Collision Repair Tips: What to Do After a Car Accident

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February 15, 2024

Do’s and Don’ts After a Car Accident: Collision Repair Edition

Your complete guide to collision repair after an accident. Learn to navigate the car accident repair process with ease and efficiency.

Being in a car accident can be a scary and overwhelming experience. Even minor fender benders can cause confusion about what steps to take next for car repair after accident near me. Follow this guide of do’s and don’ts after a auto accident to ensure you go through the collision repair process smoothly.

Assess the Damage

First, you must assess the damage to your vehicle. Take plenty of photos from all angles to document the extent of the damage. You will use this documentation for insurance claims and collision repair tips for after an accident. If possible, move your vehicle to a safe location out of traffic and turn on your hazard lights.

While minor damage may have you wondering can I repair my own car after an accident. However, it’s best to have a professional auto body repair shop inspect even small dents or scratches. Searching for ‘collision repair near me’ should help you find a reputable auto body shop. This type of shop will have the proper tools and expertise to diagnose and repair your vehicle. Read more about what to do At The Scene.

Check on Your Safety

Next, carefully assess that you and your passenger do not have any immediate signs of injury. Adrenaline can hide injuries so carefully check yourself and others for cuts, bruises, or other trauma. Even if you feel fine, see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident as some injuries take time to manifest.

Contact the Authorities

Call 911 to report the accident and request medical assistance if needed. Provide the exact location for car accident repair process and ask for police to document the scene. Obtain a copy of the police report which will be useful for insurance claims later.

Exchange Information

When you are involved in an accident, collect key contact information from the other driver. This includes their name, phone number, driver’s license number, insurance information, and license plate number. Also get contact details for any passengers or witnesses. Having this information readily available speeds up the insurance claims process after a car accident.

Including Tow Coverage in Your Auto Policy

Confirm that your auto policy includes collision coverage to ensure you can have your vehicle towed from the scene. Basic liability insurance, which is the minimum legal coverage, does not cover towing if you cause an accident. Additionally, for non-accident tows like breakdowns, you need separate roadside assistance coverage. This add-on covers services including towing, battery jump starts, and flat tire changes.

Notify Your Insurance Company

If you don’t have a personal injury attorney, contact your insurance provider as soon as possible after the accident. Discuss whether you need to file a claim and how to proceed with collision repair. Review your car insurance coverage details and understand the claims process. If the accident was your fault, your insurance will cover repair costs minus your deductible.

If the at fault driver does not have insurance, you will need uninsured motorist coverage on your auto policy. This type of coverage helps pay for repairs if the at-fault driver has no insurance. If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, you’ll have to pay for repairs yourself. In this case, you could ask the at-fault driver to pay out-of-pocket if their insurance lapsed.

In these situations, it’s crucial to know how to get your car fixed after an accident without insurance. This might involve negotiating repair costs directly with a repair shop or seeking alternative financial assistance. Many potential scenarios exist after an accident. Consulting a lawyer can help expedite insurance claims or recover costs if the insurer refuses payment. Read more about handling insurance HERE

Determine if Your Vehicle is Repairable

The insurance adjuster will assess damage to classify your vehicle as either repairable or totaled. If your vehicle is repairable, you might wonder how long do I have to repair my car after an accident. That timeline can vary based on the extent of the damage and your policy details

Factors like age and extent of damage determine when is it not worth repairing a car. If repair costs exceed your car’s value, the insurer will classify it as a total loss. In this case, they will pay you the car’s value rather than the full repair costs. These factors assist in determining is it worth repairing a car after an accident.

Choose a Reputable Repair Shop

When choosing a repair shop for car repair after collision, look for one with a solid track record. Select an auto repair shop with excellent reviews and experience navigating the insurance claims process. When repairing your vehicle, it’s important to weigh the cost of repairing against your insurance limits. Make sure the cost of repairs aligns with what your insurance policy will cover.

Check out the Long Beach Collision Center’s guide for more detailed tips on collision repair after an accident. At a minimum, read reviews and ask for referrals from satisfied customers. Avoid shops that pressure you to use specific insurers or replacement parts.

Know Your Rights

Georgia follows the 50 Percent Bar Rule for accidents. This means you cannot recover losses if you are more than 50% at fault for the collision. For more information detailing what to do after a car accident in Georgia, check out this AJC article. Finally, discuss your options with a personal injury lawyer regarding accident liability and options to recoup costs.

Manage Rentals and Reimbursements

Your insurance may cover a rental car during repairs. Standard collision repairs often take 1-2 weeks. Ask the insurance company and the shop ‘how long it does take to repair a car after an accident’ so you can plan accordingly.

Discuss options with the repair shop as many work with rental companies. Understand timelines for reimbursements and work with the shop to streamline payments from insurers.

Be Proactive

Act promptly rather than waiting for the insurance company or other at-fault driver. Start the claims process quickly yourself to get your car back safely on the road after collision repair. Ask questions and understand every recommended repair. A reputable shop will communicate frequently on repair times and needed collision repairs before and after the accident.

If you find yourself saying, ‘insurance company taking too long to fix my car’, contact contacting them for an update. If you do not like their response, explore your legal options to expedite the process.

Keep Records

Maintain thorough records including accident photos, repair estimates, rental agreements and all communications about the claim. Stay organized. This information will continue to be important throughout the repair process and any potential legal claims later on.

Additionally, there may be cases where the at-fault driver wants to pay out of pocket for your repairs. This is especially true when the do not want to involve the police or their insurance company. If you go this route, ensure you document such agreements carefully.

Consider Diminished Value

You should address the diminished value after fixing your vehicle at a nearby collision repair shop. A repaired vehicle is not worth as much as an undamaged one. It’s important to determine what your car is worth post-repair.

Talk to a lawyer about a diminished value claim. This can help recover the value lost after repairs.

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