There are 230 million licensed drivers around the U.S. Can you guess how many car accidents happen every day? More than sixteen thousand and it keeps on increasing every day. Road accidents happen because of multiple reasons. The top causes of car crashes are speeding, distracted driving, or weather conditions. No matter how careful you drive, the risk of an accident is always there. In the event of a car accident, drivers often ask “can I file a claim on the other driver’s insurance?”.
Car insurance policies have terms and conditions. Filing an insurance claim involves a lot of processes. During an accident, the claim falls on the at-fault driver. However, that’s not always the case. There are cases where you can’t file a claim on other drivers even though they’re at fault.
- The at-fault driver doesn’t carry auto insurance coverage.
- The at-fault driver has a car insurance policy but doesn’t have enough coverage.
- You are living in a no-fault state. No-fault states require drivers to use their own insurance regardless of who is at fault.
States without fault laws:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
The Effects of Uninsured Drivers
What are the chances of running into uninsured drivers? Pretty high! Census showed that there are 32 million drivers around the U.S. driving without insurance. 16.3% of motorists in Colorado don’t have auto liability insurance. This poses a major road risk for all drivers. Road accidents involving an uninsured driver do not only cause injuries and damages. It may also cause additional medical and car repair costs.
Auto Insurance Coverage
The auto insurance covers only third-party claims. Third-party claims are injuries and damages you caused to someone else.
It covers the cost of injuries or death the at-fault driver has caused.
It compensates for property damage the at-fault driver has caused. This includes damaged buildings, utility poles, and fences.
Exclusions of Auto Liability Insurance:
- Injuries you and your passengers sustained
- Damage your vehicle acquired
- Damage or lost personal property inside your vehicle
Factors that Affect Auto Insurance Protection
Auto insurance coverage varies according to the driver’s needs and state laws. Drivers must understand that vehicle insurance is not merely for government compliance only. The ultimate benefit of auto insurance is the protection of drivers on the road. It protects drivers against medical and damage expenses in the event of a road accident.
Multiple factors affect the quality of protection a car insurance policy provides. Insurance coverage depends upon the driver’s protection needs, preference, and budget.
- State Requirements
Minimum liability insurance coverage varies state by state. The state of Colorado requires drivers to carry liability coverage of:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death for a single person in every accident
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death to all persons involved in the accident
- $15,000 for covered property damage in an accident
- Amount of Coverage
The higher the coverage limit, the more quality protection you will get in case of an accident.
- Additional Insurance Coverage
Auto liability insurance only covers other party damages and bodily injury claims. Extra coverage will save you from risks not covered by the auto insurance policy.
Here’s where the problem arises…
Having an auto insurance policy will not make you invisible from car accidents. It only protects you from the possible liabilities of a car accident. Car insurance in Denver, Colorado (or any other state) only pays for the damages and injuries you have caused. There’s no assurance you will be protected if the accident is not your fault. But what happens when you discover that the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance? It may force you to shoulder the medical costs of your injuries and property damages.
Every time you drive a car, risks are there. It is something no one can control nor prevent. Though most auto accidents are preventable, some are just bound to happen. No matter how careful you are when you’re on the road, there’s still a chance of getting into an accident. With that, it is important to protect yourself from the aftermath of road accidents.
It is best to get additional insurance coverage on top of your auto insurance. Regardless of who is at fault, these coverages will protect you from medical and property damages expenses.
Additional Coverage You Need to Get:
This will compensate for the damages and injuries you suffered in case the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance.
For some, getting a car insurance policy is only for state requirements’ compliance. The government only requires minimum liability coverage. The minimum coverage may not be enough to cover the accident expenses. UIM coverage will cover the exceeding costs of medical and property damage expenses.
Automobile insurance coverage only compensates for the costs of third-party injuries. Regardless of who is at fault, MedPay coverage will pay for you and your passengers’ medical expenses. Use this coverage together with your health insurance to cover your medical bills.
This will pay for the repair costs resulting from collisions with another car. It also covers accidents caused by rolling, falling over, or crashing through fences and trees.
Most car lenders and lessors require borrowers or lessees to secure comprehensive coverage. It reimburses repair or replacement costs resulting from the following:
- Car vandalism
- Car theft
- Damages caused by animals
- Damages caused by natural disasters
Living in the No-fault State
Vehicle insurance requirements differ in no-fault states. Drivers living in no-fault states are responsible for the costs of damages and injuries no matter who caused the accident.
No-fault states require drivers to secure additional coverage such as:
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
- It acts as no-fault insurance. It protects you and your passengers, regardless of who is at fault.
- Lost wages
- Health insurance deductibles
- Medical expenses
- Funeral Expenses
- Survivor’s Loss
- Essential Services
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Some states like Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts require drivers to buy UM and UIM coverage. These protect motorists in the event of a car accident involving an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Exemptions to No-fault Laws
There are certain exemptions to the no-fault state rules. In some cases, the no-fault driver has the option to file a claim to another driver if the situation meets the threshold established by state law.
