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What Is Considered Property Damage in a Car Accident?

Posted On 06/29/20 by Begam Marks & Traulson, PA

Auto accident claims generally involve two main types of damages: medical bills and property repairs. When a car accident damages property, such as vehicles and their contents, owners have the right to pursue compensation for repairs or replacements from at-fault parties in Arizona. Knowing how to seek fair compensation for your property damages after a car accident can help you get the most out of your claim.

What Compensation Can You Get for Your Auto Property Damage Claim?

An auto property damage claim seeks compensation for a damaged vehicle. It focuses on the dents, scratches and other damage a car incurred in the collision, as well as how much it will cost to fix them. It demands financial compensation from the party that caused the car accident and damaged the vehicle. A claim could also request compensation for damaged property inside the vehicle; personal property such as radios, speakers, smartphones and laptops.

  • Vehicle repairs. Many auto property damage claims seek compensation for the costs of vehicle repairs. The claimant can calculate these costs based on price estimates obtained from professional auto mechanics at a repair shop. A claim can seek the full costs of all repairs it will take to return the vehicle to its pre-accident condition.
  • Totaled vehicle replacement. Some car accidents result in total losses – vehicles that would cost more to repair than their total value. If a mechanic deems a vehicle a total loss, he or she will provide a written report saying so for the vehicle owner to submit to an insurance company. Then, the insurer may offer a settlement to make up the full pre-crash value of the car.
  • Travel expenses. A property damage compensation request can also include related damages, such as the costs of a tow truck, rental vehicle, and gas to drive to and from repair shops. You may or may not qualify for compensation for these losses depending on the situation and the insurance coverage available.

The value of your auto property damage claim will depend on factors such as the extent of your vehicle damages and whether the car is repairable. It can also depend on the amount of insurance coverage available. If someone else caused the crash, his or her insurance and your insurance combined should cover your full damages. If you were at fault, however, you would need collision or comprehensive insurance to cover your costs, in most cases.

How Is the Fair Market Value of Your Car Determined?

If an insurance company needs to reimburse you for the full pre-accident value of your totaled vehicle, it is necessary to understand the fair market value of your car. Learn this for yourself to make sure the insurance company handles your claim fairly. Determine fair market value using a website such as Kelley Blue Book. This will record all information related to your automobile, including its accident history, and give you an accurate estimate of what is worth in today’s market.

If you do not enter the recent accident during your Kelley Blue Book search, you can discover what your car would have been worth without the collision on its record. Calculating fair market value can give you the ability to seek compensation either for the full pre-accident car value or the difference between what your car used to be worth and what it is now worth from the liable insurance company.

When in Doubt, Talk to a Car Accident Attorney

Property damage repairs are just one category of damages available during a car accident claim. You could also qualify for compensation for your past and future medical bills, related losses of income, legal fees, physical pain, and emotional suffering. Contact a car accident attorney in Phoenix for an overview of all the damages you could demand during an auto accident claim. A lawyer can help you accurately calculate the full value of your auto damages, or the fair market value for a replacement. Then, a lawyer can represent you during insurance negotiations or a car accident suit for optimal results.