How to handle property damage after a car accident. What you need to know.

How do I get my car fixed after an accident in Phoenix, Arizona? Is this something I have to do myself?

As part of the personal injury claim process, you have two options and both options will require some involvement by you.  You can either pursue the property damage claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance company or you can pursue it through your own insurance company if your own policy covers it.  Where you choose to get your car repaired remains your choice. Both choices have some benefits and some detriments. 

Pursuing the property damage claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance company

This is your only option if your own insurance policy does not cover property damage claims (i.e. you have liability protection only).  The benefit of pursuing it against the at-fault driver’s insurance company is that you do not have to pay a deductible. The primary downside of this route is that it typically takes longer for you to get your car repaired.  The delay is due to the at-fault driver’s insurance company having to fully investigate the claim, which includes interviewing its insured (the at-fault driver). 

Pursuing the property damage claim through your own insurance company

If you have the coverage, then this is usually a much faster route.  Your own insurance company needs only to speak with you and arrange to have the vehicle inspected either by their agent or at the time the car is taken to the shop prior to performing the repairs.  The downside is that your insurance company will pay for the repair minus the deductible that you are obligated to pay.  If and when your insurance company is repaid by the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you will be reimbursed for the deductible you had to pay.  This reimbursed deductible is contingent upon your own insurance company is reimbursed in full for the amount they had to pay for the repairs to your vehicle.

The reason you will need to be involved in the process is twofold:  (1) you have possession and control over the vehicle; and (2) you have the choice on where to have the vehicle repaired. 

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