When someone comes and talks to me about a car accident, one of the first things they ask is 'What do I do about my car? It’s been damaged, and I need to be compensated for that, I’m out of pocket a lot of money…' Here’s what you do: the first thing is get your car fixed. Go get it to the bodyshop. There’s going to be a repair cost, and they work that out with the insurance. Sometimes the insurance company pays you and you pay the repair shop, sometimes the insurance company pays the repair shop directly.
All that’s pretty well known, but there’s a lot of times money is left on the table, and you’re not going to get your full compensation unless you specifically ask for it from the insurance company. Now, after your car’s been repaired, you need to ask for 'loss of use'. Loss of use is the value of what it would take to rent a car while your car’s in the shop. It’s pretty straightforward. Even if you don’t rent a car there’s a value--an average value--of what it would cost to rent that car. And so you ask the insurance company to reimburse you for that loss of use. And then you’ll get compensated for that.
Here’s the last piece of advice, most of the time people miss this, but when you think about it it makes sense: When your car’s been wrecked, even if it’s been repaired and looks great, and you could never look at it and tell that it’s been wrecked, the value is less. If you’re going to sell this car or trade it into the dealership, the first question they ask you is 'Has it ever been in an accident?' If the answer is yes, then they reduce the value of that car. It’s worth a little bit less, sometimes a lot less. And, the insurance is responsible for making the difference. And you’ve got to ask for it. It’s the difference in what your car’s worth now versus what it was worth before it even got damaged in the first place.
Okay, so let me summarize: first you want to get your car fixed and you want to get reimbursed for that. Secondly, you want to get reimbursed for the value of what it would cost to rent a car during the time your car was in the shop. And lastly you want to get the difference in the value of your car now compared to what it was valued before it even got wrecked. So if you’re in this situation, or if you have questions give us a call or fill out our Contact Us form. We help people with these questions all the time. Everyday.