Getting My Car Repaired
A Part of the Georgia Car Damage Manual: How to Get Your Car Repaired or Paid-as-Totaled after an Accident
Your car should be repaired properly, so that it looks and runs as well as it did before the wreck. As long as this can be done without totaling the car, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is responsible for paying for these repairs.
Start by contacting the at-fault driver’s insurance company, as you would to report the claim. Once you are in touch with the insurance adjuster, the next step is to select a repair shop to fix your car. Insurance companies often recommend certain repair shops. While you are not required to use the insurer’s recommended repair facility, many people find it easier and faster to do so. If you’re still making payments on your car, you should also check with your lender to see if they have any requirements for authorized repair shops.
Once you have found a repair shop, the next step is to get an estimate for the cost of repairs. If you’re using the insurance company’s preferred shop, you may not have any involvement in this part of the process. If you’ve decided to use a different repair shop, you should first seek approval from the insurance company for the estimated cost of repairs. This is because insurance companies will only pay what they believe is a reasonable amount for repairs. If the repair shop of your choice charges a higher amount, you could end up on the hook for the additional cost unless you obtain prior approval. You may ask the shop you choose to call the insurance company directly, so that you do not need to be involved in this negotiation.
Before you have your car repaired, you should try to make sure the adjuster has inspected it. If you get your car repaired before the adjuster can inspect it, the insurance company can try to reduce the amount reimbursed to you by claiming some of the damage that was repaired was already there before the accident.
If it important to you that your car is repaired using only original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, you should request this in advance. The insurance company and repair shop must identify non-OEM parts in the estimate, and your repair estimate must include a disclosure statement stating that the manufacturer or distributor of the part warrants the non-OEM parts, not the vehicle manufacturer. Ultimately, the insurance company may refuse to cover OEM parts, as long as the aftermarket parts are of like kind and quality and comply with the law regarding the required disclosure statement and identification of aftermarket parts.
Once your car is repaired, you should go over the repairs that were made before you drive home. Ask the mechanic to walk you through the repairs. Go over the itemized bill and check it against the estimate. If something is different, ask why. Finally, take your car for a test drive. If there are any issues with the repairs, you should insist they be addressed before accepting the car.
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Compensation for Diminished Value