A Rental Car Isn’t a Given
Many people tend to assume after an accident they can call their auto insurance company and be provided a rental while repairs are being done, or while they are looking for a new vehicle in the case of a total loss, but much of the time that is not true. It doesn’t matter if you believed you signed up for “full coverage,” have collision, comprehensive, and all the works; if you did not specifically sign up for rental coverage, then you will not be getting a rental. Also remember that even if you do have rental coverage, it only applies in the event of an accident, weather event, theft, fire, or vandalism, not just because you’ll be taking the vehicle to the shop because it broke down, needs some work, etc. There are also several circumstances where you will have to wait to receive a rental vehicle; most companies will not set up rentals until the day the repairs commence, and in many circumstances the claims adjustor will have to review the file to give the okay for a rental, which usually takes between several days or weeks to discern.
Wear and Tear is Not Covered
Transmission going out? Want to get your AC fixed? Need to get your suspension fixed? Vehicle suddenly won’t start? Need new breaks? None of these circumstances are covered by auto insurance. Save yourself the time and trouble of filing a claim for any wear and tear issues as it will be rejected. If the incident is not directly related to an accident, weather, theft, fire, or vandalism event, 99.99% of the time it will not be covered.
Only Certain Circumstances Elicit Your Insurance Company to Set Up a Tow
Oftentimes the first thing people do after getting into an accident and realizing their vehicle is no longer drivable is to call their insurance company for a tow. In many cases this is a mistake, as unless you have the coverage related to the incident, such as comprehensive or collision, they will not set up a tow for you. Also, in various circumstances such as fire, an unlisted driver, unlisted vehicle, etc, they also will not be able to set up a tow for you. Insurance companies also often use third party towing services, meaning they will receive the information and then dispatch it to a local company, oftentimes this adds considerable wait times, and sometimes cases being misplaced. It saves time and confusion to just call a local tow company directly to set it up. If after speaking with the claims adjustor for your claim you ascertain that the tow would have been covered, you can submit the receipt for reimbursement.
Yes, You DO Have To Pay Your Deductible!
Regardless of if the accident was your fault or not, if you file through your insurance company, you will have to pay your deductible. If the other party does have valid insurance it is possible that you may get that deductible back in the end, but it is actually fairly uncommon and subrogation usually takes an incredibly long time. Any circumstances where you do not have another's valid insurance to pin lability on; such as a hit and run, the other party was uninsured or the driver or vehicle wasn't covered by the policy, a deer hit you, a kid hit a ball through your window, the vehicle was vandalized while you were sleeping, etc- you are one hundred percent stuck with that deductible. Also, before asking why your deductible is so high, know that you are the one that opted for that deductible when you signed up for the policy.
Just Liability? Your Insurance Will Not Fix Your Vehicle
It should go without saying that if you signed up for liability only coverage, your auto insurance company is not going to be there to assist you in getting your vehicle fixed or paying for any medical bills. Yes this does also include circumstances such as striking an animal, weather events, engine fires, etc. They also will not tow your vehicle, give you a rental, etc. Many people seem to believe liability will help them get their vehicle fixed if something occurs other than an accident, but it does not. You are effectually on your own for anything that happens to the vehicle. If you are involved in an accident with someone else and you believe it was their fault, file through their insurance company, (or their policy if they have they same provider as you) as that would be your best bet to get the damages paid for.
The Claims Process Takes Time
The claims adjustor assigned to your case will have to conduct an investigation, this often includes pulling camera footage, reviewing recent policy changes, taking statements from all parties, etc. It will be a while before you hear a liability decision. The same goes for estimates and repairs, your vehicle is not going to get fixed overnight. They have to schedule a repair representative in your area to examine and prepare an estimate on the vehicle and then repairs can commence at a suitable shop, but remember many shops are really backed up nowadays and even more are having great difficulty getting the needed parts in because of the current supply shortages. Don’t call your insurance company repeatedly about how angry you are that your vehicle hasn’t been fixed when the parts needed are on backorder for several months, there is nothing they can do therefore, you will just be wasting your time.
Your Auto Insurance Company Can’t Answer What Ifs or Legal Questions for You
People often call their auto insurance provider to ask what would happen if they filed on claim on this or that, or whose fault would it be in such situation. Other times they ask if they should get a lawyer, go to the hospital, or about how much their insurance would go up if they filed a particular claim. Those are not questions that they can answer for you, they are an insurance provider, not a legal or general assistance line. They also cannot predict the future, therefore knowing if, and or how much your rate would go up cannot be determined until a claim is actually finalized, as the investigation, estimate, repairs, liability decision, payout amount, etc. would all effect that determination.
You Do Not Have to Call Your Insurance Provider Right the Moment You Have an Accident
I know those little insurance cards they give out sometimes say, “don’t assume fault,” and “call us right after an accident.” Yet those are really just suggestions; obviously if you rear-ended someone at a stoplight, you’d most likely assume fault, so take those sayings with a grain of salt. Often calling right after the accident can be a mistake, background noise such as wind, sirens, dinging doors, or even your own shaken up voice can often get in the way of the representative hearing you clearly. To properly file a claim you will need a good amount of information. If you do not have all the information on the other vehicle and driver it is best to wait until you are in a safe and quiet location to file a claim, walking back and forth on the side of the road to get license plate info, addresses, the year, make, and model of the vehicle, etc is not only dangerous but wastes time. Oftentimes if the police arrive on the scene they will complete a driver exchange form for you which will list all the information you will later need, this also helps alleviate angry or unpleasant communications between drivers. A lot of insurance companies have no time frame as to when you can file a claim and for others the shortest amount of time is two years, so don’t panic, you will have plenty of time to put in that claim later.