How is the Value of Your Vehicle and the Cost of Repairs Assessed After a Crash?
While medical bills, wage loss and pain and suffering are usually the largest percentage of the compensation from a car crash claim, the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle can also be significant. It is also usually the first part of the claim against the at-fault party to be settled.
Below, learn more about how the cost of repairing your vehicle is determined, along with how insurance companies determine what they will pay out when a car has been totaled. It is important to make sure these figures are accurate – if your vehicle is totaled you need as much compensation as possible to help you get another one; if your vehicle can be fixed, you want to be sure the full cost is covered so you do not have to pay out of your own pocket to get it running again.
The licensed Minneapolis car accident lawyers at TSR Injury Law are dedicated to recovering maximum compensation for crash victims to help them cover medical costs, repair bills and other damages. Over more than 20 years, we have recovered more than $150 million on behalf of our clients.
Cost of Repairing Your Vehicle
The first decision is which insurance company will handle the property damage. The at-fault insurance carrier or your own? As a general rule, if the at-fault party accepts 100 percent fault, they can handle the property claim. If instead, the carrier is unknown (a hit-and-run crash or perhaps the driver was arrested, and his insurance is unknown) then you want to look to your own carrier. If you have comprehensive collision coverage, your insurance will pay for the repairs. However, if you do not have full coverage, then you need to find the other insurance carrier and clarify fault. This is a good time to hire an attorney to assist with this initial fault fight.
The next question is: Can your vehicle be fixed or is it totaled? If the cost of fixing your vehicle is less than 85 percent of the value of your car, the insurance company will usually want to fix the vehicle. If you use your own carrier, a deductible may apply. However, if the value of your vehicle and the cost of repairs are close to over 85 percent of the total value, the insurance company may declare your vehicle a total loss. If you have a dispute about this, our attorneys may be able to help you.
If the vehicle can be fixed, the third issue is where to get the repairs done. If you have heard you are required to go to the repair shop your insurance company selects, this is not true. You can choose where you take your vehicle to get repaired. That said, the insurance company may require you to get two estimates. You may want to do this anyway to be sure you are not overpaying for repairs. If you end up overpaying, the insurance company may not cover all of it.
The insurance adjuster assigned to your claim will review repair estimates and work with the repair shop to make sure only related damage is repaired. Insurance companies are notorious for paying out the least possible amount of compensation, which is why you should discuss any concerns you have with an experienced lawyer. Usually, if a vehicle can be fixed, it will be fixed. There is much more fighting over a totaled car’s worth. The first offer you receive from the adjuster on your totaled vehicle is often just a starting point. Your lawyer may be able to negotiate for more compensation.
Value of Your Vehicle After a Crash
How does the insurance adjuster determine the value of your vehicle when assessing if the vehicle is a total loss?
There are many factors to consider. They include:
- Make and model
- Damage/ wear and tear that existed before the most recent accident
- Has the vehicle had a prior crash
- Mileage as compared to other similarly aged vehicles
- Extra features in the vehicle, such as leather seats, upgraded stereo or remote starter
While consumers may rely on Kelley Blue Book, NADA and Edmund’s to determine a vehicle’s value, insurance companies may have their own proprietary valuation systems. These systems are likely to favor the interests of the insurance company over providing more compensation for consumers.
That is why you should not just take the insurance company’s word for it. Do your own research and talk to a lawyer. The attorneys at TSR Injury Law can discuss your situation in a free consultation at no risk to you.
Insurance companies are counting on accident victims being unsure of their options and desperate for compensation, but you can take steps to try to protect your best interests.
Need Help with Your Car Crash Claim? Call Today
Our trusted attorneys are to answer your questions and determine how else we may be able to assist you. There is no cost for an initial consultation and no upfront fees for taking your case or while we work on your case. You pay nothing unless we recover compensation for your damages.
Learn more about how our firm may be able to assist you by calling today or completing our Free Case Evaluation form. We have helped many car crash victims and have extensive knowledge of the many issues involved with these claims.
We are ready to take your call. No upfront fees. Phone: (612) TSR-TIME