You pay regular car insurance premiums in exchange for some peace of mind. If you have an accident, you expect your insurer to pay for your property damage and all other allowable damages. This is true whether you sustain a serious injury or walk away from the accident without a scratch.
Car insurers may handle property claims differently than injury claims, though. If your insurer is not processing your claim or is otherwise not living up to its end of the bargain, you may need to act quickly to receive the payout you deserve.
The initial claim
After a collision, you should file a claim with your insurance provider. An adjuster will then investigate the accident to determine fault. If another driver is to blame for the crash, you may file a property damage claim with his or her insurance provider. Your insurance company may take care of this for you, though.
While there may be exceptions, many insurance companies turn a profit by collecting premiums and paying as little as possible for claims. Unlike an injury-based claim, where damages may be difficult to dispute, an insurer may question the nature or extent of your property damages. Therefore, you may want to seek legal counsel before talking to an insurance adjuster.
A total loss
If the cost of repairs to your vehicle exceed the value of your car, an insurance adjuster may find your vehicle to be a total loss. How much you receive from the insurer may depend on whether you have replacement coverage and the terms in your policy.
Ultimately, if your car is total loss, you may have to fight for what you deserve. Otherwise, you may end up with a settlement that only allows you to buy a worse car than you had before.