One of the first few questions I am always asked by a client is how they will get their car repaired and who is going to pay for it.
There are two types of coverage that can be utilized to repair your vehicle after an accident:
Collision – is a voluntary or optional coverage that can be purchased which provides for the repair or replacement of your vehicle after an accident regardless of fault. It also provides for the towing, storage and salvage if the car was seriously damaged. A deductible usually applies which is the amount of money you are responsible for before your insurance takes over. After the collision claim has been paid, the insurance carrier may pursue a property damage claim against the liability insurance carrier of the negligent operator to recover the damages paid as well as the deductible. If recovered, your insurance carrier will refund you for your deductible.
Property damage – is a mandatory liability coverage which covers the damages to someone else’s property, up to the policy limits, that you are liable for after an accident. Property damage does NOT provide coverage for any damages sustained to your own vehicle.
As such, when you are involved in an accident and file a claim for your property damage you may either file a collision claim with your insurance carrier or third-party property damage claim against the other operator, but you may not collect full compensation from both.
Utilizing your collision coverage is generally a much faster process and will get your vehicle repaired much more quickly as there are minimal delays. This is because a collision claim does not require a liability investigation or an assessment of fault. As such, by utilizing your collision coverage you do not need to provide a statement or discuss the question of liability with the adverse insurance carrier and await the results of their investigation to begin the repairs to your vehicle.
However, the compensation received through your collision coverage will be reduced by the amount of your deductible, for which you are responsible. Pursuing a third-party property claim differs as there is no deductible but your right to compensation is offset by any liability you hold for the accident.