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Property Damage

Property Damage

Most people think about personal injuries when they hear someone was involved in a car accident. However, property damage is another consequence of a motor vehicle accident. A crash can result in expensive repairs or the total loss of a vehicle.

Property Damage Insurance in Massachusetts

Drivers in Massachusetts are required to purchase mandatory car insurance to cover damage caused by car accidents. In addition to purchasing bodily injury and PIP coverage, you must also purchase at least $5,000 in property damage coverage. 

Property damage liability coverage pays for the damage caused to personal property. It compensates another party for damage you cause in a crash.

Who Pays for Repairs to My Vehicle After a Car Accident in Massachusetts?

Who Pays for Repairs to My Vehicle After a Car Accident in Massachusetts?

Generally, the insurance company for the at-fault driver pays for the cost of repairs to your vehicle after a car accident. However, as discussed above, the minimum amount of property damage coverage is $5,000. Therefore, the other driver’s liability insurance coverage may be sufficient to cover the cost of your repairs.

If you have general collision coverage on your insurance policy, your insurance company should pay for damage to your vehicle regardless of who caused the car wreck. You must check with your insurance provider to confirm coverage and file a claim. 

Some things to keep in mind about property damage repairs include:

  • The insurance company cannot force you to use a specific repair shop for repairs
  • Do not rely solely on the repair estimate prepared by the insurance claims adjuster
  • It is wise to get two or three detailed repair estimates from companies that you trust to compare to the insurance company’s damage assessment
  • Demand that the insurance company pay for new parts for repairs instead of paying for used parts
  • Before signing a property damage release, read the entire release and inspect your vehicle to ensure all repairs were completed to your satisfaction

The insurance adjuster may try to ask you about your injury claim. However, do not discuss the injury claim when settling your property damage claim. Instead, refer the claims adjuster to your personal injury lawyer on any issues related to your injuries or other damages. 

Including Diminished Value in Your Property Damage Claim

Even though your vehicle was repaired, the fair market value of your vehicle may decrease because it was in an automobile accident. When you sell your vehicle, a buyer or automobile dealer may not pay you as much for your car when they realize it was wrecked. 

Inherent diminished value refers to the difference in the value of your vehicle after repairs versus the value of your vehicle had it not been involved in a car accident. 

There is also repair-related diminished value. That amount is the loss in value because of repairs, such as using off-market or used parts instead of new parts.

Most claims adjusters do not mention diminished value. You must demand an amount for diminished value. Obtain written statements and estimates from car dealers, repair shops, and other reputable sources to support your claim. The statements should state the diminished value and explain why the vehicle is worth less now than before the accident. 

What Happens if My Vehicle Is Totaled?

If the cost of repairs exceeds a certain percentage of your vehicle’s value, the insurance company may declare the value a total loss. In other words, the insurance company will not pay to repair the vehicle. Instead, the company pays you the fair market value for your vehicle. 

The fair market value of a vehicle depends on several factors, including:

  • The year, make, and model of your vehicle
  • The vehicle’s mileage at the time of the accident
  • The general condition of your vehicle before the crash
  • The current market value and demand for your type of vehicle
  • The options and any special equipment 

The insurance company generally assigns an adjuster to estimate the value of your vehicle. However, it is in your best interest to obtain several estimates to ensure that you receive a fair price for your vehicle. 

You can research vehicle values online through NADA and Kelly Blue Book. If your vehicle is new or has special equipment, you may also want to obtain written estimates from car dealers who are familiar with the make and model of your vehicle. 

You do not have to accept the first offer from the insurance company. You can negotiate a higher amount for your property damage claim. However, be prepared to submit evidence to support your demand for a higher amount. 

Evidence could include pictures of your vehicle before the wreck, copies of written valuations, receipts for special equipment, and copies of maintenance records. 

Call Our Boston Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation 

If you have questions about property damage claims or personal injury cases, contact us or call (617)-391-9001 today to schedule your free consultation with a Boston personal injury attorney. We want to hear what happened to you so we can discuss your legal options to help you get the money you deserve. 

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