How to Get Your Car Repaired After an Auto Accident

Getting your car repaired is usually not an option - you need your car! So after an accident, the repair process can seem slow and frustrating. Here's some tips on getting your car repaired, and making sure the at-fault driver's insurance covers the cost.

There are several types of claims available after an auto accident, including personal injury claims and property damage claims. These two types of cases are separate, although some personal injury lawyers will help you through the steps for filing a property damage claim as well, if they agree to represent you for your injuries.

To get your property damage claim settled, follow these steps:

1. Take your car to a trusted mechanic and get an estimate for damages. But do not get the car repaired until an insurance adjuster can look at the car.
2. Call your insurance company. They will either send an adjuster to look at your car, or they will ask you to take the car to a specific auto repair shop. They may do both.
3. Once the insurance company has gotten their own estimate, you can decide where to take the car. The insurance company cannot force you to use any certain mechanic, but they can make it more difficult for you if you choose a mechanic they don't approve. If their estimate is much lower than the one from your mechanic, ask them to call your mechanic and explain why - and then have the mechanic explain it to you, if possible.
4. Talk to the adjuster about how much they will pay, and remember to ask how much your deductible is - if it's a minor repair, you may not meet your deductible, and you may need to pay the whole cost out of pocket.
5. If the mechanic finds more damage while making repairs (which is common) ask the shop to call your insurance adjuster and tell them.

In some cases, you and your insurance company will not reach an agreement about how much repair the car needs, or the cost of the repairs needed. In cases like this, each of you can hire appraisers to evaluate the car and try to reach an agreement based on those findings.

Once your insurance company has paid for your repairs, you can call the at-fault driver's insurance company (or your adjuster will) and they will pay back your insurance company. This is common, though in many cases you can contact the at-fault driver's insurance company from the beginning and they will go through the above process with you instead of your own company.

This can be a frustrating process, but hopefully if you stand firm and are confident about your rights you can reach a fair agreement about your auto repairs.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws they may affect a case. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

Find a Lawyer