Recovering Compensation for Property Damage in a Car Accident

Car Accidents | November 28, 2023

Your health and well-being are the number one priority after a car accident occurs, but getting your property damage repaired is also incredibly important. However, the aftermath of a vehicle accident can be challenging, particularly when it comes to obtaining the compensation needed to repair your property from the insurance carrier. Here, we want to discuss the process of recovering property damage compensation after a car accident in California.

Recovering compensation from the negligent driver's insurance for property damage in a car accident.

Property Damage Compensation if Another Party is At Fault

If you sustained property damage in a vehicle accident that was caused by the actions of another driver, your most likely course of compensation recovery will come through the negligent driver’s insurance carrier. In the state of California, every driver is required to carry statutory minimum limits of the following types of insurance:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident minimum
  • Property damage liability coverage of $5,000 minimum

When you look at the property damage liability minimum, you can see that this is not much paid if the driver who caused your property damage only carries the minimum insurance required by the state of California. However, it is not uncommon for drivers to carry higher limits than $5,000 for property damage liability. Some drivers carry much more, even upwards of $25,000 to $30,000. You will not know what type of coverage the driver has until you file your claim.

In the event the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits are not enough to cover your vehicle damages, there are other options. One would be to file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver to pursue compensation from their assets. Additionally, if you carry underinsured motorist coverage as part of your insurance policy, then you can turn to this coverage to pay for additional property damage expenses.

Property Damage Compensation if You Caused the Accident

In the event you were responsible for an accident that led to property damage to your vehicle, you have to turn to your own insurance carrier for compensation. In the state of California, individuals are not required to carry collision or comprehensive coverage under the law, though many individuals will have this type of coverage, particularly if they are making payments on their vehicle. Leaseholders and those who are paying a car loan are usually required to carry comprehensive and collision coverage.

Compensation After an Uninsured Motorist Accident

In situations where an uninsured motorist struck your vehicle and caused property damage, the process of recovering compensation is more challenging. One route of recovering compensation could be to file a lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver, but this could present problems. If a driver does not have auto insurance, it is unlikely they will have the assets needed to pay for property damage to your vehicle.

California does not require drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage, but we strongly encourage every vehicle owner to carry this type of insurance. If you are struck by a hit-and-run driver or a driver without insurance, which is surprisingly common, you can turn to your own insurance to recover compensation for your property damage up to the limits of your uninsured motorist coverage. If you need additional support, contact a Sacramento uninsured motorist accident attorney.