No matter how serious or minor they are, car accidents cause stress. You didn’t expect to get in a wreck, and the accident wasn’t your fault. Now, you have to figure out how to get your vehicle back on the road as soon as possible.
Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. As Chicago personal injury attorneys, we’ve helped injured people get back on their feet after a collision. We’ve handled numerous property damage claims in the past, too.
In this article, we’ll guide you through how to get your car repaired after an accident in Illinois.
(And if your vehicle was deemed a “total loss,” scroll down to the bottom of this article.)
Getting Your Car Repaired After an Accident
Contact your insurance company and file a claim.
If you haven’t reported the accident to your insurance company at this point, call them after reading this post. Provide any and all information regarding the crash and the at-fault driver. Give them the at-fault driver’s contact and insurance info. In Illinois, police officers will give you a Driver Information Exchange Report, which provides the information you need to give to your insurance company.
Here’s a little-known secret: You can select which insurance company you want to file a claim under if you are not at fault for the accident. You pay auto insurance premiums every month to cover crashes like this, so you should use it.
As car accident lawyers, we recommend pursuing a claim with your own insurance company, as opposed to the at-fault driver’s insurance. Why? Here are 3 benefits to consider:
- Your insurance company will not deny your claim based on who’s at fault for the accident. If you file a claim with the other driver’s insurance, they will have to investigate whether their policyholder is at fault before paying any repairs. This process may take days or weeks, delaying your vehicle from getting in the repair shop. Also, the at-fault driver’s insurance may not have your best interests in mind.
- Your premium rates will not go up if the other driver is at fault. Premiums increase based on fault. If you didn’t cause the accident, your rates should stay the same.
- Your insurance company will pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company after repairing your vehicle.
The only downside to filing a claim with your insurance company is that you will pay a deductible. You may receive a reimbursement for your deductible down the road.
There’s an exception to this rule: If you only have liability coverage, you will have no choice but to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance.
Select an auto body shop in your area.
Work with your insurance company to select a repair shop in your area. Do your homework ahead of time. Researching the top repair shops closest to you before picking up the phone to call your insurance provider.
Your insurer may require that you select an auto body shop approved by them. You don’t have to pick the first one they recommend, though.
Transport your car to the repair shop.
After picking an auto body shop, work with your insurance company to transport your vehicle there. If your vehicle is drivable, you can take it there. If it is not drivable, your insurance company will pay to have it towed to the repair shop.
Continue to follow-up with the repair shop and your insurance company.
When your car is being repaired, consistently follow-up with your insurance company and the repair shop. Sometimes, it may take up to a month to fix your car. Don’t wait for them to call you when it’s done.
Take advantage of your Rental Car policy.
In the meantime, use your Rental Car coverage under your insurance policy (if you have it). Under this coverage, your insurance will pay for a rental car for a specific amount of days. For example, your policy may cover up to 30 days of using a rental car.
If you don’t have this car rental coverage on your policy, consider using a family member’s car or hailing an Uber or Lyft to get around town.
Pick up your repaired vehicle.
When your vehicle has been repaired, schedule a time to pick it up. Make sure to inspect your car before signing any release forms. Ask what repairs were made.
What if my vehicle was deemed a “total loss”?
If your car was deemed a “total loss,” that means it will cost more to fix the vehicle than what it’s actually worth. As such, your insurance company will offer to pay you for the current market value of your vehicle.
You still have a right to keep the totaled vehicle. Your insurance company will have the right to deduct their salvage value from their original offer.
If you wish to continue driving the vehicle, it must pass inspection and be insurable.
Were you injured in the accident in Illinois? We can help.
We hope you found this guide helpful as you navigate getting your car repaired after an Illinois accident. If you were injured as a result of the crash, our Chicago car accident attorneys may be able to help. We offer free, no-obligation consultations. All you have to do is give us a call at (312) 578-9501 or fill out the form at the bottom of this page to get started. We’ll get back to you within 24 hours.