Auto Body Accident Car Insurance Claims

There’s a lot of things to consider when it comes to auto body repair after an accident. One of the largest headaches is often dealing with insurance. Take a look at this important info from Car Craft Oakville so that you're prepared.

Who contacts the insurance company after an accident?

Contact the other driver’s insurer if they were at fault to file your claim. Also, make sure that you tell your insurance company if the policy that you hold requires you to. You should also contact your insurance provider if you’re making a claim on your own coverage.

You should also get a hold of your insurance provider if you were the one at fault in the accident. They ought to be notified if someone else will be contacting them to file a claim with them.

Who determines who is responsible for the accident?

auto body collision repair car accident paintless dent removal headlight restorationBoth law enforcement officials and insurance companies make determinations on who's at fault, or if both drivers are partly at fault.

The police will say who gets ticketed and faces penalties for traffic violations. Insurance companies will appoint a claims adjuster to determine fault for their purposes. The police and the insurance companies won’t agree on fault 100 percent of the time, but insurance companies generally operate based on what their adjusters say. Lots of individuals are intimidated when speaking with an adjuster.

It may be that one driver is found to be completely at fault and will therefore be liable for all damages, or both drivers may be found partially at fault for the incident.  If both drivers are found at fault, then Missouri state negligence laws will decide whose insurance pays what.

No-fault insurance applies just to bodily injuries. Your personal injury protection (PIP) will pay for your own health bills, but if the other driver was at fault, his liability coverage would pay for damage to your car.

What accidents would be categorized as a collision?

Whenever your vehicle hits or is hit by some other vehicle or object, the accident is going to be claimed as collision coverage no matter who’s at fault. Flipping your car or rolling off a hill would also be a collision claim. Hitting another car or truck or an inanimate object such as a tree, pole, house, fence, etc., all would be considered a collision accident claim.

What kind of accident is considered to be comprehensive?

An accident that is “other than collision” is regarded as comprehensive if it is covered by your auto insurance policy.  Damages to your vehicle from fire, vandalism, or theft are comprehensive claims.  Damages from natural occurrences, like floodwaters, high winds, and hail, are included in comprehensive coverages.

Also, making contact with an animal is a comprehensive claim.  So, if your accident is with a dog, deer, cow, or bird, it'll be considered a comprehensive claim.

Does an accident affect my auto insurance rates? If yes, for how long?

An accident’s impact on your rates is dependent upon the circumstances of the accident and what number of claims you’ve had in recent times. Comprehensive claims are less likely to be your fault, so they typically won’t raise your rates. Car accident collision claims are more prone to hike up your rates.

If you’re at fault, it is your first accident and damages are minor, it may eliminate your good driver discount, but not a great deal else.  If you weren’t to blame and the claims were through the other party’s insurance, it likely won’t affect you either. If, however, you have already made a couple of claims in a brief period of time, any sort of claim may affect your rates because you appear to the insurer to be accident-prone.

For instance, some auto insurance companies will not impose a surcharge if the accident didn’t cause damage or injury more than $1,000, unless you have had two or more of this kind of accident within the past three years.

State insurance laws also come into play. Some states allow insurers to surcharge motorists only for certain types of accidents or if damages were over a specific monetary amount.

A car accident typically will affect your rates anywhere from 3 to 5 years; it depends upon state laws and the guidelines of your auto insurance company.

Just how long does an accident stay on my record?

It varies by state. In some states, accidents do not even go on your driving record, or only appear if you were deemed at fault and ticketed for a traffic offense.  In other states, accidents go on your record and stay anywhere from one to five years. You’ll need to contact Missouri’s Department of Motor Vehicles to determine if the accident will go on your record and how long it will stay there.

If I do not report an accident, does my insurance provider know?

If there is no police report, nothing mentioned on your driving record and you paid out of pocket for any damages you caused, it would be improbable that your insurer would know about a minor accident you were in. That's also true if you were in an unreported single-car accident that resulted in no claims.

If there are claims involved, your car insurance company will learn about the accident even if you don’t get a police report or personally notify your insurer of the incident. Whenever claims are paid out, auto insurance providers place the claims information into a central database.

Whenever you apply for a new policy with a new insurer, it too will find your claims history, and notice any prior accidents and claims you had.

Insurance can be a really confusing thing to think about for motorists in Mehlville, Arnold, Lemay, and Oakville, MO. Thankfully Car Craft Oakville is here to help you with each step of the auto body repair process when you've had an accident.