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Making a Claim After an Accident in a Brand-new Car

Buying a new car is a great feeling: You sign on the dotted line, shake hands with the dealer, and then get in the driver's seat. They hand you the keys, and then you start that car for the first time, and drive off the lot.

Do you remember that thump-thump of the tires rolling from curb to pavement? Probably not. But that was the sound of your car losing roughly 11 percent of its value. It's that instant depreciation that makes getting into an accident in a new car such a financial catastrophe. The first way to deal with this problem-and probably the least popular-is to put down 11 percent or more when you purchase a new car. This way, you're never upside down on your vehicle and can always afford whatever replacement cost you are quoted if you get into an accident at any stage of ownership.

Here are some other ways to deal with accident claims in a brand-new car:

  • Repair it if feasible. If repair is an option, have your car repaired at the dealer with original parts. The insurance companies cannot dictate where you get your car repaired. If you have trouble getting the insurance to OK the dealer repairs, you can always file the claim through your own collision insurance and skip dealing with the other insurance company altogether.
  • Make a claim for depreciation. You are entitled to damages for depreciation. The fact is, a new car that's been repaired is worth less than a new car, and that's not your fault. Have an appraisal done to determine how much your car is worth after repairs and submit it for recovery of depreciation damages.
  • Utilize your "new car replacement" policy. If your insurance carrier offers and you have taken out special "new car replacement" coverage, then your insurer should replace your car with another one the same year and mileage, or in some cases, a year model newer with fewer miles. See your insurance policy to find out exactly what is covered.

At Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C., our attorneys have more than 40 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. If you or a loved one has been injured and is seeking a qualified personal injury attorney, contact our Huntington, West Virginia office to speak with an attorney about your case, or call 304-523-8451.

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