Auto Body Accident Car Insurance Claims

There is a lot of things to consider with regards to auto body repair following an accident. One of the largest headaches is often dealing with insurance. Check out this important information from Car Craft Auto Body so that you're ready.

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 repair center metro east st louis car repair accident dent removalBoth law enforcement officials and insurance companies make determinations on who is at fault, or if both drivers are partially 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 could be that one driver is found to be totally at fault and will therefore be accountable 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 determine whose insurance pays what.

No-fault insurance applies only 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 vehicle.

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 vehicle or an inanimate object such as a tree, pole, house, fence, etc., all would be regarded as a collision accident claim.

What type of accident is considered to be comprehensive?

A car accident that is “other than collision” is regarded as comprehensive if it's covered by your car insurance policy.  Damages to your car 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 depends upon the circumstances of the accident and how many claims you’ve had in recent years. Comprehensive claims are less likely to be your fault, so they usually will not raise your rates. Car accident collision claims are more likely to hike up your rates.

If you are at fault, it’s your first accident and damages are minor, it might 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 probably won’t affect you either. If, however, you have already made a couple of claims in a brief period of time, any kind of claim may affect your rates since you appear to the insurer to be accident-prone.

For example, some auto insurance companies won’t impose a surcharge if the accident didn’t cause damage or injury in excess of $1,000, unless you have had two or more of this type of accident within the last 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.

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

Just how long will an accident stay on my record?

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

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

If there's 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 is also true if you were in an unreported single-car accident that led to no claims.

If there are claims involved, your auto insurance company will discover the accident even if you do not get a police report or personally tell your insurer of the incident. When claims are paid out, auto insurance providers put the claims information into a central database.

When you apply for a new policy with a new insurer, it too will get your claims history, and see any previous accidents and claims you had.

Insurance can be a very confusing thing to consider for drivers in Bridgeton, Chesterfield, Oakville, and St. Louis, Missouri. Thankfully Car Craft Auto Body is here to assist you with every step of the auto body repair process once you have had an accident.