It's a situation that happens quite a bit. Someone smashes into your car, causing some damage. The accident is covered under your auto insurance policy. You take your vehicle to the mechanic, receive an estimate, and the car insurance company approves the repairs. Then, as the mechanic gets to work, they find there's more wrong than they originally thought. Who is on the hook for the newly found damage? If you are in this situation, your first step should be to work closely with your auto insurance provider to learn about your options and the extent of your coverage.
How Can Hidden Damage Be Addressed?
There can be some limitations associated with claims for hidden damage, or damage to a vehicle that is unknown until the mechanic begins repairs and finds them. Check your policy or with your insurance adjuster first.
The goal of the insurance adjuster is to ensure no fraud occurs. For this reason, when an estimate comes in, the insurance company will check it for accuracy. However, since individuals have the right to choose the repair shop of their choice for repairs, agents must take extra vigilance to ensure the estimates given are appropriate and accurate.
As with the first estimate for repairs, any claims for additional or hidden damage must first be approved by the auto insurance company before the work is done. The agent may need to know what is being done and must verify that the covered accident is indeed responsible for the newly found damage — a scenario that's not always self-evident. It can then determine if the agency should cover the new damage or not.
If the newly found damage is significant, your insurer might classify the vehicle as total loss. In this event, any checks provided to you or to the auto repair shop for the previous damage may need to be returned so a salvage title can be issued and a check can be cut for the vehicle's value.
It's important to keep your car insurance agent aware of what is happening with the repairs to your vehicle. There are limits to the amount of coverage every plan offers. You'll need to know these before you agree to the terms of the policy and to the repairs.
How much could you save? Call Miller Insurance Agency at (409) 899-9531
Also check out: The Effects of Water Damage on Your Vehicle or Tire Checkup Before Winter Weather Hits