Many people mistakenly think that there are no important decisions to make when filing a claim for vehicle repairs after a negligent driver causes their crash. However, you have a number of options for obtaining this compensation. Like other decisions in life, you need to weigh the pros and cons when deciding which option is best for you.
Types of Insurance Coverage for Your Property Damage Claim When a Negligent Driver Caused Your Car Accident
A claim to have your vehicle fixed or repaired after a car accident is the property damage portion of your claim. It includes not only the damage to your automobile, but also your property in your vehicle that was damaged. In Georgia, all motorists are required to have a minimum of $25,000 in property damage liability insurance coverage to pay for property damage they cause in a wreck. You have these options for filing a claim when someone else caused the crash:
- Negligent driver. If the negligent driver has the required liability insurance coverage, you can file a property damage claim with his insurance company.
- Your own insurance company. You may decide to file a claim under your collision insurance coverage if you purchased this optional insurance. It can help pay to repair or replace your vehicle, whether the other driver or you were at fault in causing the crash.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Filing an Insurance Claim Under Your Collision Coverage?
Whether or not you plan to file a claim with your own insurance company, you want to notify the company of your automobile accident as soon as possible. Reporting your crash is simply that; it is not filing a claim. It is important to do so because your insurance contract most likely requires you to do this and will require you to report the accident by a certain deadline in order to file a claim. You do not want to miss this important deadline in case you later decide you need to file a claim—either for property damages or for injuries if you discover that you suffered injuries.
There are distinct advantages to filing a claim with your own insurance company. If you were not at fault, you should not let unfounded fears that your insurance rates will increase determine your decision. Reasons you may choose to file a claim with your own company if you have collision coverage include:
- Better customer service. Because you are a paying customer, your insurance company has some incentive to keep your business and may provide you with better customer service.
- Quicker resolution of your claim. The negligent driver’s insurance company could deny liability for compensating you or could argue about the final settlement amount—delaying the payment of your claim. If you were injured in the crash, the insurance company may be unwilling to pay your property damage claim until your entire claim is resolved—which could not happen for months or longer after your accident. Filing a claim with your insurance company may result in your claim for your car repairs or replacement being settled much more quickly.
There are a few disadvantages to filing a claim under your collision coverage with your own insurance company. Some of them are the following:
- Deductible. Before your insurance company will pay to repair or replace your vehicle, you must pay your deductible, which is typically $500 or more. You will incur this as an out-of-pocket expense. You would have to try to recover this cost from the negligent driver’s insurance company or see if your insurance company would recover it for you when it seeks reimbursement for your claim from the driver’s company.
- Car rental fees. You are only entitled to be reimbursed for your car rental costs if you have this coverage under your insurance policy. Otherwise, you will have to pay these costs yourself and try to file a claim for them with the negligent driver’s insurance company.
Why You May Want to File a Property Damage Claim With the Negligent Driver’s Insurance Company
Even though you have the option of filing a claim with your own insurance company, the negligent driver is responsible for compensating you for your car repairs or replacement, other property damages, and your car rental fees. The advantage of filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company instead of your own is that you would not incur any out-of-pocket expenses, such as a deductible or car rental fees.
There are definite drawbacks to filing a property damage claim with the other driver’s insurance company. Some reasons you may decide against this choice include:
- Delayed payment. The negligent driver’s insurance company will most likely complete a more thorough investigation of the accident, and it could take longer to settle your claim—even if you are not making a claim for personal injuries. If you are like most people, you may depend on your vehicle to get you where you need to go and want to get it repaired or replaced quickly.
- Poor customer service. The insurance company’s goal is to deny or reduce your claim, and its employees may have no incentive or desire to provide you with quality customer service.
Your property damage portion of your claim could be substantial, and you could find it challenging to obtain the full value of your claim from your own insurance company. That is why you want an experienced car accident attorney to guide you through the claim process and negotiate your settlement for you. Brauns Law is here to answer your questions and negotiate your settlement with both insurance companies if necessary. Start an online chat now to schedule your free consultation.