Collision coverage, if elected, is available through your own car insurance policy. This coverage is not mandatory by law* but is, usually, in place if you have a newer vehicle. Collision coverage is the fastest and most reliable way to have your vehicle repaired or if totaled, collect for the value of your vehicle. You can collect through your collision coverage regardless of fault. By law, you can take your damaged vehicle to a body shop of your choosing, have the vehicle inspected, an estimate given and have it fixed. Your insurance company will pay the repair shop directly less any deductible. Even though the fault is not determinative in collecting through your collision coverage, it is essential to make sure the insurance companies properly determine who was at fault. Your insurance company will go after the other insurance carrier for the amount of the claim. The percentage of fault will be applied to having any deductible refunded to you. Additionally, the percentage of the fault may be influential in determining an offer of settlement if you are injured in the car accident.
*Although not mandated by law many lease and finance agreements require collision coverage.
If you do not have collision coverage on your automobile insurance policy and your car suffers property damage in an accident, you can present your property damage claim to the other party’s insurance company. You must be careful in your interactions with the other party’s insurance carrier as they are adverse to your claim. Getting compensated from the third party insurance company usually takes longer since the other insurance carrier has to inspect your vehicle and do an investigation. Since you are not their customer and they are not contractually required to pay your claim, the process takes longer. If you do not agree with the third party insurance carriers liability determination or value assessment of your car, you can take them to court.
EXAMPLE collision coverage:
Collision – Your car suffers $5,000.00 in damage and you have a $1,000.00 deductible. The collision claim is set up through your auto body shop and your insurance company pays the auto body shop $4,000.00, and you pay $1,000.00. Your insurance company will then “fight” the other insurance company for the $4,000.00. If you are not at fault, your insurance company will get you refunded your full deductible. If, for example, you are found 50% at fault, your insurance company will get you back $500.00 of your deductible.
EXAMPLE no collision coverage:
Third-Party – Your car suffers $5,000.00 in damage and third party determines liability as 50/50 against you. The third-party insurance company will offer you $2,500.00.
At Schalk, Ciaccio & Kahn, our clients who are injured as a result of a car accident do not have to worry about dealing with the insurance companies, whether going through collision coverage or going through the third-party carrier. We will not only represent you in your injury claim, but we will set up your claim and fight to make you fully compensated for any property damage. When you are injured in a car accident your job is to rest and get better, our job is to fight for you.