After the accident, the owner of the damaged vehicle will usually get quotes for repairs.
If the accident was a minor one, repair quotes will help you decide whether to claim on your insurance. For more information, see Making a claim. The repair quotes will also be evidence of the cost of repairing your car, if the other driver was at fault.
You don't need to get a set number of quotes, but it is common to get two or three written quotes. Sometimes getting more than one quote can help show that the amount you are asking for is 'not excessive' and is 'fair and reasonable'.
You can get quotes from panel beaters. Some panel beaters may charge for written quotes, so you should ring around.
Quotes should usually include:
You can also get your car repaired and then claim the costs of the repairs from the driver at fault. In this case, you would need to keep copies of receipts and tax invoices for the work carried out to fix your car.
If it costs more to repair your car than its value before the accident, your car is usually 'written-off'. If your car is written-off, you should get a report with the pre-accident value of your car.
There are a number of organisations that can provide such a report for a fee of $15.00 - $25.00. You can search for organisations on the internet under 'second-hand car valuations'.
You will also need to get a written estimate of the salvage value of the car from a second hand parts dealer or wrecker. You can find these businesses in the Yellow Pages.
The salvage value is the amount that a second hand parts dealer or wrecker will pay for the car. The amount you can claim for a car that is a write-off can be worked out as follows:
Pre accident value - Salvage value = Amount you can claim.
If the other driver thinks you are at fault and wants you to pay for repairs to their car, they will usually give you one or more quotes for the cost of fixing their car. You can ask the other driver for more than one quote, or to have your own repairer look at their car, but you can't force the other driver to agree.
You can take the quote from the other driver to your own mechanic or panel beater to check that the amount asked for is reasonable.
If you don't agree with the amount they are claiming, you can try to negotiate with the other driver or their insurance company.
For more information, see Mediation.
If you agree to pay the amount claimed, or negotiate a reduced amount or instalment payments, you may be able to settle the claim.
For more information, see Negotiation.