After your car has been damaged or totaled in a car accident, you'll need to file a property damage claim with the insurance company.
You will be entitled to the cost of repairs or the value of your vehicle before the accident occurred. It doesn't matter if you just drove the car off the lot and haven't even made a single payment yet. If the value of the car is far less than what you owe, you'll be responsible for paying the difference unless you purchased gap insurance or enrolled in a similar program prior to the accident.
Placing a Value on Your Property Damage Claim in Wisconsin
You will have to get estimates of repair costs and do some research to determine your car's value. The lower of these two figures is typically what you will be entitled to in a property damage claim in Wisconsin.
When determining repair costs, you should have your car inspected by an experienced mechanic whom you trust. Your car insurance company will have an adjuster inspect your vehicle and may also hire a mechanic to inspect the car.
If your car insurance company gives you a low estimate, make sure the company has a reputable shop that will do the repairs at that estimate. If not, you can reject the estimate.
To determine what your car's value was before your Wisconsin car accident, you can check the Kelley Blue Book value, which is a resource many insurance companies use as well. If your car insurance company values your car too low, you can ask them to have a dealership verify the cost.
Depending on the severity of your property damage, you may want to have a car accident lawyer handle negotiations with your car insurance company to ensure that you are not taken advantage of during settlement negotiations.
Once you settle your claim, you will not get additional damages in the future. Accordingly, it is important to be confident in the valuations used before you agree to a settlement.