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 biggest headaches is often handling insurance. Check out this important info from Car Craft Chesterfield so that you are 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 accountable for the accident?

car repair center chesterfield missouri headlight restoration auto body accidentBoth law enforcement officials and insurance companies make determinations on who is 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 could be that one driver is found to be completely at fault and will thus 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 only to bodily injuries. Your personal injury protection (PIP) pays 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 vehicle 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?

A car accident that is “other than collision” is considered comprehensive if it is covered by your car insurance policy.  Damages to your automobile from fire, vandalism, or theft are comprehensive claims.  Damages from natural occurrences, such as floodwaters, high winds, and hail, are covered by 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 car insurance rates? If yes, for how long?

An accident’s effect 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 generally will not raise your rates. Car accident collision claims are more likely 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 much 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 few claims in a short period of time, any kind of claim may affect your rates since you appear to the insurer to be accident-prone.

For instance, some auto insurance companies won’t impose a surcharge if the accident didn’t cause damage or injury over $1,000, unless you've 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 drivers only for certain types of accidents or if damages were over a particular monetary amount.

A car accident typically will affect your rates anywhere from three to five years; it all depends on state laws and the guidelines of your auto insurance company.

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 have to get a hold of 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 don’t report an accident, does my insurance company 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 unlikely 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 know about the accident even if you do not get a police report or personally inform your insurer of the incident. Whenever claims are paid out, car insurance providers put the claims information into a central database.

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

Insurance can be a very confusing thing to think about for drivers in West County, Wildwood, Ellisville, Ballwin, and Chesterfield, MO. Fortunately Car Craft Chesterfield is here to help you with every step of the auto body repair process once you have had an accident.