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What Is Considered Property Damage in a Car Accident?

Posted in Auto Accidents

A car accident can cause many damages, from life-changing personal injuries to a totaled vehicle. The property damage portion of your auto insurance claim after a crash is just as important as the personal injury portion. Requesting fair compensation for all of your property losses from an accident can help you pay your bills and move forward. Before you file your insurance claim, make sure you are requesting the full value of all types of property damages.

property damages in car accidents

Vehicle Damage

The main type of property damage listed on a car accident insurance claim is vehicle damage. Even a minor collision can cause hundreds of dollars of damage to your vehicle. A catastrophic accident could lead to a total loss, where your vehicle is so damaged it is not worth repairing. Either way, the driver or party that caused your car accident will owe you financial compensation to make you whole again. This will include compensation to repair or replace your vehicle.

The amount you list on your insurance claim will come directly from the auto shop or a professional appraisal of the pre-crash value of your vehicle. If a mechanic believes he or she can fix your vehicle for less money than the car is worth, the mechanic will give you a written repair estimate. Submit this estimate to the insurance company as the amount you are seeking in property damage reparations for your vehicle.

If your car is a total loss, obtain an accurate estimate of its pre-accident value from a trustworthy source such as Kelley Blue Book or a professional vehicle appraiser. Insurance companies in New Mexico will have to pay the full pre-accident value of a totaled vehicle. Your own collision or comprehensive car insurance may provide additional benefits if the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance.

Personal Property Damage

Property damage in a car accident does not only refer to damage to the vehicle. Most people have other types of property inside their cars, such as radios, custom stereo systems, laptops, cellphones, tablets, headphones and other personal belongings. If the car accident damaged or destroyed any of these types of property, list the loss on your car accident insurance claim. Collect documents that prove the value of your losses, such as purchase receipts. The other driver may owe enough to repair or replace everything you lost in the accident.

Pet Injuries

If you were driving with your pet in the vehicle at the time of your car accident and the crash injured your pet, list this as a category of property damages. Although your pet may feel like a family member, in the eyes of the law, pets are property. Therefore, you will list any pet injuries from a car accident under the property damage category, not the personal injury category. Collect all veterinary bills to show the other driver’s insurance company how much the crash-related pet injuries cost.

How to Handle a Property Damage Claim

Every driver in New Mexico legally must carry at least $10,000 in property damage liability insurance. Since New Mexico is a fault-based car insurance state, you will use the at-fault driver’s property damage insurance to cover your losses. If the other driver does not have enough insurance to fully cover your property damages, your own insurance company may cover the difference. Start your claim by identifying the party who caused your car accident. Then, seek full compensation for all of your property damages using evidence.

  • Repair estimates
  • Letters from an auto shop
  • Professional appraisals
  • Photographs
  • Receipts and bills
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Expert opinions

The more evidence you have supporting your property damage claim, the better. An insurance company will want to see proof of your losses. If you need assistance proving property damages or properly evaluating your losses after a car accident in New Mexico, contact an attorney. A car accident lawyer in Albuquerque will know how to prove your property damages and negotiate for fair financial compensation.