Car Accidents and Property Damage

No matter how minor the accident is, all car accidents usually involve some property damage. It could just be a scratch on the door or your car may look like it has been by a wrecking ball. You are entitled to have your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company pay for repairs. You car will either be “totaled” or repaired. Here’s an overview as to how each system works:


Auto Accident Damage Recovery

Repairing Your Car

The insurance company will likely recommend a repair company. But you may not like the price they quote or the quality of the parts. You can go to another repair shop but if the price is higher, you may be required to pay the difference, according to the Insurance Information Institute (

Totaling Your Car

An insurance company will total your car if company officials determine that the costs of repairs are more than what the car is worth. You will be paid the actual cash value for it and the car will be auctioned off for salvage in most cases. However, many people would prefer to keep their car and will take the cash value minus their deductible.

If You Can’t Recoup Your Property Damage

Sometimes insurance companies will not pay for property damages. The reasons include:

  • The accident is not your fault (no fault auto accident) and they want you to recoup your costs from the other insurance company.
  • You didn’t file the claim in a timely manner.
  • The company disputes whether your policy includes coverage for the type of accident.

If you believe you are entitled to recover your expenses for the property damages, you have options. You can file a complaint with the company. However, most of the time these appeals are useless since the company rarely rules against itself. You can also appeal to your state’s insurance commissioner if you believe the company is doing something unethical or criminal. But these complaints take a long time to process and you may not win.

Your best option for appealing your case is to hire an attorney. An attorney will determine if you are eligible for to recover your property damage losses. You may find that you are eligible for more than property damages. If you lost time from work or had injuries, you can be reimbursed for these expenses. And you may be eligible for additional damages for pain and suffering. However, if you don’t consult an attorney, you will not know what you can recover.