred repair shops. Sometimes, the initial repair estimate is less than the amount that it ultimately takes to get the repairs finished. This is common. The best way to approach this is to have the repair facility contact the insurance adjuster and request a supplemental inspection. Usually, this is done during the process of the repairs. There is often damage that is hidden other otherwise not known until the vehicle is torn down and repairs are started. The repair facility and the insurance adjuster will usually be able to work out the supplemental repairs.

Rental vehicles

While your vehicle is being repaired, you may be in need of a rental vehicle. If you are at fault, your insurance will only pay for a rental vehicle in the event you have rental reimbursement on your policy. If you were not at fault, and your vehicle is still drivable, the at-fault insurance will generally pay for a rental vehicle for the period of time that your vehicle is in the repair shop. The rental vehicle should be roughly the equivalent size and class of the vehicle that was damaged. Sometimes this is not always possible. And sometimes, there are reasons why a rental isn’t appropriate, such as a situation where a driver is under the minimum age to rent a vehicle. In such a situation, the at-fault insurance company should pay for the loss of use of the vehicle instead, which is roughly the same amount they would have paid if a rental vehicle was appropriate. If your vehicle is not drivable, the at-fault insurance company should pay for a rental vehicle from the date of the accident until the time your vehicle has been repaired. If your vehicle is a total loss, the at-fault insurance company should pay for a rental vehicle from the date of the accident until the date they extend to you a fair market value settlement offer. Usually, it takes a day or two for the insurance company to arrange for a rental vehicle so they will often allow a couple of extra days after the date they extend their total loss offer. Please realize that the insurance company will not be responsible for paying for a rental beyond that period of time. Also, don’t fall for the trap that the rental car company likes to set for you. They always want you to keep their vehicle for as much time as possible, and are happy to charge you for the extra days that you keep it. Don’t ever give the rental car company you debit card number because they will deduct the amount owed directly from your checking account.

Craig Swapp & Associates
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