Property Damage Only Accidents

Accidents with property damage only

When an accident results in property damage only, and no one is seriously injured, then the insurance claim process is quite different.

After a property damage collision, you'll likely want to submit a claim to get the repairs covered by your car insurance. To make this process as quick and easy as possible, do these things immediately after the collision happens.

Steps to take after an accident involving property damage

When you've been in an accident and your vehicle is damaged, make sure you:

  • Get the other driver's name and insurance information.
  • Call the police - the police report is an essential tool for determining legal liability.
  • Take pictures of your damaged vehicle.
  • Make sure you do not admit fault at the scene.
  • Get contact information for any witnesses to the accident.

Document the damage:

  • Take photos of all sides of your vehicle.
  • Take photos of any other vehicles that were damaged.
  • Document and take photos of any factors related to the accident, such as traffic signs hidden by trees.

Generally, the more documentation you can provide, the quicker and easier the accident investigation.

With whose company do I file a property damage claim?

The car insurance company to whom you submit your claim will depend on who was at fault for the accident. If the other driver was clearly at fault and there are no questions about liability, you can submit a third party claim to his insurer. However, if liability is unclear, it makes sense to submit the claim to your own insurer.

If you file a claim through your own insurance company, you'll have to pay the deductible. if your company recovers, then you'll get the deductible back. 

if you don't know who hit you, your Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM) and Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) can be used to get your car repaired or replaced. You will also have to pay your deductible to use this coverage.

What coverage do I need for property damage claims?

If you are going to file your property damage claim with your own insurance company, you'll need either collision coverage or comprehensive coverage.

Order a copy of the police collision report

When an accident involves property damage only, the best way to get a copy of the police collision report is to contact the law enforcement agency that responded to the crash scene. Many agencies have information on their websites about how to order a collision report. Usually there will be a minimal charge to get a copy.

Hiring a car accident attorney

Do you need legal assistance to file a property damage claim? In most cases, property damage claims can be handled on your own through your car insurance. If the accident also involved personal injury, however, you should hire a car accident attorney who will handle both claims for you.

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