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Ask a Patch Pro: Car Crashes, Claims and Auto Repairs

This week, our Patch Pro, Don Juen, is on hand to help you get your vehicle back on the right track following a car accident.

Ice, poor visibility, distracted driving, plain dumb luck.

Whatever the cause, many of us will get into a car accident at some point in our lives—and not everyone knows how to navigate insurance claims and car repairs that following the accident.

That's why Patch recruited Don Juen, the owner of in Oakdale, to lend his expertise and answer questions about the car repair and insurance claim process.

Have a question? Post your thoughts or concerns in the comments section and then check back with Patch later to see what they have to say.

Click on the links below to see other installments in our ongoing "Ask a Patch Pro" series.

Heyitsme August 30, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Hi, I have a question about Auto Claims. My teen's car caught on fire and there is an criminal investigation going on. The insurance adjuster came out on the 3rd of August and said they have 30 days to pay the claim. Now he says they can do anything because the investigation is still active. (it should be closed this week). The issue is we had the type of coverage that it replaces the car with the next year newer and my teen can't get anything else until the check comes. Is this true about the check being 30 days? Or their hands are tied because the investigation is still active?
Matt Davidson August 30, 2012 at 05:38 PM
A few years back I was involved in a accident at a gas station. I called the police. The 17 year old who backed into me did not have a license or insurance. The officers filled out a report and that was it. I was told by them that there is nothing else they can do since it was private property. They gave me the impression that I should have handled this on my own and not bothered them. My question is, if there is an accident with no injuries do you call the police?
Oakdale Collision August 30, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Every insurance company is different in how they settle claims. There is no specific time limits for the settlement of claims, Insurance are required by law to pay all claims in a prompt and reasonable amount of time. However, that depends an their difination of timely. Most likely, they cant do anything until the investigation is complete. I would suggest calling your insurance company and asking them to express ship or overnight your payment when they have it ready to go. That way your getting as soon as its available
Oakdale Collision August 30, 2012 at 06:36 PM
We always tell people to call the police. They may tell you that they are to busy and not come out. But, I would always call. If they dont show up I would file a report at the police station or on the Department of Motorvehicles website. They couldnt do anything on private property but if you would have been on the roads they may have showed more interest. Check the online lists of " What to do in case of an Accident " and they all say..." Call the Police " Feel free to stop in here and I can give you a list for your glove compartment. Something every young driver should keep in there car
Chris Steller (Editor) August 30, 2012 at 06:37 PM
We had a car catch fire. The dealership and the insurance company gave up trying to figure out why it happened. Was there something else we could have done or should have done?
Oakdale Collision August 30, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Chris Steller; Vehicle fires ar very hard to determine what causes them. With all the electrical components...It's so hard to tell
Susan August 30, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Heyitsme, I found it very helpful to contact the Minnesota Insurance Commissioner the couple times that I have been given the runaround by an insurance company regarding a claim. If you do your homework and know what the vehicle was worth and what the replacement cost for the new car is etc. Send a letter (with a deadline) demanding payment and cc it to the insurance commissioner. Contact the Insurance Commissioner by phone if you don't get contacted by your claims department by your deadline date. You will be surprised at how quickly your claim will get settled and you receive your check.
Heyitsme August 31, 2012 at 03:33 PM
The difference here is the car was intentionally set on fire by some unknown perp. It wasn't an electrical fire or something wrong with the car. The police impounded it and the state fire marshal investigator, local fire marshal and a detective were called in. I will check with MN state insurance commissioner. Thanks!

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