Property Damage Claims – How to Get Your Car Repaired After an Accident

Car accidents, an unfortunate reality of modern transportation, bring about not just emotional distress but also immediate concerns about getting your vehicle repaired. The aftermath of an auto accident is often a maze of insurance claims, repair estimates, and sometimes legal proceedings.

Understanding the fundamentals of the process can save you time, money, and avoidable distress. This piece will shed light on the intricacies of filing a car accident claim and help you navigate the path to getting your car fixed after an accident.

What is a Property Damage Claim

A property damage claim refers to a formal request made to an insurance company for compensation due to damage or loss to tangible property. This claim can arise from various incidents, such as a house fire, a car accident, theft, or natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes. The claimant (often the owner of the property) notifies their insurance company about the loss or damage, providing the necessary documentation, including photos, estimates for repairs, and sometimes police reports, depending on the nature of the damage.

Once filed, the company reviews the claim, may send out an insurance adjuster to assess the extent of the damage firsthand, and then determines the amount they will compensate the claimant based on the policy’s terms and coverage limits.

Immediate Steps to Take After a Collision

The moments after an auto accident can be overwhelming, but taking the right steps is crucial for a smooth process to get your car repaired. First and foremost, check for injuries and ensure everyone’s safety. After assessing the well-being of all involved, it’s essential to document the scene. This means taking photos of vehicle damage, any visible injuries, and the surroundings. These images can be invaluable when you need to file a claim with your insurance company.

Additionally, gather the contact details of any witnesses. Their accounts can provide clarity when determining who was at fault for the accident. Make it a priority to call the insurance company as soon as possible. Promptly reporting the accident will expedite the insurance claims process. If another person’s property, like a fence or mailbox, is damaged, note it down. Property damage liability in your car insurance will likely cover this. Lastly, while on the scene, don’t admit fault or make definitive statements. Doing so could complicate your car accident claim, especially if personal injury claims are also involved.

The auto insurance company will likely investigate the car after an accident to determine the extent of your property damage coverage and what damage to your car is under collision coverage. To get reimbursed, on-spot evidence is crucial when it comes to filling an insurance claim or contacting the at-fault driver’s insurance.

Navigating the Repair Process

After a car accident, the repair process can be daunting, especially when trying to get your car fixed promptly. Begin by selecting an auto repair shop. Some insurance companies recommend repair shops they trust. However, you have the right to choose where to take the car for repairs. Obtain a cost of repair; this detailed breakdown of repair costs gives a clear picture of the damage caused to your car.

Sometimes, the damage repair costs might exceed the value of your vehicle prior to the accident, leading insurance to deem your car “totaled.” If that’s the case, the insurance company will pay the car’s pre-accident value minus any deductible. It’s essential to understand the distinction between repair and replacement and how it influences your car accident repair choices. If you have gap insurance, it might help cover any loan balance that exceeds the payout for a totaled car.

Throughout the repair process, you might entitled to a rental car. Your insurance covers the cost if you have rental reimbursement coverage. Ensure you understand the terms—how long you can keep the rental and any cost limits. Always contact your insurance company beforehand to agree on what liability insurance will cover.

Dealing with Insurance After a Car Accident

Dealing with car insurance post-accident is a pivotal step in getting your vehicle repaired. Start by filing a property damage claim. If you’re not at fault, you can make a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance. On the flip side, if you’re at fault or the at-fault driver’s insurance is unresponsive or insufficient, you can file a claim with your own insurance, provided you have the right coverage, like collision insurance.

It’s crucial to understand the insurance claims process. When you call your insurance company, they’ll assign a claims adjuster to assess the damage to your vehicle. This adjuster will determine repair costs and offer a settlement based on your policy limits. Always ensure this amount will adequately cover repairs to your car. If you and the insurance company disagree on the settlement amount or which party was at fault that caused the accident, you may need to take legal action through an accident lawsuit.

