Updated: Feb 23
If the vehicle is disabled; many times, you may not know which tow facility your vehicle is located after the wreck (i.e., transported to the ER via ambulance after a wreck.)
First, you must obtain a police report. As the police report usually lists where your vehicle is and the adverse driver’s insurance carrier.
Generally, going through the adverse driver’s carrier is a breeze if liability is pretty clear, (i.e., rear-end collisions). Contacting the adverse carrier will require setting up a car wreck claim. You will need the police report in order to do this, as the insurance carrier will ask several questions regarding the wreck such as the date, time, and intersection of the wreck.
Once the claim is set up, it generally takes a few days or sometimes weeks for liability to be accepted. Only then, will the insurance carrier agree to pay for any property damage. During this time, it is beneficial to check in every other day to confirm if the insurance carrier has agreed to accept fault. WORD OF ADVICE: Depending on the insurance carrier, as some insurance carriers are more unreasonable than others, it is best to use your own insurance company. However, it is best to take this option when you are sure you are not at fault. As you do not want to affect your insurance premiums.
This option tends to be less of a headache, as your insurance carrier is obligated to you. You are its customer. Also, your insurance carrier will refund your deductible and any amounts paid regarding your vehicle from the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier.
1. REPAIRABLE VEHICLE
With a repairable vehicle, the insurance carrier will set up a time to send an insurance appraiser to view the vehicle at your home. Another option is to choose your own collision center and have that facility send the repair estimate to the insurance carrier.
BEWARE: Many insurance carriers will gladly send you to a “preferred collision” center. However, be sure to confirm that your vehicle is returned in the reasonable state it was prior to the wreck. Watch out for any alignment issues or refurbished parts.
Also, pay attention to any sudden changes to your vehicle after the wreck. There may be more damage to the vehicle than the collision center originally estimated. If so, return the vehicle to the collision center that initially repaired it and alert both the collision center and insurance carrier to a supplemental claim. A supplemental claim allows the insurance carrier to cover any remaining repair charges caused after the initial repair to your vehicle.
2. TOTAL LOSS VEHICLE
Try to have the vehicle towed from the tow facility to your home. This will avoid any further daily storage fees on top of the towing fee. It is best to begin looking at Kelly Bluebook values for your exact model, make, year, etc. That way, you are able to get an idea of what your vehicle is worth today prior to talking with the insurance carrier. Call your lienholder if the vehicle is being financed. You will need to know how much is still owed on the vehicle. Call the insurance carrier. The insurance carrier will remove the vehicle from the tow facility or wherever it is located. The vehicle will be given a fair market value.
Alabama law only requires that the insurance carrier give reasonable fair market value for your vehicle. This does not include a down payment for another vehicle or promise that the payoff amount will actually cover the entire lien remaining on the vehicle
Do you have GAP Insurance? Gap insurance is usually obtained during the purchase of the vehicle. Gap insurance will cover any remaining amount on the vehicle that the adverse driver’s insurance carrier did not cover with the payoff amount. If you do not have gap insurance, SADLY you will be responsible for the remaining lien amount.