Whether you commute into Phoenix or work right here in Mesa, you probably rely on your car to get around. If that’s the case, could a simple fender bender put you out of your job? Do you know how your insurance company will get you back on the road or how long it will take? Continue reading to find out.
How to Make an Insurance Claim
Did you know that a police report does not get your insurance claim started? It may not even have that much weight in the insurance process given that the police officer wasn’t even there. Instead, you need to notify your insurance company on your own.
The best time to do this is while you’re still at the scene of the accident, so your insurance company can come to take photos if they want to. If you don’t do that, be sure to meet your policy’s reporting deadline to avoid losing out on your claim.
How Damages are Valued
Car accident claims are usually valued based on the repair costs. Depending on the severity, your insurance company will request photos or send out an adjuster.
Of course, the repair costs may exceed your insurance company’s initial estimate. If you’ve gotten several estimates and none are within what your insurance company originally offered, your insurance company should accept those estimates and raise their offer.
In some cases, the insurance company works directly with the body shop instead. Instead of you shopping around for estimates, you only need to take your car to a recommended shop. The shop will then work out the repairs and reimbursement with your insurance company.
Getting a Replacement Car
If your car is seriously damaged, you may be eligible for a replacement car instead. Typically, the insurance company has a guideline equal to somewhere around 70% of the car’s value. If the repair estimate is greater than this amount, your car will be totaled.
If your car is totaled, you’ll receive a check for its value before the accident. If you’ve purchased optional new car replacement coverage, you’ll receive a check for that amount instead.
Covering Your Loan or Lease
Remember that if you have an auto loan or lease, you’re still responsible for payments even if your car is unusable or totaled. In addition, if your car is totaled or you decide to sell it, you’ll usually have to repay your loan immediately.
If you’re waiting for an insurance check, your lender may work out a payment arrangement with you, but this may mean additional fees or interest. Keep in mind that if your car is worth less than what you owe, you’ll have to pay the remaining balance out of your own pocket. The exception is if you’ve purchased GAP loan or lease coverage in which case your insurance company will repay the full amount that you owe regardless of your car’s value.
Working With a Reputable Agent
Because paying an insurance claim means reducing their own profits, it’s important to work with a reputable insurance agent who will treat you fairly. While price is important, the hassle of having your claim denied or undervalued may simply not be worth it.
You also need to make sure that you have the right coverage so you can quickly get back on the road. Optional coverages such as rental car, new car replacement, or GAP could end up saving you thousands of dollars. To discuss your insurance needs or to learn more about the claims process, contact Jarosch Insurance today. We proudly serve Mesa, Arizona, and the surrounding communities.