Damaged car? Do I use my insurance or the at-fault party insurance for repairs?
Updated: Nov 10, 2020
When your car is damaged in a car crash you often have two options: (1) have your own insurance company pay for repairs to the car or (2) have the at-fault party insurance company pay for the repairs. There are benefits and downsides to using either option.
Before your insurance company pays for the repairs to you car, you must have paid the premium for this option with your insurance company. If you have the applicable insurance coverage, you may have to pay a deductible before the insurance company pays for the repairs. For example, if the damage to your vehicle is $3,000 and you have a $500 deductible, your insurance company will pay $2,500 of the repairs and you will be required to pay the remaining $500. Another downside from using your own insurance policy is rental car coverage. Unless you paid the additional premium for a rental car, your insurance will not provide a rental car for you. Benefits of using your own insurance company is that your insurance company carries a special relationship with you under an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing; and the insurance company must treat your claim for damage to the car with the utmost attention and detail. Another upside to using your own insurance is that the claim for damage to your car may move quicker than if you using the at-fault party insurance company.
If you choose to get your car repaired by the at-fault insurance company, the at-fault insurance will not pay for the damage to your car until it concludes its "investigation." The investigation may take 30 days. That is a long time to wait. During that time, the insurance company likely will not provide you with a rental car. If your car is undriveable, this creates frustration, inequalities, and unfairness given the insurance company is a multi-billion dollar corporate giant. Call me as I may be able to help you find a solution.
A benefit to using the at-fault insurance company is that you will not have to pay your deductible and the insurance company will likely provide you with a rental car. Recently, some insurance companies are forcing you to pay out-of-pocket for your rental car which will later be "reimbursed." If you find yourself with this predicament, please call me as there are pitfalls with the "reimbursement" and you have options if you are unable to afford a rental car.