Getting Your Car Repaired (Auto Insurance)
You've been in an accident. Other than being shaken up, you're okay – but your car isn't.
We depend on our cars. We use them to get to work, pick up the kids, and run errands. Losing your transportation can create a lot of chaos in your life and put you under a lot of stress.
There are some ways you can help make your Pennsylvania auto insurance claim move more smoothly to speed up the vehicle repair process.
At the Scene of the Accident…
The moments after an accident are stressful and confusing. Be prepared by knowing what to do to protect your legal rights and make it easier for you to repair your car:
- Exchange information with the other driver, but stay as calm as possible. Don't talk about the accident with anyone other than the police, and don't blame anyone.
- Get the driver's name, address, phone number, driver's license number, and VIN of the vehicle.
- Get the name of the owner of the vehicle and the owner's insurance company.
- Write down the car's license plate number.
- Collect contact information for any witnesses.
- Take photos of the car damage, as well as the accident scene.
- Make a diagram of how the accident occurred.
At this point, contact your insurance agent for advice on how to proceed. If you're fortunate enough not to be injured in your accident, chances are you will need to deal with the at-fault driver's insurance company.
Remember, your agent is on your side, but still be careful what you say or sign. Never give a recorded statement to the other driver's insurance company or your own, and don't sign anything from the other person's insurance company either.
If you were hurt in the accident, you should contact an attorney to learn your legal rights and get help to receive a fair settlement for your injuries. We offer a no obligation, free legal consultation to help you understand how to proceed, and whether you have a case.
Managing the Damage Loss on Your Vehicle
If your car is a total loss, you can have it towed to a salvage yard. If your car needs to be repaired, and you have collision coverage, your insurance company can begin the inspection so that your car can be fixed. At this point, you may find that having rental car coverage on your insurance policy was worth the investment.
"Managed Care" For Your Vehicle
You basically have two options for repairing your vehicle.
- You can use a body shop or mechanic through the insurance company's "preferred provider" system. You can drop off your car at the body shop your insurer suggests and skip the hassle of negotiating price. It's easy, it's convenient, and often there's no need to wait for an insurance adjuster to make a report. However, be sure you review the estimate for the term "LKQ" parts. Translated, that means "like kind and quality" parts, and not original equipment from the manufacturer.
- Or, you can choose your own mechanic and play the negotiating game. While the cost-cutting approach sounds great, be aware that some body shops may be pressured to cut corners. One strategy is to use generic or salvage parts instead of using new parts from your car's original manufacturer. Generic can be a poor substitute. These parts may not fit as well, be as strong, and they may rust prematurely.
When the repairs are complete, whether you went to your insurer's mechanic or chose your own, consider having an appraiser check your vehicle for any reduction in value.
After Your Car is Repaired…
When repairs are complete, your insurance company will seek reimbursement from the driver at fault for the accident. Delays occur when there is confusion regarding who is at fault for the accident. You may have to wait for the insurance companies to complete their investigations. If there is a disagreement between companies, they may take even more time to negotiate.
This guide is not a complete summary of the Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Law. It is designed to highlight certain important features of this law and should not be considered legal advice. Everyone has different insurance needs. If you have any questions concerning your coverage, please contact your insurance company representative.