How To Handle Property Damage Claims For Your Teen
I am Seth Smiley of the Smiley Law Firm, and today in the Parents of Teen Drivers Facebook Group, we are talking about how to deal with the insurance company after an accident has happened.
As I have mentioned in previous videos, as an attorney, we often deal with personal injury claims, but a property damage claim is entirely separate.
It can be frustrating to deal with an insurance company for a property damage claim, and it might be difficult to find an attorney to help if there is no personal injury claim involved. Some property damage claims are run of the mill and easy to process. An example of this would be if your teen were rear-ended, and the accident’s liability was clear. In this case, the vehicle would be taken to the shop, and the other driver’s insurance would pay to have it fixed.
Issues often develop if there are contested liability. If it is 50% of the teen driver’s fault and 50% is the responsibility of the other person. The process will be long and drawn out, and the other person’s insurance will not have your best interest in mind and won’t quickly pay for repairs – you can expect slow and low pay.
The best way to protect against this is to have full insurance coverage on your vehicle. It doesn’t necessarily mean having UM coverage, which covers uninsured motorists, but it should include comprehensive and liability coverage.
With this type of insurance, you can either wait for the other side’s insurance to pay for repairs to your car (which could take months) or pay a deductible and claim on your side. I often recommend this, as you can get the repairs to your car carried out quickly.
Then your insurance company will go into arbitration with the other insurance company, which can be a long (six to nine-month) process. If you are found to not be at fault, you can expect a check from your insurance company to cover the deductible that you paid.
I often see issues when people only have liability insurance and are hung out to dry and wait months for a resolution.
You should always make sure you have proper insurance as teen drivers are in a high-risk category. You want to protect your assets against any personal claims for any excess judgments.
Property Damage claims can get complicated, so if you have any questions about that or insurance claims generally, you can send me a direct message or comment below, and I will be happy to discuss that with you.
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