If you have been in an accident, you will need to file an insurance claim to get your vehicle repaired. Following the proper steps can make the process a bit easier for you. Here are a few tips for filing MA auto insurance claims for vehicle repairs.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Regardless of who was at fault for the accident, you should contact your personal MA auto insurance company to report the accident. Your insurance company will ask you for basic information such as the date and time of the accident, the names of individuals involved and whether anyone was injured. If another driver was involved, they will also ask for auto insurance information for that driver. You will be asked to fill out an accident report with the full details of the incident. If police responded, be sure to visit the police station to obtain a copy of the police report. For MA auto insurance claims, it is helpful to submit both reports to your insurance company.
Selecting a Repair Shop
Your insurance company will provide you with a list of authorized repair shops. These are shops that have agreed to the hourly labor rate set forth by the insurance company. You can actually use any repair shop of your choosing. However, please be aware that if your chosen repair shop charges a higher labor rate than the insurance company’s approved labor rate, then you will be personally responsible for the difference. For example, if the approved rate is $75/hour and your repair shop charges $100/hour, then you will pay that $25/hour difference directly to the repair shop. Depending on how many hours are required to complete the repairs, the amount could be substantial.
Getting Your Vehicle Repaired
Most Massachusetts auto repair shops will work directly with your MA auto insurance company to coordinate repairs and payment. The process typically involves an insurance adjuster inspecting the vehicle and providing an estimate of repairs (materials and labor). The repair shop may submit additional information to the adjuster for approval (if the adjuster missed anything or if the repair shop feels that the estimate is not accurate). Once the specific materials and labor is approved, the repair shop will start working on your vehicle. Upon completion, your auto insurance company will pay the repair shop directly. Before releasing your vehicle, you will need to pay the repair shop your deductible (if applicable) plus any labor rate difference (as discussed in the previous paragraph).
Not-At Fault Accidents
If another driver is at fault for an accident, you will still need to file a MA auto insurance claim with your own insurance company. Your insurance company covers the initial expenses, but they then get reimbursed by the other insurance company. This speeds up your car repair process and also makes it less complicated for you.
Other Tips for Filing a MA Auto Insurance Claims
As with any accident, it is helpful to provide as much supplementary information as possible when filing MA auto insurance claims. This includes pictures of the accident scene, injured parties, damages to vehicles, etc. The more information you provide, the easier it will be for your insurance company to understand what took place, who was at fault, and what you should be reimbursed for. In cases where the party at fault is being disputed, your documentation can be extremely useful in protecting your rights.