In 2021, NVD reports that there was over 120,000 accidents in Arizona. 85,000 of those accidents were property damage only. What that means is most of you probably didn’t hire an attorney. So coming from an attorney, here’s what you should know when you have a property damage claim going forward. As most of you know, the minimum policy requirement for property damage in Arizona is 15,000. Most of us have a vehicle that’s worth more than 15,000. This is why I encourage every single client and every single claim to go through their own insurance. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Why would I go through my own insurance? It was the other insurance person’s fault. I should be going through their insurance.” Or, “I called my insurance and they don’t want me to go through their insurance.” I’ve heard all these excuses before and I stand by the fact that you should always go through your own insurance. And here’s the first reason why.
The biggest misconception in Arizona is that when you go through your own insurance, your policy rates go up. But in Arizona, it is against the law for your policy rates to go up if you make a claim that is not your fault. Second, after you open your claim with your own insurance, you’re going to have to pay your deductible. It might be $250, $500, $1,000. I know you don’t want to pay this out of your pocket, but think of it as a deposit. Your insurance is going to go back to the other insurance and get that money back for you once they file their claim. Third, rental coverage, and this is very important. Most people think that the other person’s insurance is going to pay for their rental. That’s not always the case. What you need to do is look at your declaration page and see if you have rental coverage. It’s about $6 a month and it’ll cover you for up to 30 days of your rental.
Fourth, look at the value of your vehicle, then look at the value of the repair estimates. If it exceeds 70% of the value of your vehicle, you need to have your vehicle totaled out. What this means is if your vehicle is worth $10,000 and the repair estimates are $7,000, that’s 70% of the value of your vehicle. If that’s the case, you need to have your vehicle totaled out. Fifth, and this is the biggest reason why I tell you to go through your own insurance, your own insurance has a duty and obligation to treat you with good faith. The reason that is because you pay a premium every single month and you signed a contract and they had an obligation to return the favor and take care of you anytime you make a claim. Whether that’s to repair your vehicle, to total your vehicle, or get you a rental, or get you your deductible bag, your insurance is always on the hook in a contract to make sure they take care of you first.
These are just a few helpful hints to get you started with your property damage claim, but if you’ve recently been involved in an accident and you have more questions, contact the AZ Hometown law firm at (602) 495-1005.