Remember, it’s your right to choose where you want your car fixed after an accident. Some insurance policies may recommend using a specific auto repair shop, but the choice remains yours. Ensure you have a detailed conversation about this with your insurance representative. And if the process feels overwhelming, consider seeking legal guidance to ensure you get what’s rightfully owed.

Understanding Your Rights with Auto Insurance Claims

Navigating the world of car insurance can be complex, especially when it comes to understanding your rights if your claim is denied. So, can you sue? Absolutely. If you feel that your auto insurance company has unjustly denied your claim or hasn’t adequately covered the damages, legal recourse may be available. Here’s a closer look at the process.

When to Sue:

Improper Denial: If you’ve filed a claim after a car accident to fix your car and the insurance company denies it without a valid reason, you might have a case. This could involve disagreements over the repair process, the recommended repair shops, or even the value of your car prior to the accident.

Underpayment: If the insurance company has paid a portion of your car’s repair costs but it doesn’t cover the actual repair or replacement costs you’ve incurred, you may consider legal action.

Delay in Settlement: If the insurance company will likely approve your claim but is taking an unusually long time to process and pay for the damage, causing inconvenience, this can also be grounds for a lawsuit.

Bad Faith: If you suspect that the insurance company is acting in bad faith – that is, they’re deliberately denying legitimate claims or offering lower settlements to save money – you might have a case against them.

How to Sue Your Auto Insurance for Not Paying for Damages:

Documentation is Key: Before you consider legal action, ensure you’ve documented everything. This includes the initial damage to your car, repair estimates from an auto repair shop, any communication with the insurance company, and any other evidence that supports your claim.

Contact Your Insurance: Always start by calling the insurance company to understand the reason behind the denial or insufficient payment. Misunderstandings can sometimes be cleared up without legal action.

Get Legal Counsel: If you’re unsatisfied with the response, consult a personal injury attorney experienced in personal injury claims and insurance disputes. They’ll advise you on the merit of your case and guide you through the legal process. A car accident lawyer can assist you in getting compensation for the injuries you have endured also.

Mediation: Before filing a lawsuit, you may need to go through mediation, where a neutral third party helps you and the insurance company reach an agreement. They might offer to cover the cost of repairing a portion of your car to come to an agreement.

Filing a Lawsuit: If mediation fails or isn’t required, you can proceed with filing an accident lawsuit. The process might involve presenting evidence of the accident caused, damage to your vehicle, and any discrepancies in what the insurance company has offered versus what is required to repair your vehicle.

Potential Outcomes: If the court rules in your favor, the insurance company may have to pay for the damage repairs, potential legal fees, and sometimes additional compensation. If not, you may have to go through your own insurance or pay out-of-pocket, depending on your coverage.

Understanding Gap Insurance: In cases where your car is totaled, and there’s a difference between the value of the car and what’s owed on it, gap insurance comes into play. If you feel your insurance isn’t adequately covering this, it’s another potential reason for a lawsuit.


Understanding the dynamics of property damage claims and car repair or replacement after an accident is crucial. Every driver should be informed about the steps to take post-collision, from documentation to interaction with insurance companies, to ensure a smooth repair process and fair claim settlement. It’s essential to know your rights, understand the complexities of your insurance policy, and be aware of the available resources should disputes arise.

The goal is to alleviate the stresses of a car accident and ensure that you, as a car owner, are not left stranded due to financial or logistical hurdles. Protecting your vehicle and ensuring it’s restored to its prior condition, or receiving just compensation, should be a straightforward process, and this guide aims to simplify that journey.


How Do I Get My Car Fixed if My Car Insurance Claim Is Rejected?

If your vehicle is damaged in an accident and your car insurance claim is denied, first review the rejection reasons provided by the insurance company. Reach out to them for clarity and ensure you’ve supplied all necessary documentation.

Do I Need a Lawyer to File an Insurance Claim With the Other Party’s Insurance Company?

No, you don’t need a lawyer to file an insurance claim with the other party’s insurance company. However, consulting a personal injury lawyer can be beneficial if there are disputes or complexities involved.