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How to Determine Damages After a Car Accident

Dealing With the Other Insurance Company


Make certain the other driver has all pertinent information to turn over to his or her insurer, including your name, address, telephone numbers and vehicle type.


Follow up with a telephone call to the other driver's insurance agent and outline any injuries and damages.


Cooperate completely when asked for estimates of damage or when asked to let your vehicle be inspected by a claims representative.


Present a list of other property damaged in the accident: luggage, cameras, cellular phones.


Know that your claim extends beyond the actual costs of injury to include pain and suffering and lost work time.

Filing a Claim


Secure a copy of the police report.


Know what protection your insurance policy provides.


Sign a medical release so that injury records will be made available to the insurance company.


Make a claim for any injuries under medical pay coverage, even if you have other coverages or if the other person is responsible.


Make a claim for injury, lost wages or extended disability under uninsured motorist coverage if the other party was at fault but not insured or inadequately insured.


Secure at least two car repair estimates, or three value appraisals if your car was totaled.


Present estimates and allow your car to be photographed and inspected.


Present bills for towing and storage costs.


Ask your agent to help arrange for a temporary substitute vehicle if you have rental reimbursement coverage.


Notify your agent of any damage from the accident discovered during the course of car repairs.

Tips and Warnings

  • Remain polite but persistent when dealing with insurance representatives.
  • Certain losses resulting from wind, hail, flood or vandalism are paid under comprehensive coverage, and no deductible (or a lesser one) may apply.
  • Be patient to avoid losing compensation for damages that may not be readily apparent.
  • Expect your car's value to be determined by its condition at the time of loss. A high mileage car is worth less than an identical car with less mileage.
  • Be prepared to pay any deductible to the repair shop.
  • The insurance company will be allowed to deal only with the attorney if you use one.

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