Vehicle Damage

Someone crashed into your car. You need to have a working car. What are you going to do?

The first call should be to your car insurance.  You are their customer.  You should find the most cooperative reception there. The other guy may be at fault, but that insurance company may take a while to decide that. The best way to go is through your own collision coverage. If the other guy’s insurance accepts responsibility, they will repay your insurance company for the repair cost. If the repair cost is more than the value of the car, you will instead get paid the value of the car.  Yes, you have a deductible, which means that your insurance will pay you what you are due minus your deductible, but the other insurance company will pay you the deductible if and when they decide their driver was at fault. The important thing is to get you a working car as soon as possible.

Rental car?  Hopefully you had rental insurance. Again, working with your insurance company should be easier. Otherwise, if the other insurance company agrees that their driver was at fault, they will pay for the cost of a rental while your car is repaired, or for a few days after they pay you the total loss amount. However, how long a rental is provided is often a source of dispute.  The insurance companies are very strict about not paying for more days of rental than they consider necessary. By that they mean, not according to your convenience, but as soon as the promptly started repair is completed, or a day or three after they give you a check for the total loss.

In any event, as an aside, please be aware that a disabled vehicle parked at a towing facility is commonly sitting there at a rate of $30.00 a day or more. You can assume that the insurance company, whichever insurance company, will resist paying that bill except for a short time before repairs. To make matters worse, the towing company can hold your car until its bill is paid.

By:  Peter G. Webb  

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