Consumer Auto Insurance Rights

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I was involved in an automobile accident, what do I do?

  • Notify the police to file an accident report
  • Notify your insurance company or agent if necessary
  • Find your automobile policy and read it to be prepared

Do they owe me a rental vehicle, and for how long?

If the other party’s insurance is accepting liability, you are entitled to be compensated for the loss of use of your vehicle for a reasonable length of time while it is under repairs or not drivable. If your vehicle is considered a total loss, most companies will provide a reasonable amount for loss of use. If your company is handling the damages you must have rental coverage on your policy to obtain a rental vehicle.

Can I take my vehicle wherever I want to have it fixed?

You are free to choose the shop you want to do the work. If you choose to take your vehicle to a repair facility in which the overall cost for a satisfactory repair is higher than the insurer’s estimate, you may be liable for any additional amount about their estimate. The insurer must provide you with the names of reputable repair shops reasonably close to you that can satisfactorily complete the repairs for the amount of their estimate. (WAC 284-30-3903)

Do I need to get more than one estimate before my vehicle is repaired?

No, in the State of Washington you may take your vehicle to whatever collision repair facility you choose for an estimate and repairs.

What if the estimates don’t match?

The repair shop generally works with the adjuster to handle any “supplement” (additional costs) that occur due to hidden damage or parts price differences. If the company and the shop can’t agree, it is the responsibility of the company to provide the name of a repair shop that will repair your vehicle for the amount of the estimate. The repair shop the company suggests must not be an unreasonable distance from where you live.

For more information please reference the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner website at http://www.insurance.wa.gov/factsheets/factsheet_detail.asp?FctShtRcdNum=3