Getting Your Car Back In Gear After An Accident
Thousands of car crashes occur in the United States each year, resulting in varying degrees of vehicle damage. After assessing yourself and others for injuries, one of the primary concerns drivers have after an accident is how to get their cars back in gear easily and quickly.
Many drivers rely on their vehicles for commuting to work, getting children to school, or running errands. In the aftermath of an accident, fixing car damage is often a high priority. If the accident occurred at the fault of another driver, it may be up to the other driver—or their auto insurance—to cover the cost, depending on your state’s accident laws.
If you’re unsure what to do after a car accident, you may find it useful to contact an experienced car accident attorney before contacting your auto insurance. An attorney who’s experienced in handling car accident cases can help you determine who’s responsible for covering your car repair costs and help you file a car accident claim for compensation.
How To Get Your Car Fixed After An Accident: Step-By-Step?
Your first steps after a car accident should be to first assess yourself for injury, seek medical care as needed, and gather the information of the other driver, or drivers, involved. It may also be necessary for you to call the police in order for them to file an accident report, depending on the seriousness of the accident.
After consulting a legal professional to help you report the accident and file a claim with your auto insurance, your next steps to get your car back into gear will require attending to any damage done to your vehicle.
If you’ve gotten into a car accident that has caused damage to your vehicle, follow these steps to get your car repaired:
1. Find A Car Repair Shop
To get your car back in working order, you’ll need to choose a repair shop that can assess and repair the damage done to your car. Depending on your insurance carrier, your auto insurance may recommend that you choose a shop from their preferred shop list.
Requiring you to choose a repair shop from their list is illegal in most states, however it might save you time and trouble later on to work with a mechanic that is preferred by your auto insurer.
When deciding which car repair shop to go to, consider these tips:
check if the repair shop is included on your auto insurer’s list of preferred shops, if applicable
check online reviews or ratings of the shop before going in
compare price estimates for repair services
call ahead to ask the shop about their warranties on repairs
make sure their mechanics have the time to get to your repairs quickly and have the equipment and resources necessary to do so
2. Take Your Car To The Repair Shop
Once you’ve chosen a repair shop, call ahead or go online to schedule an appointment with a mechanic. If your vehicle is undriveable, you will need to consider how you’ll be getting your car to the shop.
Be sure to ask your auto insurance if towing costs are included under the roadside assistance coverage included in your policy. Then, consider calling a towing service to transport your vehicle to your shop of choice.
3. Confirm Necessary Repairs And Double-Check With Insurance
Even if you already have an idea of what types of repairs your car needs, a mechanic may come back to you with additional repairs that you hadn’t anticipated. Some mechanics may attempt to persuade you to purchase additional services or repairs that aren’t necessary at this time.
If you’re unsure whether the repairs your mechanic is suggesting are necessary or whether the prices they quote you are reasonable, consider seeking an outside opinion or doing a little research on your own.
However, you likely don’t want to spend too much time negotiating any smaller details. Your auto insurance may require that you get your car repaired within a certain timeframe.
Once you have confirmed the necessary repairs with the mechanic, double-check with your insurance company to see if they require an itemized list of repairs with estimated costs. Your auto insurer may need to approve this list before confirming coverage.
4. Wait For The Repairs
After you’ve dropped your car off and confirmed the services your car will need, the next step is to wait for the repairs to be completed. Depending on the severity of the damage and your mechanic’s schedule, this may take anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
The shop should be able to provide you with an estimate for how long the repairs should take, thereby giving you an idea of any accommodations (e.g. renting a loaner car) you’ll need to acquire in the meantime.
5. Pick Up Your Car
The car repair shop should call to inform you as soon as your car is ready for pickup. Upon picking up your car, make sure to confirm all repairs with the mechanic before driving off. Ask the shop if they offer repair guarantees in case you experience issues with your car and need to come back. If possible, consider taking your car for a short test drive to ensure things are functioning properly.
6. Follow Through With Payment
The method of payment for your car repairs will depend on a few factors. One of the primary factors that will determine payment for car repair costs is who was at fault for the accident.
If you were at fault for the accident, you may be required to pay your policy deductible before receiving coverage from your auto insurer. If it was another driver or motorist who was at fault for the accident, your insurer will probably need to coordinate with their auto insurance company to reimburse you for your deductible and to cover costs.
However, it’s also not uncommon for auto insurers to prefer to pay the repair shop directly for costs rather than providing you with reimbursement. This is more common when you’ve chosen a mechanic on their preferred shop list.
Communicating clearly and often with your auto insurance after an accident is the best way to determine how the payment process will work and what you need to do on your end to make sure all bases are covered. After filing an auto insurance claim for cost coverage, most insurers are required to pay claims within 15 to 30 days, depending on where you live in the U.S.
Fix Your Car Efficiently
By following these steps, you are more apt to ensure your car is repaired quickly, efficiently, and avoid skipping steps that could delay the repair of your vehicle.