Has your car ever been damaged in an accident or some other incident? If so, you were probably relieved to remember you have car insurance to help pay for repairs. But how exactly does car insurance cover vehicle repairs? Knowing what damage is covered and when can save you money and hassle when an accident or incident occurs.
Understanding Your Car Insurance Policy
First, it’s important to understand your car insurance policy and what types of damage it covers. Most standard policies cover repairs due to collision, meaning contact with another object like another vehicle. They also usually cover comprehensive damage from non-collision incidents like vandalism, theft, fire, or natural disasters. Damage from mechanical breakdown or normal wear and tear is not covered.
Next, look at your deductible, which is the amount you pay out-of-pocket toward repairs before insurance kicks in. For example, if your deductible is $500 and repairs cost $2,000, you would pay $500 and your insurer would cover the remaining $1,500. Higher deductibles equals lower premiums but more money you pay per repair.
Now let’s talk about when your insurer will pay for covered repairs. This depends on who is determined to be at fault in the accident. If another driver caused the damage, their liability coverage should pay. However, in one-vehicle collisions or if the other driver is uninsured, your own collision coverage will be used after paying the deductible.
Comprehensive claims are simpler – your insurer will always cover this damage after the deductible, regardless of fault. Just be sure to report incidents promptly to avoid any issues with your claim.
The repairs covered will depend on your policy limits. Most insurers pay the lesser of either the depreciated cash value of your vehicle before the incident or the cost to restore it to “pre-loss condition.” Either way, the repair shop’s estimate is a key factor. Limits for rental cars while yours is in the shop will also apply.
Knowing exactly what’s included in your policy can prevent surprises. For example, “new OEM parts” coverage means repairs will use original manufacturer parts, while basic coverage allows aftermarket parts. Also look for “removable excess” if you want deductibles waived for windshield repair.
Tips for Working with Your Car Insurer
Finally, a few tips: Always get multiple repair estimates to submit, take detailed accident photos, save all receipts, and don’t authorize any repairs without your insurer’s approval. Ask about guarantees on workmanship. If your car is totaled, thoroughly review the settlement offer before accepting.
Understanding when car insurance kicks in for repairs can make the claims process smoother. Carefully review your policy so you know what is covered when an accident or damage occurs. Knowing what to expect from your insurer and repair shop allows you to rest easy knowing you have the repairs covered.
If you have auto body damage that needs to be repaired near Bellingham, MA, look no further than Liberty Auto Body! We will work with your insurance and get your vehicle looking its best in no time. Contact us today to get started.
FAQs About Car Repair Coverage
Q: What types of damage or losses does car insurance cover?
A: Most car insurance policies cover repairs due to collisions, accidents, vandalism, theft, fire, flood, hail, falling objects like trees, and collisions with animals. Mechanical breakdowns or routine maintenance are generally not covered.
Q: Does my car insurance cover repairs if I’m at fault in an accident?
A: Yes, if you have collision coverage on your policy. Your insurer will pay for repairs after you pay your collision deductible, regardless of fault.
Q: Does my insurance cover repairs if someone else caused the accident?
A: Yes, the at-fault driver’s liability coverage should pay for the repairs. If they are uninsured, your own collision coverage will pay after your deductible.
Q: What does my deductible apply to?
A: The deductible is the amount you pay out-of-pocket for covered repairs before your insurance kicks in. It applies to collision and comprehensive claims.
Q: How does my insurer determine if my car is totaled?
A: Insurers total a vehicle when the estimated repair cost exceeds a percentage (often 75-80%) of the car’s pre-accident value. This is also called a total loss.
Q: Can I get OEM or aftermarket parts for repairs?
A: It depends on your policy. “New OEM parts” coverage guarantees original manufacturer parts. More basic coverage allows cheaper aftermarket components.
Q: Does rental car coverage apply while my car is being repaired?
A: Yes, if you have rental reimbursement coverage. This helps pay for a rental car for a certain time period while your vehicle is being repaired.
Q: Should I get multiple repair estimates?
A: Yes, always get estimates from multiple shops and submit them to your insurer. This can prevent any issues with the amount they approve.