Dealing with Insurance after a Car Accident
Even though you pay them for their services, insurance companies do not act as your advocate after a car accident. Here's how to make certain you recover the full amount you are entitled to by law.
Determining FaultYour insurance company will review the details of the accident and determine if you, or another driver, is at fault. They often use the police report as a guideline. For this reason, we suggest obtaining a copy of that report for yourself and calling the police to put in the written record any information that could affect how they determine fault.
Repairing or Replacing a VehicleYour insurance company will help you tow your vehicle, find a repair shop or replace your car. Usually, these services are all given by pre-approved centers that have contracts with your insurance company. It is generally a good idea to get a few quotes for these repairs rather than just going with the first shop. If the cost of repairs and injury is higher than the other driver's policy limits, you may need to negotiate payments through your own insurance company. This is called uninsured motorist coverage.
Negotiating a Settlement AmountYour insurance company will negotiate a settlement with the other driver. This settlement will only include the repair or replacement amount of your car. They will not help you recover payment for anything else, including injuries or lost value, also known diminution in value. Under California law, you are entitled to payment for the reduction in value your car sustained as a result of the accident.
If your vehicle is totaled, make sure you are aware of your vehicle's actual value, not just the amount they give you. You can find this online through various tools. We recommend Kelley Blue Book.