A car accident claim can be a confusing process. If you’ve never been in a car accident or been in the position of utilizing your car insurance before, knowing how to act and defend your claim is essential. Here’s what you need to know about car accident claims and covering property damages and personal injury.
California Insurance Law and Property Damage
Whether an insurance company will pay for the full extent of your property damage depends on the insurance policy and the nature of the accident. In some cases, an at-fault driver’s insurance company will cover the costs of the property damage in an accident. In others, you’ll have to fight to obtain fair compensation for your damages.
California law requires certain minimums for car insurance that apply in an accident:
- $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident bodily injury coverage
- $5,000 in property damage coverage
- Uninsured motorist coverage: $15,000 per person/ $30,000 per accident
- Property Damage for Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists: $3,500
If you’re at fault for an accident, your own liability coverage will kick in to pay for your or another driver’s property damage. If, on the other hand, your property damage results from another driver’s negligence, you will file a claim against his or her policy to compensate for damages.
If an at-fault driver has no insurance, you will file a claim to compensate for damages using your own uninsured/underinsured motorist policy.
Attempting to navigate the claims process following an accident can be as stressful as the accident itself. Having an experienced car accident attorney by your side can help protect your right to full compensation for your property damages under California law.
How Much Can I Receive for My Property Damage?
Generally, an insurance company will compensate you for property damages in the terms outlined in the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. In some cases, the compensation for your property damage can be low. For example, if a driver only has the minimum coverage required by California law and you experienced significant property damage, it might not be enough to cover the full cost of your repairs. If this applies, you’ll have to file a separate claim with your underinsured motorist policy to compensate for the rest. This policy can cover your additional damages, up to your policy amount.
Often, negotiating property damage claims requires the assistance of a car accident attorney. Provide plenty of pictures of what your car looked like after the accident. Before getting repairs yourself, talk to the insurance company and see what procedures they require for property damage claims. Some insurance companies may require repairs at a certain mechanic. Always check with the insurance company before completing repairs and asking for reimbursement later.
What If an Insurance Company Will Not Reimburse Me for Damages?
Unfortunately, many insurance companies would rather find excuses to not pay a claim than help out people in accordance with the policies they pay for. If you’re having trouble getting an insurance company to pay for your property damages, contact a personal injury attorney. Sometimes, the simple act of getting an attorney involved will persuade an insurance company to take your claim more seriously.
Property damage claims require negotiation with an insurance company and designation of fault. The manner in which you receive compensation for property damage will depend on who committed negligence in a car accident and the amount of coverage available on an at-fault driver’s policy. If an at-fault driver’s coverage is not enough to compensate for the full extent of your property damages, other forms of recourse, such as your own underinsured motorist coverage, may exist. The best way to defend your right to full compensation for your damages is to contact an experienced El Cajon personal injury attorney.