After a car crash, you might be wondering about how to fix your car. If you have collision coverage under your own automobile insurance policy, you can have your company fix your car. However, you will usually incur a deductible if you do so. That means you have to pay the first $500 or $1000 in costs to fix the car (these are common deductible amounts).
Eventually, your insurance company will typically go after the responsible party's company for reimbursement of what they paid to fix your car. They will also typically pursue reimbursement of your deductible. Therefore, while you may have to fork out the deductible at the beginning, you should eventually get a refund from your insurance company a few weeks later. Sometimes it takes longer so be mindful and check in with your insurance company periodically about the refund.
If liability is clear, the responsible party's insurance company may also fix your car expediently. Give them a call and make a property damage claim. Don't get into a discussion about your injuries. Be civil and keep it about the property damage. If liability is clear, there shouldn’t be much investigation to do, and you can take your car to one of their approved body shops (although you have the right to take it to any shop you want). It has been my experience that using the approved shops of the insurance company is usually fine, so long as they are reputable. If you use a shop that has not been vetted by the insurance company, it just may take longer to get your car fixed. It’s really up to you but you should weigh the pros and cons of each approach. If you utilize the other insurance company, you won’t have to incur a deductible. What I usually advise clients to do is to use the responsible party's company when liability is clear. If it’s going to take too long, and you need to get their car fixed as soon as possible, you may want to utilize your own insurance company because that may be quicker and more efficient in the long run. Of course, each situation is unique and these general rules don’t always apply. Feel free to reach out to our office for advice if you need to.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia,