Property Damage Claims and Bodily Injury Claims: What is the Difference? And…. “Can I Get a Rental Car?”
Auto Insurance lingo is confusing, complex, and each state has unique requirements for coverage limits you must carry on your own auto insurance policy. So, if you are involved in an accident and find yourself asking, “What do I next?”; take comfort knowing that many others like you have asked this same question.
In this article we cover a few different areas of auto insurance coverage to help you feel better prepared if you are involved in an accident; before you are involved in an accident.
Liability Coverage, Collision Coverage, and Comprehensive Coverage
When you purchase an Auto Insurance policy, as a requirement this includes Liability Coverage. In addition to Liability coverage you may also elect to carry Collision coverage and Comprehensive coverage.
Collision coverage will cover damage to your vehicle as a result of an accident. If you have a lien on your vehicle, it is likely that your lender will require you to carry this type of coverage. Some states have Comprehensive coverage that covers damage to your vehicle in other situations, not just if you are in an accident. These coverages would apply in most situations, even if you are considered at fault for the accident. Most states have separate property damage coverage that will cover damage you caused to other vehicles or property if you were at fault in an accident.
Liability Coverage will only cover anyone who suffered injuries in an accident. Most states have bodily injury coverage which would cover other individuals injured in a crash if you are at fault.
There are many other liability coverages which will cover you when you are injured in an accident caused by someone else. Every state is different. Every state has different mandatory coverages and every state has optional coverages. Even coverages with the same name like uninsured motorist coverages operate differently within different states.
In short, if you are involved in an accident and you are at fault for it, the damage to your vehicle would be covered only if you have collision coverage under your policy. If you are not at fault in a crash, you could access your own collision coverage to pay for your vehicle damages or access the property damage coverage of the at-fault driver. If you are injured in an accident caused by someone else, it is important to speak with our attorneys to discuss your coverages as soon as possible to make sure you are getting the maximum recovery possible from all potential insurance coverages.
Bodily Injury and Property Damages
Now that we have covered the differences between Collision coverage, Comprehensive coverage and Liability coverage, let us dive into the difference between a Bodily Injury claim and a Property Damage claim.
Bodily Injury claims are handled separately from the Property Damage claim. Usually, one insurance adjuster will handle the Property Damage claim and a different adjuster will handle the Bodily Injury claim.
The claim number, though, will probably be the same for both, even though different adjusters are involved.
One common question we receive a lot is: “If I settled my Property Insurance Claim, does that mean I have to settle my Bodily Injury claim at the same time?”
The answer is NO.
Property Damage claims can be settled relatively quickly so that you can start the repairs or replacement of your vehicle. This is especially important if you are injured in an accident and need transportation to and from your medical appointments.
Before you speak with any adjuster or defendant, however, you should speak with one of our Auto Accident attorneys first so we can make sure your rights are protected. We can also review the documents regarding the property damage claim to make sure it is being handled appropriately and in your best interest.
Bodily Injury claims should typically settle after you have finished medical treatment to maximize your recovery. Our attorneys are experienced in identifying all potential insurance policies and sources of recovery to make sure you are getting the maximum recovery and that we are obtaining that recovery as quickly as possible for you.
Can I get a rental car while my vehicle is being repaired?
We get this question a lot and rightfully so!
There is nothing more frustrating than being hit by a negligent driver. Especially when you are injured and left without a vehicle to get to medical appointments, groceries, or transporting your family.
Our team can coordinate and confirm if there is any coverage available to you for a rental car. The first step is to seek available coverage on the auto insurance policy belonging to the person that hit you. Sometimes getting the insurance company to get this started for you, though, can be slow and incredibly frustrating. They can also place limitations on the amount of time you can have the rental car.
You can also check with your own auto insurance company to see if you elected for rental coverage. Even if you did, there may be a per-day allowance or deductible. Make sure to check if you will have any out-of-pocket expenses if you go this route.
The last option would be to pay for a rental car on your own, use taxi or ride sharing services, or ask friends and family to help with transportation until your vehicle is repaired or replaced. Just make sure that you keep all your receipts for any out-of-pocket expenses. Some out of pocket expenses may not be covered so it is especially important to talk with our attorneys before you start to pay for anything out of pocket. That way we can ensure you will be reimbursed for any reasonable and necessary expenses.
Navigating all these things by yourself can be scary and overwhelming. We are here to help! Our goal is for our clients to heal and recover while our team handles the heavy lifting. We are here if you need us, 24/7!