Getting into a car accident can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. Your top priority is making sure everyone involved is safe and unharmed. But soon after, questions about how to get your damaged vehicle repaired start flooding in. Will insurance cover the costs? What is the process for filing a claim? Who determines fault and liability for repairs? The answers to these questions depend on the specific circumstances of your accident. With some knowledge about the process, you can make informed choices and get your car back on the road smoothly.
Contacting Your Insurance Provider
The quickest way to repair your car is generally through your insurance company. You must contact your insurance company, report the incident, and set up a claim to do this. Provide details like when and where it occurred, a description of the damage, and if any other vehicles or property were involved. Your insurer will likely ask for photos showing the damage, so try to document this evidence. If a 3rd party was at fault for the wreck, your insurance company will seek reimbursement from that person’s insurance company.
Filing a Claim With the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance
If another driver was deemed responsible for the crash, you can file a third-party claim with their auto insurance provider. Gather details like their name, contact information, insurance company, and the policy number. When submitting your claim, provide this information along with any evidence and paperwork about the accident. Their insurer will determine the estimated repair costs for your vehicle’s damages. The adjuster will send a property damage appraiser out to look at your vehicle, but sometimes, the estimate from the auto body shop will suffice.
Using Your Collision Insurance Coverage
If the accident was your fault or the other driver lacked sufficient insurance, you can file a first-party claim through your collision coverage. This will pay for repairs regardless of fault after you cover your deductible. Review your policy to see what is covered. Items like rental car reimbursement may be included. Discuss repair options with your claims adjuster and provide documentation to support your needs. However, filing a claim with your insurer could increase your premium at renewal time. So, paying out of pocket for minor damage could save on insurance costs.
Choosing the Right Repair Shop
Insurance companies often recommend specific auto body shops, but you have the final say. Do some research to pick a shop you are comfortable with. Look for these indicators of a quality repair facility:
- Certifications from organizations like Assured Performance Networks indicate advanced training and expertise.
- Positive online reviews mention attention to detail, quality artistry, and good customer service.
- Proof of up-to-date equipment, training, and amenities. Modern repair technologies can make a difference.
- Focus on your vehicle make – dealership body shops specialize in specific car models.
- Reasonable pricing in line with industry averages. Get multiple estimates.
Documentation is Critical
Throughout the claims process, be sure to keep thorough documentation. Save all repair invoices and receipts, take detailed photos of the damage, get accident reports, and keep a paper trail of all communication. This documentation protects you if any disputes arise with insurance companies. It also provides evidence if you need to negotiate for additional repairs or prove your vehicle’s pre-accident value. Tracking expenses accurately also ensures you are fully reimbursed for your rental car, medical costs, lost wages, or other accident-related costs according to your coverage. Documentation gives you leverage.
Diminished Car Value Claims
Even after being wholly repaired, a vehicle in an accident often loses some of its resale value. This diminished value can be claimed if the accident was not your fault. Research the pre-accident value of your car and get estimates of its current value, accounting for mileage and condition. Present this documentation to the at-fault driver’s insurer when negotiating your settlement.
What is the process for getting my car repaired through insurance after an accident in Oklahoma?
The process involves filing a claim with your insurance company or the at-fault driver's insurer. Provide details about the accident and get a repair estimate. The insurance company will send an adjuster to inspect damages. After reviewing, the insurer will provide a repair estimate and settlement offer. You can choose a repair shop and authorize repairs. Keep documentation about costs.
Can I choose where to get my car repaired after an accident?
Yes, you have the right to choose the repair facility for your vehicle. Insurance companies may recommend partner body shops, but you are not obligated to use them. Do research to pick a shop you're comfortable with. Ensure they have training, certification, good reviews, and experience with your vehicle make and model.
How do I claim diminished value on my car after it was repaired?
You can claim diminished value if the accident was not your fault. Gather evidence of your car's pre-accident value by looking up its year, make, model, mileage and condition. Get estimates of its current value, accounting for repairs done. Present this documentation when negotiating with the at-fault driver's insurer to seek compensation for the value your car lost.
Can I keep the property damage check and skip getting my car repaired?
Yes, but you if you have a lien on your vehicle for a car loan, you likely are required to get your vehicle repaired. Check with your loan company before pocketing the repair cost.
What should I know about rental car coverage after an accident?
Review your auto policy to see if rental car reimbursement is included and understand any limits. If using your coverage, arrange a rental and keep receipts. Return the rental when your car is repaired. If another driver was at fault, their insurer may cover rental costs but check their policy.
How long does it take to get an insurance settlement check for repairs?
The process for your property damage claim should be done within a week or so. But, it can take weeks or even months after an accident to receive an insurance settlement check for repairs. Factors like extent of damage, liability disputes, and claim investigations can all affect timing. Persistently communicating with your insurer and providing documentation can potentially speed up the process.
Seeking Legal Guidance
Navigating insurance claims and car repairs after an accident can quickly get complicated. An experienced attorney can help protect your rights. Consider seeking legal help if:
- You have disputes with insurance companies about claim denials, repair estimates, or settlement amounts.
- The insurance company of the at-fault driver is resisting paying for repairs.
- You have suffered injuries in addition to vehicle damage.
- Your car is totaled, and you need help demonstrating its pre-accident value. You are entitled to the “fair market value” of your vehicle.
Can Oklahoma Car Insurance Companies Help with the Cost of Car Repairs After an Accident?
The car accident has two claims: one for personal injury and one for property damage. Do not sign a settlement release if you are still receiving medical treatment unless it is a “property damage only release” that reserves the personal injury claim. To settle the property damage claim, there is no reason to receive a settlement advance to cover the costs of car repairs after an accident.
Protecting Yourself After an Accident
- Put safety first – call 911 to get the police to investigate the accident. Having the accident report can speed up the insurance company’s claim evaluation. Exchange information and take photos at the scene if it is safe.
- Save documentation related to repairs, costs, and the accident details. This protects you throughout the claims process.
- Research your policy so you understand available coverage, limits, and deductibles. Look into add-ons like rental car reimbursement.
- Get multiple repair estimates and negotiate fair costs based on average rates. Avoid lowball offers.
- Pick a quality repair shop you are comfortable with that specializes in your vehicle type.
- Seek legal counsel if you encounter disputes or delays in receiving fair compensation for repairs or diminished car value.