If your car needs repairs that are covered by insurance, you might have a few important questions that need answering before deciding on a mechanic and letting their work begin. There may also be details about getting insurance repairs that are confusing to you, as this process is different than taking your car to a mechanic for standard repair work.
Even though you may be eager to get your car back on the road as quickly as possible, ensuring you have all needed information from the insurance company will mean knowing what to expect by way of reimbursements and costs to you. Note a few questions you might have, or that you should ask, before any insurance repairs are schedule for your car.
What does it mean for a car to be totalled?
It's a common misconception that a car needs to be smashed to bits to be totalled. However, a car is totalled when the cost of the repairs exceed the value of the car. If your car is old and doesn't have a very high resale value, even a minor collision can then total that vehicle. In these cases, an insurance company typically reimburses you for the cost of the car itself, not the repairs.
Because an insurance company is paying for the repairs to a car in case of a collision, they have the authority to note if the car is to be considered totalled; this is not your decision. If those repairs are more than the car's value, but you still want it repaired, you may need to pay for those repairs out of your own pocket, or ask the insurance company about an amount they may give you for reimbursement. Policies on this will vary from company to company, but don't assume that you can decide when a car has been totalled, and don't assume that the car needs to be completely smashed to be considered totalled.
Can a person stop paying insurance premiums while the car is being repaired?
You might think that you can stop paying your insurance premiums while a car is in the shop, but consider if your car was stolen, vandalized, or damaged even further while at a mechanic's shop. If you were to stop paying your insurance premiums, and the mechanic did not have adequate insurance coverage on their business, you may not be reimbursed for the cost of such damages. It's often better to just keep paying your premiums even if your car is being repaired, so it's always covered in case of damage or theft.