If you’ve been involved in a car accident, that’s probably the primary thing on your mind.
What happens next?
If your car is damaged beyond repair, what will you do with it? How long does it take to process and release a car after an accident?
To answer these questions and more, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about the process, costs, and what happens to my vehicle after a car accident.
What Happens After a Car Accident?
With the right steps, even the most serious of car accidents can be resolved without any major long-term harm. There are three primary steps to follow after an accident.
First, you need to stop driving if you still are. This may seem obvious, but it’s important that you stop your vehicle as soon as you can safely do so. Stopping places you and the other drivers involved in the accident in a safe place and prevents any further accidents from occurring.
Next, make sure that everyone is okay and no urgent medical attention is necessary.
Once this is done, you can proceed to exchange information. Whether you are in a fender bender or a serious accident, it is important to exchange names, phone numbers, and insurance information with the other parties involved. This allows everyone involved to be properly compensated for any damages sustained in the accident.
Take pictures of the incident and get in touch with your lawyer and insurance company.
What Happens to My Vehicle After a Car Accident?
If your vehicle is repairable, your insurance company will provide you with a settlement based on the cost of repairs or might choose to do the repairs if they have an in-house garage.
If you have collision coverage, your insurance company will work to repair the car as quickly as possible so that you can get back on the road.
The amount of time it takes a shop to process and release a car after an accident varies based on the severity of the damage. But on average, it takes 10 to 14 days for a shop to repair a car after an accident. But if the vehicle is totaled or the repairs cost more than the vehicle is worth, your insurance will provide you with a settlement based on the car’s value.
The insurance company may then decide to sell the damaged vehicle at auction if it is not worth the cost of repairs. If your vehicle is repairable, but has severe damage, it may be sent to a salvage yard. A salvage yard will strip the car of all reusable parts and recycle what they can. The insurance company will then issue you a settlement based on the car’s remaining value.
Determining Collision Costs After an Accident
After an accident, your insurance company will likely send an appraiser to assess the damage to your car. They’ll then use this information to determine your collision costs. These include the type of car (luxury cars cost more to repair than economy cars), and the extent of the damage to your car. The cost of repair will also vary based on the availability of parts for your make and model of car.
Who Pays for the Repairs?
If your vehicle is deemed to be at fault, your collision coverage will likely be used to pay for the repairs to the other party’s vehicle. If the other party’s vehicle is deemed to be at fault, their insurance company will likely pay for the repairs to your vehicle.
If your vehicle is not at fault, your insurance company will likely cover the cost of repairs. Note that you will likely have to pay a deductible, which varies by state, before your insurance company will help pay to repair your vehicle.
The Bottom Line
Now that you know what happens after a car accident, you can better anticipate and prepare for the immediate needs that arise. The most important thing is to stay safe and follow the necessary steps.
If your car sustains severe damage in an accident, it can be stressful and confusing. Fortunately, the process of repairing your car after an accident is fairly straightforward. Once your car has been repaired, you’ll be able to get back on the road again. Hopefully, you will never have to go through this process, but it is good to know that if you do, it will likely be relatively quick and painless.