With a classic or special interest vehicle one of the biggest fears has to be a severe accident. With a vehicle that may be older or less common the concern will be that the person making the financial decision on whether your vehicle gets repaired or takes the voyage to the great big junkyard in the sky. Obviously in a situation like this your chances of convincing them to have the same soft spot for your vehicle that you do are quite slim. So how do you ensure things are handled in a agreeable manner?
First, the most important part is making sure you are well and not injured. Always seek medical attention and document any medical concerns.
Next you will want to make your own assessment of the damage. If possible take photos at the scene if you feel liability may be disputed having something to support your side will aid in the outcome. Write down all details of the accident at once as memory may become less clear after the fact. Be sure you exchange information with the other party and remember this is a two way street you should make sure they have your insurance information as well as securing theirs for your own interest. If the other party accepts fault at the scene this should also be included in your notes. Always stay aware of your surroundings and pay attention to passing traffic. If your vehicle is not drivable and will require a tow the police more than likely will arrive at the scene and most likely your vehicle will find its way to a storage yard unless you are willing to have it towed direct to your residence. Generally a tow company will not tow to your destination unless you have payment on hand.
If the vehicle is towed to your residence you will not need to worry about this however if the vehicle was taken to a storage facility you will want to act in a timely fashion if you have a place at your residence where you can secure the vehicle out of sight. This is a good time to add you will need to be familiar with your local zoning regulations before having a derelict vehicle brought to your residence as this could leave the vehicle susceptible to impound and you could face fines. As the vehicle remains in the storage yard it will accrue storage fees on a daily basis. Your insurance company will handle these fees as well as the tow from the scene of the accident if you have no where to store the vehicle. There is the concern of your vehicle being damaged or having parts scavenged while sitting in storage and as the proprietor will quickly point out there is a sign in their office stating that they are not responsible for what happens if someone gains access to their yard. this is where the benefit of having photos at the time of loss is beneficial so your vehicle doesn’t get assessed a lower value as the insurance coverage is still intact it will be their responsibility for what happens during this time.
If the other party was clearly at fault and you did get the insurance information you will need to call their carrier and file a claim. This is where your notes from the scene come in handy. You will need to have the number to file the claim as well as the name and policy number for their insured. If liability may default to you, it may be necessary to file the claim against your own policy.
If you have a repair facility in mind you should contact them after filing the insurance claim and they will need you to sign a repair authorization allowing them to act on your behalf and giving them the ability to get your vehicle moved to their shop.
The insurance company will send their adjuster out to review the damage and create an estimate. If the vehicle was towed to a body shop the insurance company will still send their adjuster to have their own account of damages.
This sums up the first of several portions of the process. At this pointy we have covered getting the vehicle from the scene, filing the claim and starting the estimating process.