Car Accident Insurance Settlement

Many times during car accident insurance settlements, you and the insurance company don’t agree on the cost of your car repair.

The bad news is that the insurance company’s rates can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars below your actual repair payments. This means that you will end up paying a lot for your car repairs out of your own pocket.

To help you avoid this, here are a few steps I have used that have saved me and my family thousands of dollars:

1. Get Full Written Estimates

To begin with, you should always get a complete itemized estimate for your car damages. Capturing the list of replacement parts and their costs easily shows how much money it will cost to repair your car.

With a detailed estimate, you can then ask the insurance company to provide their own detailed estimates. By doing this you are comparing realistic estimates, rather than just some random amount from the insurance company. If you are unhappy with a lower estimate, you have a right to know how exactly they arrived at the low settlement figure.

Always make sure your estimates are for the same exact factory vehicle parts. You have a right to get your car in the SAME condition as it was before the accident. The insurance company’s estimates may be lower because they used less expensive non factory replacement parts. You don’t have to accept this, so get the estimates for the same quality parts.

2. Get High Quality Estimates

You need to get your estimates from a shop that will do the actual repairs. Don’t just visit a random repair shop or service station and get a bad estimate.

Insurance companies try to sort out your damages as falling in a selected range. For instance, they may assume replacing a damaged bumper shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred dollars.

However, this really is determined by who does your repairs and the model of your vehicle. So always make sure that you get your estimates from a repair shop that is skilled in restoring your brand of vehicle. Doing this will give you a more realistic cost of labor.

If the insurance company debates this estimate, make them provide you with another repair shop that can ensure the same excellent work. If they don’t offer a reasonable alternative, you can debate that their estimate is inaccurate and you shouldn’t have to agree to low quality work.

What if My Car is Destroyed?

When the cost of your car repair is more than the cost of your vehicle, this is known as a “total loss”. The insurance company will attempt to give you what it considers the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of your motor vehicle. This will also increase arguments because you may think your vehicle is worth more than you are getting.

The easiest method to see if you’re getting a fair deal is to check your vehicle’s Kelly Blue Book value. The blue book lists the latest value of the car and you can check how much your vehicle is actually worth.