Accident Tips

Q: Can I take my car to the repair shop of my choice?

Q: Does my insurance company have the right to inspect my vehicle?

Q: Am I responsible for obtaining more than one estimate?

Q: Can the repair shop I select adjust its estimates and charges to absorb the deductible required by my insurance company?

Q: Can I have my vehicle repaired with original equipment parts … and will the insurance company pay for them?

Q: If I do not agree with my insurance company about the amount of damage, is there something I can do?

Q: What is the difference between “betterment” and "depreciation"? Can my insurance company reduce my settlement based on either?

Q: What do I do if the company gives me a 'comparative negligence' assignment?

Q: How do Minnesota’s No-Fault laws apply?

Q: Do I have the right to a rental car?

Q: How is the 'fair market value' of my totaled vehicle determined?

Q: Can I buy back my totaled vehicle?

Q: Should I use my own insurance?

Q: Will having an accident make my insurance rates increase, even if the accident was not my fault?

Q: What if my claim is denied?

Q: What if I cannot resolve a problem with my insurance company?

Q: What if my insurance company tells me that I have to have my vehicle repaired at one of their preferred shops?

Q: How many estimates do I need to provide to my insurance company?

Q: How long will my repairs take?

Definition of terms used

Appraisal clause- A clause in all auto insurance policies that provides a special appraisal procedure you can use to settle a disagreement between yourself (the insured) and the insurance company over the amount of loss. This procedure allows both parties to choose an appraiser to re-evaluate the damages. If the two appraisers don’t agree, a third party (called the “umpire”) makes the final determination.

Comparative negligence- the amount or percentage of negligence (responsibilty or fault) assigned to one or more of the parties in an accident.

Consumer Response Team (CRT)- Staff at the Department of  Commerce, which responds to consumers questions and complaints about insurance matters. CRT staff can help resolve disputes between consumers and insurance companies when necessary.

Deductible- Set amount the policyholder agrees to pay, per claim or per accident, toward the total amount of an insured loss. You must pay the deductible amount before the insurance company pays any benefits.

Department of Commerce- The state department that licenses and regulates insurance companies, agents and adjusters.

No-fault laws- No-fault coverage only applies to medical costs, wage loss, or other costs related to injuries sustained in the accident.

Preferred provider- A service provider, such as an automotive repair shop, that has agreed to provide repairs and administer claims under terms established by an insurance company.

Subrogation- The process by which one insured company seeks reimbursement from another company or individual for a claim it ahs already paid.

Surcharge- An additional charge added to your premium for accumulated traffic violations or accidents. The charge varies from company to company and is typically assessed for a defined periods, such as 36 months from the date of the violation or accident.

Some facts listed were provided by the Minnesota Department of Commerce