Imagine you are driving home from the annual antiques convention, your newly acquired prizes in the back seat. Suddenly, you are rear-ended by an irresponsible driver. Your valuables fly forward, smashing against windows and back seats, completely ruined. What are your options for receiving compensation?
In an at-fault state like Oklahoma, the driver who caused an accident is responsible for all damage incurred by that accident. Here’s what you need to know if you had expensive items destroyed in a car wreck.
ALL DAMAGE IS PART OF YOUR CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM
Any property that is damaged or destroyed in a car accident can be included in your claim. There is nothing too major or too minor. From an expensive vase to an old cassette tape, it all counts toward your property damage claim.
Typically, insurance companies focus on the auto damage first. Their main concern is getting your car fixed and you back on the road. Whatever is leftover in the claim can go toward replacing or repairing your other damaged property.
HOW DO I MAKE A CLAIM FOR DAMAGED VALUABLES IN A CAR WRECK?
First, make sure that you link all damage directly to the car accident. Take pictures of everything that was affected. Even minor damage should be recorded. If your collectibles suffered cracks and dings, you want to demonstrate that these blemishes did not exist before the accident.
Next, have your damaged property appraised. In its current state, it will be undervalued. However, you can calculate the difference in the item’s current worth vs. its worth before the damage. In our example, we discussed valuable antiques. Something like this should have been appraised and certified at purchase. The loss of this item’s value (its original value vs. its current value) will be part of your overall property damage claim.
WHAT IF INSURANCE ISN’T ENOUGH TO COVER THE DAMAGE?
Insurance policies have caps on benefits. Many people opt to pay for minimum liability coverage. This is the lowest amount allowable by law. In Oklahoma, minimum liability coverage operates on a “25/50/25” system. Medical benefits are capped at $25,000. Property damage is also capped at $25,000, and the overall benefits in a car accident will not exceed $50,000.
Although $25,000 is a lot of money, it may not be enough to cover your devalued property. Remember, the insurance company is most interested in repairing a car first. Car repairs can get quite expensive, especially when they require multiple visits to the mechanic. There may not be much left over to repay you for the loss of other expensive items.
In such cases, you may be able to appeal to your own insurance company. Sometimes, it can cover the balance left over by minimum liability. You can, however, be denied.
When insurance benefits have not sufficiently covered your property damage, a personal injury case may be the only option you have left. If you win, you can have your property damage covered by the damages you receive. You may also be eligible to receive compensation for your medical bills and your pain and suffering.
If you lost valuable assets in a car accident, call our office today for a free consultation. We may be able to secure reimbursement for your damaged goods. Our number is 918-492-7674, and you can also contact us online.