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Phone: 515-222-1110
Lombardi Law Firm

Car Damage Property Accident Lawyer

If you have questions about property damage here are the answers to your questions. Due in part to the number of questions we get about property damage and how to settle the property claim after an accident the Lombardi Law Firm has created this page with a list of commonly asked questions. If your suit has significant personal injury or death claims we invite you to contact us about your case, but due to the time involved in answering questions (and the fact we still have to pay the bills around here) we do not allow non-client questions for just property damage. Clients may contact us at 515-222-1110 or 800-383-0331 or [email protected].

Car-Truck-Cycle Damage Q&A's

Q: Why won't the adjuster just pay for the car damage?

A: Insurance adjusters will say they treat everyone fairly, but that couldn't be father from the truth when they are getting paid to save their insurance company money by underpaying your claim. The burden is on the one claiming the damage to prove their case including the value of the car if totaled and that no previous damage existed. The insurance adjuster is trained to assume all claimants are liars and cheats who are trying to collect for something they aren't entitled to be paid.

Q: What is my car worth?

A: Your car is worth market value. In Iowa it's worth is supposed to be dictated by what it would have been worth on the open market the minute before the accident.

Q: How is the value of a car, damaged in an accident calculated?

A: It's calculated by the open market and can be shown be comparison to other sales for similar makes and models of similar value in the same general time frame as when your car was damaged or totaled.

Q: Am I entitled to receive payment for the reduced value of my car after an accident?

A: Yes you are and this is perhaps the most overlooked item of damages in car accidents. The adjusters will never tell you you're entitled to compensation for reduced value; and most owners don't appreciate the amount until they try and sell the car with a branded title showing previous repaired damage.

Q: When will they pay me for car damage?

A: The insurance company should pay the repair shop directly if the car is being repaired. If totaled you should get paid right after you agree on the value and then you should get a car rental for at least a few weeks if not 30 days to replace it. The standard is a reasonable period of time and that is different for people with busy lives and different needs.

Q: If I have a new car and it's in a collision within 6 months of buying it, am I entitled to a new car rather than repairing it?

A: If the cost of repair exceeds the market value of the car then you are entitled to the value of the totaled car. If the costs of repair are less then you're entitled to have it repaired. If close then you and the adjuster will need to decide. Most insurance adjusters, knowing a damage repair estimate can lead to more damage then was estimated will total a car when the costs to repair are close to the fair market value.

Q: Am I entitled to a rental after a collision?

A: In Iowa you are. You'll have to ask for it and probably provide proof of insurance but yes you get a rental car.

Q: Who pays for the rental car after an auto accident?

A: The at-fault driver's car insurance pays for the rental unless you have rental coverage on your insurance and then yours may.

Q: If I own a truck that's in a crash will they provide me with a truck?

A: You should get whatever you were driving as a rental.

Q: Does workers' compensation insurance cover my car because I was driving it on a work errand?

A: No, your own auto insurance should cover you. Workers' compensation covers your physical injuries not your property damage. That said, your employer's liability insurance may cover your car.

Q: Will my employer provide a car rental if my car is in a wreck while running errands?

A: They may or the at-fault driver's insurance may provide a car rental. And your own auto policy may provide coverage. You'll need to read all the policies and file a claim with each.

Q: I use my car for work should I be concerned about carrying extra insurance?

A: That's a difficult question to answer without knowing whether there is an increased risk of injury. How many miles a year are you driving, over what roads, at high interstate highway speeds and what are you carrying? If the risks of loss are increased then yes by all means carry more or higher liability insurance limits. This includes underinsured and uninsured motorist limits, medical pay coverage and property damage limits of coverage. The rule of thumb I use is carry as much insurance as the value of the property you own.

Q: What kind of insurance coverage will pay to fix my car?

A: This type of insurance is called collision coverage. It's not liability coverage and full coverage is a useless term that confuses rather than defines coverage.

Q: What kind of insurance coverage will pay for a car rental?

A: This one is easy, it's car rental insurance. If you aren't aware of whether you've purchased it read your declaration page or call your insurance agent. It's a good insurance coverage to have.

Q: What kind of insurance coverage will pay for my medical expenses?

A: This coverage is called medical pay coverage and the limits can be very low or very high. I‘ve seen State Farm with policies providing med. pay coverage of up to $100,000 and I commend them for making these higher limits available to insured's.

Q: What do I do if the other driver in the accident has no insurance?

A: You can file under your own and file for uninsured motorist coverage.

Q: What should I do if the other owner of the car in the accident doesn't have enough insurance to cover the damages to my car?

A: In this case you file under your own insurance policy for underinsured motorist coverage.

Q: Who gets to choose the body shop to fix my car?

A: You do since it's your car and after the claim is settled you have to live with the quality of the repair work.

Q: What if I'm not satisfied with how my car was fixed?

A: Take it back and if need be get a second opinion from another body shop. Then present your complaint to the insurance company paying for the repair work.

Q: Why do I have to pay the deductible?

A: Because that's what you choose to do. The deductible is the amount you self insure. It's a good idea to always set this amount aside in a savings account.

Q: Do I have the right to review the damage repair estimate before the repair work begins?

A: You can if you choose to and I would suggest you do and that you discuss any questions with the body shop office manager.

Q: Who pays for the tow truck bill?

A: The at-fault driver's insurance company.

Q: Who pays for the storage bill?

A: The at-fault driver's insurance company.

Q: Am I entitled to a copy of the police report?

A: Yes, either purchase one directly from the law enforcement agency performing the investigation work or ask the insurance adjusters for a copy.

Q: Why won't the rental car company rent me a car without a credit card or proof of insurance?

A: As the driver you are responsible for the operation of the car and that means beyond paying the bill for the rental there are the issues of liability for use.

Q: If I don't have a loaner car how am I supposed to get to work?

A: Ask for a rental from the at-fault driver's company or take the bus.

Q: Am I entitled to a copy of the recorded statement the insurance adjuster took from me?

A: You are entitled to a copy of any recorded statement you give. You simply need to ask for a copy. A good practice is to say it right on the statement. "I'm giving this statement with the understanding a copy will be sent to me at this address: [state your address]. Is that agreed?" If they don't agree then don't give the statement.

Q: How do I get a copy of the insurance company's recorded statement?

A: Mail a written request by snail or email to the adjuster taking it.

Q: How do I get a copy of the police report in Iowa?

A: Either directly from the police department or from the Iowa State Patrol or from the county sheriff's office.

Q: Am I entitled to a copy of the photographs the insurance company took of my car?

A: Yes, although many will claim it's their work product and refuse.

Q: Should I take photographs of my car?

A: No question about this question: YES!

Q: Is the mileage important when calculating the value of my car?

A: Yes, take a photograph of the odometer reading. The mileage when coupled with the car's age indicates market value just prior to the crash.  

Q: What evidence should I get to show what my car is worth?

A: Get a letter from the dealer that did your maintenance work.

Q: When can I get the stuff out of my car after an accident?

A: Whenever you can get to the scrap yard, the body shop or wherever it's being stored.