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Get your car back faster after a winter storm crash

By Mark Stevens, KSL TV | Posted - Feb 10th, 2019 @ 8:23pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Slip … spin … crunch! Utah Highway Patrol, Unified Police, and Salt Lake City Police reported a combined 648 Wasatch Front motorists crashed during the snowstorm Tuesday and Wednesday. That’s a lot of insurance claims.

With so many cars in need of possible repair, is there a way to get through the insurance claim process any faster?

“It’s going to be a busy day,” said Bear River Mutual casualty claims manager Darrel Adams when he awoke to the snowstorm.

He said it ranks in his top 15 storms during his 31-year insurance career. When bad weather strikes, he knows claims will spike with it. How do you get back on the road in a hurry? Adams suggested using an insurance company's phone app.

Bear River’s allows its customers to upload pictures with the claim, moving it along. He also said insurance companies can recommend body shops which are less backed up with cars if a customer needs repairs in a hurry.

“We try to give them suggestions and options of shops that may have the ability to get that car in quicker,” said Adams.

Also, file crash reports with police.

The state requires a person to file a crash report for any crash causing over $1,500 in damage. One of KSL’s vehicles was involved in a minor crash Wednesday. There was damage to the right side of the bumper, the tailpipe and muffler. While it doesn’t appear to be much, the total quote to repair the damage was an estimated $2,100.

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Adams said police reports are helpful.

“Then there’s a formal record of who was driving and what vehicles were involved,” he said.

Adams said his company won’t deny a claim if there’s no police report filed, but it does help with their investigation.

He offered one more piece of obvious advice: Drive defensively, and slow down during bad weather.

“If you’re aware of those things, you might be able to avoid getting caught in the mess yourself,” said Adams.

In bad weather, police may not be able to respond to every crash. Depending on the department, officers may instruct a motorist to file a crash report on the department’s website, or visit a station to speak with an officer in person.

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