Who Pays for Damages in a Car Accident?

Car accidents are far too common and can ruin more than just your day. It’s an unfortunate reality that the first thought that comes to mind after an accident is, “how much is this going to cost?” An accident can mean unplanned fees and expensive bills, from car repairs to medical bills if you’re injured. Sure, you have insurance, but who actually pays for the damages in a car accident? And what if an uninsured driver hits you? 

We hope to ease your mind about some of the financial burden that comes with a car accident by providing you with clear information about paying for car accident damages. 

 

What are Damages? 

Damages are any problems or injuries to you or your vehicle sustained during an accident. Damages may also include any damage to property (such as knocking down a mailbox or light pole). Damages may be as small as buffing and painting over scratches in a car door or as serious as completely replacing a totaled car. 

Damages may also include bills for medical treatment if parties in the car accident were injured and require medical attention. Pre-existing conditions and fault may be determined to evaluate the extent of the damages and which party is responsible. 

 

Fault

Generally, the at-fault driver is responsible for repairing damages of a car accident. This can get tricky when fault is disputed or when the at-fault driver does not have insurance. It’s important to call for police support in the event of an accident and to file a report so that any dispute can be handled appropriately for insurance. 

In most cases, your insurance will cover your claims for damages to your vehicle, whether you are at fault or not, and then seek restitution from the at-fault party’s insurance if you are not at fault. If you are at-fault, your particular auto insurance coverage will be an important factor. Collision coverage varies and may or may not protect you from at-fault damages to another’s vehicle. You may be responsible for meeting a deductible before the insurance coverage kicks in to cover the damages. 

 

What to Do

If you find yourself involved in a car accident, be sure to gather and keep as much information as possible. Call police for a report, take photos, and get the insurance and contact information for any involved drivers or passengers just in case. As soon as you can, take your vehicle to a trusted auto body shop for a brief assessment and/or quote for the repair. Some insurance companies have preferred partners for auto body or glass repair shops, but it’s always smart to get a second opinion. 

 

Contact Schneider Auto Body

Schneider Auto Body Shop manages collision repair every single day. We know how important your vehicle is to you and just how devastating a car accident can be. Schneider Auto works tirelessly to quickly repair your vehicle and make working with insurance an easier step of the process, no matter your coverage or which driver is at fault. Contact us today for more information about our world-class collision repair or any other car services you may need.

Discussion Points For You And Your Insurance Agent

Discussion points for you and your insurance agent

Here’s some advice to think about before you have the need to make a claim.  

Check Your Policy Liability Limits

In Utah, the minimum requirement for property damage liability insurance is $15,000. That means if you are at fault in an accident your insurance company will only pay up to $15,000 to fix the other vehicle(s), and any other damage you may have caused. You could be personally responsible for anything over that amount. If you do not want to be at risk, talk to your agent about higher limits. It will not add much to your premiums, and helps you sleep better.

Verify That You Have Rental Car Coverage On Your Policy

Most drivers think ‘full coverage’ includes rental car coverage.  The time to find out is before you need it, and it sure makes things easier if you are in an accident. Rental car coverage costs typically add less than $20 in premiums every 6 months, and saves you from bumming rides or waiting at bus stops to get to work, school, or the slopes.

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) vs Aftermarket Parts

Most insurance companies will recommend the least expensive parts for repairs. That means repairing your vehicle using aftermarket parts made in China or Taiwan or used parts form a wrecking yard. If it is important to you to have new, genuine parts on your beloved car or truck, then talk to your agent about getting a policy that specifies whether OEM or aftermarket parts will be used for your repair.

Note: A good insurance agent is worth their weight in gold. It is great to have someone to discuss a potential claim with before deciding whether it makes sense to actually file a claim.

 

Additional resources

Utah Insurance Department

https://insurance.utah.gov/auto-home/auto/autoclaim.php