What Is Considered Property Damage in a Car Accident?

Generally, when you suffer only property damage in a car accident, you can handle the claim with the insurance company yourself. For minor damage, it is not worth your while or an attorney’s to assist you.

In an auto accident, typically when the other driver is at fault, you are entitled to have the at-fault driver’s car insurance company pay for auto repairs or, in the case of a total loss, pay for a vehicle replacement. Other property damage would include damaged child car seats or personal items destroyed by the crash.

In a total loss, under 11 North Carolina Administrative Code (NCAC) 04 .0418 Total Losses on Motor Vehicles, the insurance company must pay you the fair market value for the vehicle. The fair market value is the amount you could have sold the car for to a willing buyer prior to the accident. When the insurance company pays you the fair market value, it takes possession of the car and you sign over the title to the insurance company. The insurance company then salvages the car or sells the vehicle for parts. If you want to keep the car, the insurance company reduces your check based on what it determines as the salvage value.

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