Handling Auto Claims: Getting Your Vehicle Repaired
Understand how to handle auto claims getting your vehicle repaired with our insurance experts at Morris & Garritano.
After the Accident: Getting your vehicle repaired
If you’ve been in an auto accident, you’ll likely need to get your vehicle repaired. Dealing with the aftermath of an auto accident is never fun but knowing what to do and feeling prepared can help mitigate any stress and anxiety felt in the situation.
Once your claim is turned in to the insurance company, an adjuster will contact you to get your statement regarding the accident and to begin the repair process.
Even if you’ve already gotten an estimate from a body shop, the adjuster will usually want to send out an independent adjuster (sometimes called an “independent appraiser”) to inspect your vehicle damage.
After the independent adjuster (IA) inspects the vehicle, they will create a detailed estimate for the repair and send it to the company adjuster for review. If the vehicle is repairable, a check will be issued for the cost of repairs, minus your deductible. Heather Ross, the Claims Advocate at Morris & Garritano, notes that, “Insurance companies sometimes have relationships with specific body shops to streamline the inspection and repair process, but you are not required to use one of these shops to repair your vehicle.”
What to expect
Depending on the situation, the company might issue the check jointly to both you and the body shop or may issue payment to either one of you separately. Heather notes that sometimes, if you have a loan on your vehicle, the company may include your lienholder as a payee on the settlement check.
If you have rental car coverage, the company will either set up a reservation with a local rental provider or ask you to submit rental receipts for reimbursement. The company will generally only pay for a rental while your vehicle is actually being repaired; for that reason, it’s usually better to schedule repairs at the beginning of a workweek.
Frequently, the cost of repairs ends up exceeding the original estimate; usually it’s because the damages are more than what could be confirmed by visual inspection alone. If that’s the case, the body shop will request a supplemental payment (commonly called a “supplement”) from the insurance company. Supplements are typically paid directly to the body shop.
If the vehicle is not repairable, the claim will be referred to a total loss adjuster for handling and resolution.
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