If you’ve recently been in a car accident, don’t feel too bad. The average citizen will fall victim to such a scenario three to four times in their driving career.
But when the inevitable does strike, it leaves many individuals in dire financial circumstances. In fact, studies show with the ever-growing cost of new vehicles, most Americans can’t afford to purchase a new car in normal circumstances, let alone after an accident.
So what should a carless crash victim do?
The answer depends on your personal situation, but we’ll provide some tips here.
1. Speak With Your Insurance Agency
Depending on your policy, if you file a claim, your insurance company should help cover repairs. This hinges on several factors, but in the event of extensive repairs, it’s a worthwhile prospect.
Don’t be surprised if your own insurance company fights you on expenses. To prepare for this or a tort case, take photos and compile evidence of the crash.
If your car is totaled, your insurance often pays a portion of its value.
2. File a Tort Case
Your next step is to determine fault. If you weren’t responsible for the accident, in most states it’s up to the at-fault driver’s insurance to pay for damages. Unfortunately, this insurance may not pay for everything.
“Victims of severe car accidents may be faced with expenses the other driver’s insurance doesn’t adequately cover,” explains a personal injury attorney from D. Miller & Associates, PLLC. “For those times, filing a civil suit against the individual or negotiating with the insurance company is a viable option.”
3. Use the Internet
Even if you have collision or comprehensive insurance that provides aid, many find it is still difficult to afford a new vehicle, and those without such insurance feel left in the dust.
For these times, use the internet to your advantage. Craigslist, AutoTrader and iSeeCars are all excellent sources for finding low prices and hot deals in your area. If you’re paying out of pocket for a car, a used vehicle is your best bet.
Most salesmen work on commission.
Use this to your advantage. Ask for lower prices than offered and consider hiring a mechanic to inspect vehicles you’re interested in. Use everything they find as bargaining tools to lean the price in your favor.
Some experts suggest avoiding negotiating altogether and walking in with a figure. Salesmen can take it or leave it. Leave your phone number and follow up Saturday or Sunday night an hour before closing. You might find a representative more forgiving when it’s down the last hour of the week, especially if they haven’t sold as many vehicles as they would have liked.
Don’t Be Hasty
After losing your vehicle, it’s easy to purchase something you can’t afford. Don’t fall into the trap. Use these guidelines to find a car in your price range. It’s the best way to get yourself on the road for as little cash as possible.