If someone else’s car crashes on yours and the car accident is not your fault, yes, you can file a claim on another driver’s insurance. This process is called a third-party insurance claim. And If you have good coverage on your car insurance, you have better options on how you want your car to be fixed. But first, here are the things that you need before you can start the process.
Every driver must-haves
Believe it or not, you can be prepared for an accident. Since many things can happen anytime like car accidents, the best thing that you can do is be ready and stay equipped.
- Use Dash Camera and Rear-View Camera – These cameras are very useful and almost every driver is investing to buy these car safety gadgets. So consider having them if you still haven’t had one. A clear video of what happened is great evidence that will back you up in your claim.
- Always have your Driver’s Licence and Car Insurance Card ID ready – these are the things that the police officer needs once they are already on the accident scene. Also, most insurance companies already have an app that you can download. It is there where you can see the Car Accident Checklist. You can have that as your guide to better understand what you need to document in case of a car accident claim.
Do your best to stay calm
Accidents are really scary, but always train yourself to stay calm while driving. Now let’s say you got involved in an accident and you can still move. Do your best to keep composure then check yourself if you have any wounds. If you have passengers, make sure that everyone is okay. Oftentimes, after the accident and the drivers are still mobile and no one is severely hurt, the first attempt to confront the other driver becomes messy. But again, try to keep your cool. Here’s why. Any harmful words or actions you do once you confront the other driver can be used against you. In other words, you might face a lawsuit regardless if you are the one at fault or not.
Call 911 and Talk to the other driver
After you park your car on the safe side of the road and assuming there are no injuries, call 911 right away. While waiting for fo the police, go down and talk to the other driver calmly. Ask for an exchange of contact numbers, driver’s license number, and insurance card ID number.
It is recommended by the Insurance Information Institute or III that the driver must file an accident report. If the police are already there, ask for a police name and badge number. Also, ask for the accident report as soon as it’s filed because you will need that in filing your claim.
Once you have the information that you need, make sure to file a claim on time. Most insurance providers have time limits when it comes to submitting file claims. Typically, insurers provide a 30-day maximum limit. So make sure to ask your insurer about this to avoid any problem in the future.
HOW TO FILE A THIRD-PARTY INSURANCE CLAIM
After you already have all the information that you need, the next thing that you need to do is file a third-party claim. Now, regardless of who is the one at fault, you must first contact your insurance company. Some insurers can work with the other driver’s insurance provider on your behalf. They will help you file a third-party claim and will deal with the other insurer.
Each insurance company has a different claims process and determines who’s at fault based on the state laws. Usually, you will work with a claim representative or insurance adjuster during the process. The adjuster needs all the information gathered and personally inspected both cars to properly determine the damages made.
Once the adjusters from the insurance companies already have the result, they will then tell you who is really at fault. If it is proven that the other driver is the one who caused the accident, you will receive a payment from the other insurer for all the damages. They can mail you a reimbursement check or pay it directly to the collision repair shop.
It is also recommended by the Insurance Information Institute that the best way to know how much you exactly need for repair is to get an estimate from a mechanic. You have an option to choose your repair shop. Though some insurers have their contact mechanic that they might offer you. Still, the decision is yours to make, so just weigh your options and choose what you see best.
Understanding What is a Third-Party Property Damage Claim and Personal Injury Claim
Some insurers have two separate insurance adjusters for Property Damage Claim and Personal Injury Claim. And generally, a third-party property damage claim is handled by the other driver’s insurance company right after the accident. It is usually taken care of faster because as soon as you have the estimate for the damages on your property, the adjuster will already communicate with you and will try to settle it. While with the personal injury claim you need to wait first for all of your injuries to stabilize. Then that is the only time that the adjuster can talk to you.
During this process expect that you will need to talk to two different adjusters many times. You need to set up an appointment on when they can check your car with your supervision.
