How to Determine Your Car Accident Claim Value
If you have been involved in a car accident, you may be wondering just how much your accident claim is worth. The value of your car accident claim depends on the type of injury, the cost of repair or medical treatment, the extent and severity of the damage, and the cause of the accident. Know how to calculate the value of your car accident claim, and get a settlement that adequately recoups your losses.
Calculating Bodily Injury
When you prepare to file a bodily injury claim you will need to know how much you are owed. Things such as the severity of the injury, the total amount of your medical bills, the degree of negligence in causing the accident and any lasting or permanent effects (disability) caused by the accident all play a role in the auto insurance claim's value. To calculate your claim, keep track of any and all medical expenses, ongoing treatments, costs to get to and from doctors appointments, and any lost income due to missed work or business opportunities. Calculate any cost associated with your injury and factor it in to your claim!
If you have been seriously injured, consult an attorney. An experienced car accident attorney can negotiate all aspects of your auto insurance claim and help determine the claim's value and gain a larger claim settlement.
Property Damage Accident Claims
If you have sustained any property damage due to an auto accident, make sure you get the reimbursement you are owed. As you prepare your property damage claim, provide the value of the property, the extent of the damage, the cost of the repairs, and the cause of the accident. In the case of damage to your auto, the insurance company of the negligent party will pay for either the repairs or the value of the car in the event it is totaled.
An insurance company will pay for the market value of the car at the time of accident as determined by sources such as Kelley Blue Book or Edmondson. These sources provide a good starting point, but there are factors that can increase your claim's value such as:
- Condition of your auto- Is it in excellent condition, clean interior with little wear, no prior damage and paint job in excellent condition?
- Your auto's features (CD changer, Air condition, MP3 player, Alarm, etc) could increase its value. Point out any you think the insurance adjuster may have missed.
- Recent maintenance on your car (tune up, oil change or transmission service) may not net you more money. The items above are considered maintenance items that are necessary and really do not increase the value of the car. However, make any mention of any special improvements to your auto such as painting the exterior or wheel rims.
- Make sure the year, make and model (EX, LS, XE, etc) with or without 4WD are all correct. Not accounting for the correct model could get you less money.
Provide documentation of all the items that were damaged and any features that would enhance the value of your car! You may have to present repair estimates to the insurance company, so make sure you have a qualified mechanic look at the vehicle and give you a fair estimate to help you file the claim.
Extremely High or Low Auto Insurance Claim Value
If your claim value is below or only slightly above your deductible payment then you should take care of the repairs without involving the insurance company. Reporting a claim to your insurance company will tarnish your claim history and is not worth it for small dollar events. Even if the insurance does not pay out anything on the auto insurance claim, it could cost you in a premium hike by losing claim free discounts and other surcharges. Calculate the claim value and check your deductible before you file a car accident claim!If you think the damages are below your deductible, get an estimate to be sure before you submit a claim. If you find out that the cost to repair is less than your deductible, it may be best to self insure and pay the damages out of your pocket before reporting your claim in order to preserve your claim free history.
If the damages are extremely high (bodily injury and/or property damage) and exceed the negligent party's limits of liability on their auto insurance policy, contact an auto accident attorney right away. This is the best way to reserve your rights and to collect what is owed in damages. The auto accident attorney will be able to determine your claim's value and if necessary, file the appropriate law suits against the negligent party.
Valuing a car accident claim does not require great expertise, but is a critical step in getting the settlement you deserve. Make sure you take the time to properly value your car accident claim before contacting the insurance company! Going into the process with a firm starting point will make you more likely to get the claim value that you deserve.