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3: Analyze Your Circumstances

Repairing Your Car After an Accident

Body ShopIf you encounter problems settling your claim:

  • Contact your agent and share any supporting documentation you have.
  • Check your policy for arbitration or appraisal services to help with disputes.
  • Contact your state insurance department.
  • Consult with an independent arbitrator or a lawyer. 

When you file a claim, your insurance company will assign an adjustor to make a repair estimate on the claim. The adjustor likely will use Kelley Blue Book or the National Association of Automobile Dealers to obtain a depreciated value for your vehicle. 

Know your rights to get the highest value for your vehicle:

  • The claim adjustor’s figure is a benchmark for what they think the vehicle is worth. Get your own independent estimate from a certified mechanic. 
  • You do not have to sign the agreement for the insurer’s estimate. You should get at least one estimate on your own before agreeing on a cost.
  • You can choose the repair shop you want to use. You don’t have to use a shop in your insurance company’s Direct Repair Program (a list of repair shops and dealers vetted and preapproved by your insurance company).
  • You don’t have to use generic parts to restore your vehicle; you can choose to use original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. However, you may have to pay the price difference if your policy is based on using generic parts. 
  • You can argue your case for the cost of repair with the adjustor. Have estimates to back up your claims along with any records on your vehicle maintenance or upgrades.  
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