Option on filing third-party claims
There are many scenarios on how accidents can happen. And not all accidents can be that simple like after a collision the driver of the other car will just say sorry and tell you that their insurance will cover the damages. That doesn’t always happen in real life. Someone’s car may crash on yours and just run off after. Hit and run are pretty common and without enough evidence going after the driver that is at fault can be hard. Hence, sometimes just using your insurance to immediately fix the damage is easier than going through all the hassle of driver hunting.
Here are some of the common situations you can encounter:
Using your collision insurance
If you have collision insurance on your policy, you can just use it to avoid the meticulous process of third-party claims. But the downside of that is your insurance will be reduced by your collision deductibles. Also, you need to pay first and use your money before the insurance kicks in. Once your insurer already processes a reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance provider. It’s only then that they will give back the amount you pay out of your pocket.
The No-Fault States Law
Some states have no-fault insurance laws where you need to file the claims to your insurance company first. States with this type of law require the insured to have Personal Injury Protection or PIP Insurance. However, If you are thinking of filing a lawsuit against the other driver, there are certain qualifications that you need to meet. Oftentimes, the injury must be severe or there must be a dead person before you can be qualified to sue the other driver.
While states without the no-fault insurance law have PIP Insurance and Medical Payments, or MedPay, (coverage that is similar to PIP ) are usually available. So don’t fret because you can use these coverages for the injuries of your passengers.
What if the other driver is underinsured?
If you got caught in this unfortunate situation, there’s nothing much that you can do. Not having enough car insurance will not only put the driver into a bad situation. But also other people that get involved with them in case of an accident. However, if the impairment caused by the crash is severe, then you may want to sue the other driver for not having enough auto insurance to cover the damages done to your car. Now here is the catch. If worse comes to worst that the other driver doesn’t have money to pay the repairs and has no assets to get money from, you might need to opt for the last option.
If your auto insurance has Underinsured-Motorist coverage, this can at least cover the medical bills for the injury caused by the accident.
If you have a car loan balance
Having a car loan balance can be a problem if your car became totaled after an accident. Here’s why, if the adjuster determined that your car was a total loss, your insurer will just pay you for the actual cash value of your car. Meaning you will just get its depreciated amount. So if you have the type of car that depreciates quickly, chances are you will have the remaining amount to pay on your car loan.
If this happens, you may want to consider having Gap Insurance. This can cover the difference between the loan balance and the insurance payment.
Filing A Lawsuit
This is the harder and messier option that you can do, but if needed, why not. You can hire a lawyer to file legal action against the other driver if you two can’t come up with a better way to deal with the situation. Filing a lawsuit is also an option if the damage made to you and your car is severe or someone ends up dead due to the crash.
But if you want to file a claim, you need to make sure first that you have concrete evidence that the other driver is the one at fault. These are some examples of the things you should have:
- A police report of the accident.
- Photos or videos of the damages done.
- Photos or videos that can prove that you are not to blame, like the video on your dashcam or rear-view cam.
- Photos or videos of the cars, license plates, the accident scene, and all the contributing factors such as road signage, intersections, and condition of the road. ( if it is slippery, wet, rough, or with snow )
- Contract number of the witness/witnesses that can prove the claim.
- Certified estimate for the repairs
Each state has different rules to follow when it comes to claims. But generally, if the settlement for the accident is just around $3,000 and the case is in your favor, you can file the case to small claims court. The wait for the hearing date usually took one to two months. Also, everyone that is needed for the case should be on the trial such as the other driver, witnesses, passengers, and even the claims adjuster. You can request that they should receive a subpoena to make sure that they will come. Although this process is meticulous and stressful, the good thing about this is lawsuits usually end in settlement.
In a nutshell, having the best insurance that will fit your needs always depends on you. And making sure that you are properly covered starts by knowing what policy you should get. We have the best team that can help you Here in AIS. Being part of the best insurance agency here in Denver, Colorado can be your best bet in securing your assets!