Modern cars are designed to crumple in a collision to absorb the forces that could otherwise cause serious injuries, which means people could walk away from crashes that severely damage or even total their vehicles. In these situations, the company that insures the car driven by the person most at fault will pay for the other driver’s vehicle to be repaired or replaced. This is why it is always a good idea to exchange insurance information following a crash, even if nobody was hurt, and the damage seems minor.
The repair estimate
If your car is damaged in a motor vehicle collision that was not your fault, the first thing you should do is notify the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Crashes tend to cause auto insurance premiums to go up, so the at-fault driver may be in no hurry to take care of this responsibility. Once the insurance company determines that its policyholder was at fault, it will send out an adjuster to assess the damage. The assessor will check the book value of your vehicle beforehand to make sure that the insurance company does not pay more to repair your vehicle than it is worth.
Keeping a totaled car
If the insurance adjuster declares your car a total loss, the insurance company will send you an amount determined by its book value to buy a replacement vehicle. If you choose to use the money to repair your totaled car, the insurance company could deduct its salvage value from the amount it sends you. However, you should think carefully before repairing a totaled vehicle as you will have to obtain a reconstructed title before you can drive it on a public road. This will make the car very difficult to sell.
Negotiating with insurance companies
Insurance companies employ skilled negotiators who are trained to keep payouts as low as possible, which means it may be wise for you to contact an experienced personal injury attorney if you were hurt in a collision to protect your rights and negotiate on your behalf with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.