What If My Car Is Totaled?

In some cases, especially with older cars, the cost of repairs will exceed the fair market value of your car.  In such instances, the insurance carrier is only required to pay the actual cash value of the car on the open market, not what you feel it is worth to you.

When an automobile cannot reasonably be repaired, you are entitled to the difference between the vehicle’s value before the accident and its salvage value (if any) after the accident.  The pre-accident value can be determined by sources including the N.A.D.A. Guide, Kelly Blue Book, etc.

Should I Use My Own Collision Coverage? 

Yes, if the liability carrier is not taking care of the property damage quickly or efficiently, then file with your own insurance company. You will have to pay the deductible, but your insurance company will attempt to recover the costs from the liable driver’s insurance company.

How Does the Deductible Work?

When you bring your car to a body shop for repairs, the deductible is the amount you are responsible for paying out of pocket.

Should I Give the Insurance Company a Recorded Statement? 

If you are dealing with the other driver’s insurance company, you should not give a statement.  If you are dealing with your own insurance company, you may be obligated under your policy to give a statement.  However, you should request a copy of any statement given.  In either situation, NEVER discuss the specifics of your personal injuries.  Simply advise the insurance company that your attorneys are handling that portion of your claim and refer questions regarding your injuries and treatment to your counsel.

Do I Have to Sign a Release? 

When you receive money for car damages, you will be required to sign a release giving up any claims against the responsible party and insurance company for the property damage caused by this accident.  If you receive the check before the repairs are completed, you should ask the repair shop to allow you to inspect and test drive the car before final payment to the repair shop to ensure there are no apparent defects or problems.  You should read the release form you sign and make sure it is limited solely to property damage and does not give up any other claims you might have, including those for bodily injuries.