When asked to consider the potential costs of a car accident, people will generally think of the costs of vehicle repair or replacement, elevated insurance premiums, and, in more serious accidents, the costs of hospital stays and medical treatment.
However, in the aftermath of a car accident, many people are surprised when they actually see the specific details of the costs they’re facing, including expenses they wouldn’t have initially considered. These include the following:
Loan repayment on a wrecked car. Even if your car is completely wrecked after an accident, you’re still on the hook for repaying a loan on it. The amount of money you get from your insurance for the car might be less than what you owe in loan repayments. (Opting for gap coverage in your insurance plan can help you with the potential difference between what insurance companies give you and what you need to pay to the lender.)
Renting another car after an accident. If your own car needs to undergo repairs or be replaced, and you don’t have the option of using another vehicle, you may have to rent a car to get around. The costs of renting a car can quickly add up, particularly if you need it for more than a week. You may have opted for rental reimbursement coverage as part of your car insurance plan, but even then, be sure to read the fine print; for instance, there are probably caps on how much you can spend on rentals.
Towing and storage fees. If your car is in pretty bad shape after a crash, it will need to be towed away. The fees for towing, then for keeping your car in a lot, can add up to hundreds of dollars; be sure you know to what extent your insurance will cover towing costs. You also have to be on the lookout for unscrupulous tow truck companies who show up quickly at an accident scene, take your vehicle, and then hang onto it until you can fork over the steep price they want you to pay.
Stolen goods. The sad reality is that car accident victims sometimes become victims of theft, especially if they’re incapacitated after a crash. For example, a car accident victim from Fairfax County was sent a bill of over $1000 in E-ZPass charges after a head-on collision that left her in critical condition; according to news reports, the E-ZPass transponder was apparently taken from her vehicle sometime after it was towed away. Car accident victims sometimes wind up having wallets, laptops, and other valuable items stolen after a collision.
What your insurance doesn’t cover. Even if you think you have fairly comprehensive medical or auto insurance, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise when you find out what your insurance doesn’t cover. For example, your auto insurance might cover the basic radio that came with your car, but not the upgraded, far more expensive audio system you installed. Insurance companies also look for ways to deny your claims even for items they should cover, which is one reason it’s important to get legal assistance when preparing and submitting an airtight claim or disputing a denial of coverage.
If you experience an accident, be sure to contact a Virginia accident lawyer. Your lawyer will help you fight for the greatest amount of coverage and compensation possible after your crash in order to help you deal with the staggering and sometimes unexpected expenses.
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