How to Handle Insurance with an Out-of-State Car Accident
Traveling, whether for work or pleasure, shouldn’t be stressful. It ought to be a chance to get away from your normal grind and see a little more of the world.
Travel is supposed to make you healthier and happier, but events don’t always follow the plan. If you’ve been in an accident while traveling out of state, you’re probably unsure what to do next.
Insurance laws change when you cross state borders, and if you’re driving a rental car, the situation becomes even more complicated. Take a deep breath, and think back to the contents of this article.
Being prepared for any eventuality is the first step in handling a car accident. Here’s what you need to know when you’re involved in an out-of-state car accident.
No-Fault vs. At-Fault States
Some states are no-fault states and others are at-fault states. If you’re from a no-fault state, your insurance will cover part or all of the medical bills up to $10,000. This comes with you, even if you’re visiting an at-fault state.
Thus, if you’re from New Jersey (a no-fault state) and you have a car accident in North Carolina (an at-fault state), your no-fault coverage will protect you. You can bill your insurer for out-of-pocket damages.
If you live in an at-fault state, your medical bills may not be covered. You’d want to get a “med pay” policy to cover any expenses. That wouldn’t help with the current accident, but it will protect you in the future.
Access Rental Car Insurance Information
If you’ve rented a car, contact the rental agency and inform them of the accident. It will have a procedure for returning the damaged car and substituting a replacement if you need one.
If you took out an insurance policy with the agency, the employees will walk you through the process of handling the damage. The company’s insurance will cover the accident, and might cover medical expenses if the policy so stipulates.
If you opted not to take out an insurance policy with your rental, your credit card might have an insurance policy that covers such damages. You might also rely on your own auto and medical insurance policies to help cover the damage and any medical expenses.
Find an In-Network Repair Service
If you’re driving a rental vehicle, don’t try to handle any repairs on your own. The rental agency will take care of that.
If you’re driving your own car, look for any special instructions from your insurance provider. Some providers only allow you to have work performed by vendors in their network.
If you’re out of state, you might not know the accepted firms, so you’ll want to call your insurance company for the list.
Contact an Attorney
An attorney can be a huge asset in an accident. Insurance companies sometimes refuse payment on a technicality. They might also delay payment, so having an attorney on your side can speed things along and ensure you get the payments you deserve.
Your attorney can also help you assess the potential for a personal injury suit if the physical effects are severe and the accident was not your fault. You should not have to suffer without monetary compensation that can cover your medical debts, replace lost wages from work, and compensate you for your altered standard of life following your accident.
Ask Plenty of Questions When in Doubt
Insurance can be a difficult subject to grasp. When you’ve been involved in an accident, that’s even more confusing. You’re not alone if you feel lost on this subject, so go ahead and ask plenty of questions.
Start on your insurance website: Read blog posts and FAQ articles to answer your questions. Asking questions of friends or family members who have been in this situation can also assist your quest for understanding.
Ultimately, the best way to learn what to do is to talk directly with your insurance provider. You can contact representatives by email or live chat, but it’s often easiest to hop on the phone and ask as many questions as you can of the agent who handles your case.
He or she will explain the situation you’re in and describe any special circumstances that apply.