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How to Get Back on the Road After a Wreck

Car accidents not only rock your physical world, they can send your mental state into a tailspin. While you're thankful you survived, the shock of an accident can cause you to miss some critical steps in the auto recovery process. Being prepared now can alleviate that stress if an accident happens.

There are the obvious to-do items after a wreck: checking to see if everyone involved in the accident is OK, calling the police and exchanging insurance information. But once the adrenaline has subsided, it's time to start thinking about how you're going to get yourself back behind the wheel.

Is Old Reliable Finished?

If you need to determine whether your vehicle is a total loss, consider this — Cars Direct states if your vehicle needs 70 percent repair or more, it's probably not worth repairing. If you don't say so, your insurance likely will.

At this point, the best you can hope for from Old Reliable is getting a fair amount of money from your insurance company (getting at least what it was worth before the wreck).

Once a check is cut for your reimbursement, you have the option of keeping your totaled vehicle or letting the insurance company sell it at an auction, explains Nationwide. If you choose to keep it and sell it for parts, or make it an interesting yard decor, contact your insurance company quickly, as insurance companies likely won't wait to sell your vehicle.

Old Reliable Can be Fixed

For those drivers whose vehicles are allowed to be repaired, start researching where to bring your vehicle for an estimate and where to get it repaired. Don't just pick the closest auto body shop, however. Do you your homework.

There are places that can give you free estimates and great deals on small repairs, such as VW Automobiles in Phx, for example. One of the first things to do in determining which place to choose is to read online reviews about repair shops. has feedback and a star rating from consumers, as well as the proximity and contact information of repair shops around you.

Use your insurance company as a resource, as well. They work with shops that are reputable and reliable.

Rental — for "In the Meantime"

Life isn't going to wait for your vehicle to get fixed or replaced, so getting back on track — and on the road — is another important step. If you can't borrow a vehicle from a family member or friend, rent a car.

If you have car rental insurance, then be sure to stay within your budget your coverage allows. Pass on the convertible, and stick with the Taurus that can get you around without the hefty price tag.

If you don't have car rental insurance, the Federal Trade Commission offers a few tips.

Pay attention to words such as "compact," "mid-size" and "luxury," as each one has a different price tag. Rental companies can vary in cost, so shop and compare before committing. Gauge how long you will need to use a rental vehicle, and see if there are any deals or specials. Most importantly, question the fees. Be sure to sniff out any hidden costs and compare fees with other companies before signing the dotted line.

Have you ever crashed your car before? Tell us your tips in the comments.

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