If you’re involved in a car accident in a Georgia you may have two separate and distinct claims: (1) a property damage claim, to get your car repaired; and (2) a personal injury claim if you’ve been injured in the accident.
If your car, truck, or motorcycle is damaged in a Georgia car accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will repair or total your car. If the car is going to be repaired, the insurance company will send an appraiser out to your body shop or will have you bring your car into a service center for appraisal. Be sure to review the estimate provided by the insurance company closely.
If the insurance company finds your vehicle is a total loss. The company will offer you a fair market or actual cash value for the car. Again, make sure you review the comparables that are provided by the insurance company, to make sure the vehicles listed are actually available and for sale at the price identified by the insurance company.
Insurance Issues in Property Damage Claims
If the other driver is at fault, you have an option of how to get your car repaired if you carry collision coverage. You can deal with the other driver’s insurance company and negotiate a settlement under the driver’s property damage insurance coverage, or you can file a claim under the collision coverage. If you go under your own collision coverage, you will have to pay the body shop your deductible. Your insurance company will then seek repayment from the other driver’s insurance company and return your deductible.
Compensation for Property Damage
The insurance company will decide whether it is cheaper to repair or total your vehicle. If the insurance company decides to total your car it will pay you fair market value for the vehicle before the accident happened. Fair market value is determined through a number of sources. In order to see if the insurance company is dealing fairly with you, you can check out Kelley Blue Book or search your local market for the cost of vehicles similar to yours.
Many people run into trouble with their property damage claim because they owe more to the bank or finance company than the fair market value of the car. The insurance company is not required to make up the difference. Unfortunately, you will still owe the bank or finance company any unpaid balance on the loan.
Getting Your Car Repaired
Your insurance company may recommend a “preferred” auto body shop, but you are allowed to take the car to a body shop of your choice. If you go to a non-preferred shop, the insurance company can challenge any repairs it deems excessive and could refuse to pay the full bill. You can insist on original manufacturer parts as opposed to aftermarket parts.
The at-fault driver’s insurance is responsible for storage and towing.
If you are without a car for a short amount of time while your car is getting fixed – the insurance company should provide you with a rental car. However, there are strict limits on what the insurance company will pay for the rental car, so don’t plan on driving a luxury car, SUV or van.
Your own insurance should cover rental car use, so you do not need to buy extra insurance through the rental agency. Check your policy to make sure you are covered. However, make sure you have collision coverage and understand if you are the at-fault driver in an accident – you will have to pay the rental company your collision deductible.
If you have been involved in a Georgia car accident and are wondering how to get your car repaired then give us a call today 762-323-1460
Tyler Moffitt is a Family Law and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices Carrollton, LaGrange, and Columbus, GA. He graduated from John Marshall Law School, and has been practicing for several years now. Tyler Moffitt takes great honor in defending the accused. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.