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Aftermath of an Auto Accident: Repair vs. Total Loss

Aftermath of an Auto Accident: Repair vs. Total Loss | Society Insurance Blog

Have you ever been faced with the question of whether your vehicle will be repairable after an auto accident? Understanding how this process works, both from the consumer side as well as the insurance carrier’s side will help you resolve the situation, hopefully creating less stress for you in the process.

In the immediate aftermath of an auto accident, what are the necessary steps to get you back on the road? The first step is obvious. Report the accident to your insurance carrier. After the initial fact-gathering stage is complete, your insurance company will usually send a company adjuster (appraiser) or an independent adjuster out to inspect the vehicle. Depending on the severity of the damage, you may be asked to simply submit an estimate or two for the necessary vehicle repairs. This decision will be made based on a number of factors:

  • How old is your vehicle?
  • How many miles are on your vehicle?
  • What is the pre-accident condition of your vehicle?
  • How severe is the damage?

These questions will help the adjuster determine whether your vehicle may be deemed a total loss. What is a total loss? It’s simply when the repairs to your vehicle will exceed the current value of the vehicle (actual cash value or ACV).

The decision not to repair your vehicle can be more complex and the consumer has a voice in this process as well. Each state has different laws governing how this process is handled. For the purposes of simplicity, I will use general guidelines used by insurance carriers. Keep in mind, your state laws may differ.

So, the claims adjuster will use the answers to the questions noted above to determine whether an inspection is needed. It is important the adjuster is made aware of any improvements to the vehicle which could increase the value – like a new transmission, leather seating, sunroof, etc. Many consumers see these as typical upgrades, but they can greatly affect the value of the vehicle. Be sure to note any trim package on your vehicle along with the correct engine size. Again, these are important factors in pinning down the actual cash value.

After the inspection is complete, the adjuster will review the estimate and photos of your vehicle, along with a report estimating the actual cash value of your vehicle, i.e. NADA, Kelley Blue Book. This information will determine whether your vehicle can be repaired. If unrepairable, the adjuster will call you to discuss the value of your vehicle along with the next steps in the process. Don’t hesitate to ask to review the estimate and appraisal completed on your vehicle.

Keep in mind, a vehicle repair or total loss is always subject to one’s collision/comprehensive deductible and any lienholder has first right of payment in the event of a total loss.

Resolving a physical damage claim on your vehicle can be stressful. Remember to be thorough and ask questions.


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Auto Insurance Fraud: 3 Tips to Protect Yourself

While car accidents happen every day, some of them may not be accidents at all. Unfortunately, intentional car accidents and auto insurance fraud are serious risks today. In order to protect yourself from being a victim of insurance fraud, the team of Redshaw Insurance Agency has put together these tips to help you if you ever find yourself facing this type of situation.

 

  1. Be prepared for an accident at all times. Being involved in a car accident is a stressful experience, and it can be hard for some people to remember everything that should be done in this scenario. However, this is something that fraudsters are hoping to take advantage of! In order to prepare yourself ahead of time, it’s a good idea to have an accident kit in your vehicle. This “kit” should include essentials like your insurance information, a number for a roadside assistance company, a notepad and pen, and your vehicle’s registration information. It’s also a good idea to keep a disposable camera in your car in order to take pictures of any damage that occurs, especially if you do not have a camera phone. Having these things on hand will reduce the likelihood that you will become a victim of fraud.
  2. Focus on the road. Many insurance fraud schemes begin by targeting distracted drivers. Be sure to avoid using your phone or engaging in other distracting activities while driving so that you do not appear to be an easy target for a contrived auto accident.
  3. Always call the police. Call the authorities as soon as possible. Avoid speaking with the other motorist, and avoid confrontations at all costs. Let the police handle the situation, especially if you suspect fraud. Some flustered victims make the mistake of talking to the other driver and saying statements that can later be used against them. Remember, the best thing you can do is remain calm and quiet, and let the professionals handle the details of the accident.

Insurance fraud is a serious concern today, and it can unfortunately be hard to know for sure how to act in face of this stressful situation. Remember these three tips to help prevent yourself from being a victim of auto insurance fraud, and remember to contact your Redshaw Insurance agent for more assistance!


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Factors that Affect your Auto Insurance

Auto insurance is required in all states to operate a licensed vehicle on the American roads. The minimum requirements are different, but the amount required will vary by state.

Auto insurance companies balance many variables when establishing your coverage premiums. Redshaw Insurance would like to reveal some of the factors that affect your auto insurance:

  1. Your gender: Male car insurance premiums tend to be higher that female ones; it is not sexism, it is just based on facts. Statistics show that males are more reckless drivers than females, and more males drive intoxicated than females do.
  2. Your car: sports cars and other luxury lines are more expensive to insure. The reason is simple: the car costs more, so it’s more expensive to replace. Also, insurers often present discounts to cars with better safety ratings.
  3. Your age: just like most things in life, with age comes experience. The age spectrum is a reverse bell curve. Younger drivers are more reckless and do not fully understand the rules of the road and flows in traffic. Older drivers tend to lose the physical capabilities (eyesight, strength, and brain function) to be an effective driver. Both ends of the spectrum are more at risk of getting into an accident.
  4. Your driving record: accidents can not only hurt you or your car but your driving record as well. Even if an accident is not your fault, an accident claim will increase your premiums. The department of motor vehicles issue special forms of auto insurance, called SR-22 insurance (a.k.a. high risk auto insurance), for people who are deemed “high risk,” whether DUI’s, repeat traffic offenses, or driving without a valid license.
  5. Who is driving your car: as part of your auto insurance coverage, you have to deem a car’s operator as a “primary” or “occasional” driver. Depending on who else drives your car, a spouse or a child for example, your insurance premiums could increase or decrease.

For more information on auto insurance coverage options at Redshaw Insurance, contact one of our knowledgeable agents, or call our Havana (309-543-3661) or Rushville (217-322-2810) offices today!