So you got in an accident. Now what? Your insurance company will require you to fill out their claim forms. Depending upon who was at fault in the accident, you will either contact the other driver’s insurance company or your own. Once you have completed the claim forms, the insurer will have a better idea of the circumstances surrounding the accident and the extent of the damage. They will then ask you to take your vehicle to one of their approved auto body shops (if they have suggested list) for a repairs estimate. This is the cost to restore your car to working condition.
The repair shop will determine your initial estimate based on several factors:
- The amount of time it takes to fix the damages
- Hourly labor rates
- Parts that need to be ordered
Obtaining an Estimate
Make sure that the mechanic excludes repair costs for work that was not part of the accident. For example, if another driver backs into your car in a parking lot creating a dent in the lower side panel, you probably didn’t have any damage to your windshield. If the car shop includes a replacement windshield due to a crack that has existed there for months, have them create a new estimate with this omitted.
You will need to follow a similar procedure for damages to your home. The only exception is that, instead of a auto body repair shop, you will have a contractor reviewing the damages and preparing the estimate.
Take your initial estimate to your insurance company for approval. They may have an adjuster make an appointment with you to review the damages themselves and ensure that your estimate is accurate. Pending approval, you may now take your vehicle to the repair shop.
Once the mechanic begins to fix the damages, he or she may discover hidden issues that were not apparent during the initial review of the car. They will inform you of these additional costs and create a supplemental estimate. You will need to take this to your insurance company for approval. They may have an adjuster come to view your car again just to be sure.
The insurance company and repair shop will come to an agreement regarding the final cost estimate. If you have a problem with your claims adjuster you might need to take steps. Their numbers may differ slightly from one another, but will eventually settle on a price. As the car owner, you will be kept well-informed of any communication and discussion of the estimate.
Contact your Insurance Agent
As always, your first step after a loss is to contact your insurance agent. They will have the knowledge and experience to recommend a course of action that best suits your needs.
Other Enhanced Insurance articles related to Claims:
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