Auto accidents are never easy to deal with. If you are and the other involved drivers are lucky enough to escape without injuries, however, then everyone's attention will soon turn to getting their vehicles properly repaired. Depending on the severity of the accident, the types of coverage involved, and where the fault lies, this process can potentially be fairly smooth and quick or drawn out and painful. If you are wondering what happens next, then read on to learn a bit about the process that usually follows an accident.
Evaluating the Damage
If your car was disabled by the accident, then it usually needs to be towed to a garage for storage. If you had a roadside assistance program, then you can usually have the car towed to a location of your choice, including back to your home. If a police wrecker instead takes your vehicle, then it may be taken to a municipal lot until you can have it moved. Whatever the case, your insurance company will want to send an adjuster to evaluate the damage. They may also suggest that you have the car towed to their facility, although you are not required to do so.
When working with the insurance company, it is not strictly necessary to have an independent estimate performed. Insurance companies will usually work directly with the body shop you choose, adjusting their settlement based on the damage that is found as the vehicle is repaired. This process makes the traditional advice of seeking multiple estimates somewhat outdated, although this is still a good idea if you will be paying for repairs out of pocket.
Working with the Insurance Company
Once the insurance company has evaluated the damage, you will be offered a settlement amount. If you are at fault for the accident, then this will happen through your own collision coverage and you will be responsible for your own deductible. If you aren't at fault for the accident, then the at-fault driver's insurance will handle this process and your car will be repaired under that driver's liability coverage. In this case, you won't have to pay anything out of pocket.
Depending on whether you have selected a body shop or not, the insurance company will likely offer to pay your shop directly. This is often a good option as additional damage may be discovered while the car is being repaired. If you choose to take this route, then the body shop will work with the insurance company to make sure that your vehicle is repaired fully and that you do not have to pay extra for any damage that is uncovered.
Getting Your Car Back on the Road
After the insurance company has authorized its settlement amount, your body shop will begin work. Accident damage can sometimes be difficult to repair, and depending on the extent of the accident your car may need to have panels replaced or repainted. As the body shop fixes the damage that was discovered during the initial estimates, they will also look for any mechanical or deeper damage that may have occurred. During this process, it is important to keep in touch with both your insurance company and the body shop you have selected to ensure that repairs are progressing smoothly and correctly.
When repairs are completed, the insurance company will pay out the final amount to the body shop and you will be able to take your car back. As long as everything went well, your vehicle should be returned to you as good as new! Reach out to your local auto body repair services today.