- The at-fault driver has caused a serious injury according to the state’s legal regulations.
- The vehicular accident leads to medical expenses exceeding the dollar amount threshold.
What is a Car Insurance Claim?
A car insurance claim is a process wherein the insured requests compensation from the insurance company in the event of a car accident.
How does a Car Insurance Claim Works?
Car insurance claims work in two ways. The first is to compensate for the damages or injuries incurred from the accident. The second is to settle the liabilities caused by the insured if the insured is at fault.
What to Do When There’s an Accident
Every car owner must know how to deal with a car accident when it happens. Proper handling of accidents helps in reducing injuries, saving lives, and processing claims.
- Ensure important documents are ready in case of an accident. It is best to keep it in your car as accidents happen unexpectedly. Secure these following documents:
- Car registration
- Proof of insurance
- Contact information of the leasing agent for leased vehicles
- The emergency health information card contains your medical information such as:
- blood type
- Health insurance carrier
- Equip your vehicle with emergency warning devices such as reflective cones, flares, and signage.
- Ensure everyone is safe. Check everyone for injuries and get medical assistance if needed.
- Contact the police. Secure the name and badge number of the attending officer. Secure a copy of the police report as it is vital in filling the claim. There are times that police don’t come especially if it’s only a minor accident. Don’t forget to file an accident police report.
- Gather all important information related to the accident. Secure this accident checklist for everyone involved in the accident.
- License number
- Company phone number
- Policy number
- Witnesses statement and contact number (if applicable)
- Vehicle information such as color, year, make, model, plate, and registration number.
- Never share too much information like social security numbers and coverage limits.
- Document the scene of the accident. Record all details associated with the accident.
- Take photos of all property damages including the vehicles involved.
- Take photographs of injuries sustained from the accident.
- Record the exact time, date, and location of the accident.
- Take note of the direction of the vehicles involved.
- Take a snapshot of traffic lights and signs when the accident happened.
- Pictures or videos of the whole accident scene
- Draw an illustration of the accident if possible
- Record the events that led to the collision such as visibility, road, and weather conditions
- Record statements of everyone involved
- Avoid roadside arguments about who’s responsible for the accident. Let the police handle the investigation.
- Contact a reputable tow truck company if your vehicle needs towing.
- Inform your insurance company about the accident. No matter how minor the accident is, it is critical to inform your agent about the accident. This will help in smooth claim processing.
- Consult a doctor. Though you may not feel anything at the moment, it is better to be sure and have yourself checked to rule out internal injuries.
- Keep all accident-related medical records, expenses, and receipts. These documents are important in filing claims and charges if necessary.
- Review your insurance coverage and contact your insurance agent to guide you on how to file a claim if qualified.
To File Or Not to File?
In case of an accident, it is necessary to check your insurance coverage to determine if you’re qualified for an insurance claim. Not all accidents are eligible for insurance claims as certain terms and conditions apply. Some factors determine eligibility for insurance claims. It includes:
A deductible is the amount of money the insured agrees to pay for the repair in case of an accident. Insurance coverage with deductibles only allows the filing of insurance claims after repair expenses exceed your deductibles. Only collision and comprehensive coverage carry deductibles.
Additional Coverage Protection
The UM and UIM coverage allows the filing of insurance claims if the at-fault driver has insufficient or doesn’t have an insurance policy.
- Non-no-fault State
Drivers in non-no-fault states can file an insurance claim for the injuries and damages they have caused. No-fault drivers can file a third-party claim under the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
- No-Fault State
No-fault states allow the insured to use their own insurance. Check your state laws before filing a claim as it varies by state.
How to File an Insurance Claim
Right after the accident, review your policy coverage to determine if you qualify for an insurance claim. Filing an insurance claim requires numerous documentation and investigation. Follow these steps to ensure smooth and fast filing of an insurance claim.
Contact your insurance company to register the claim as soon as possible. Take note that claim registration has a statute of limitation deadline. Deadlines vary by state and the insurance company.
After claim registration, you will get a claim registration number. You can use it as a reference for follow-ups using a mobile app.
Provide the insurance company with the required documents to process the insurance claim. It includes:
- Insured driver’s details
- Claim form
- Police incident report
- Policy number
- Engine and Chassis Number
- Details of the accident
- Details of all the vehicles involved
- Description of the accident
- Witnesses statements and contact details
- Estimate of repair costs
Communicate with the claims adjuster to discuss the value of the damage claim. The claims adjuster estimates your claim compensation according to your policy’s coverage.
Wait for claim settlement and payout. Claim settlement duration depends on state laws and insurance companies. According to the U.S. News & World Report the best insurance companies in 2021 in terms of a claims settlement are:
- State Farm
- American Family
The approval or rejection of an insurance claim is based on the result of the insurer’s investigation.
Grounds for Rejection of Insurance Claims:
Fraudulent or Invalid Insurance Claim
Every insurance claim undergoes investigation. Do not submit overestimate claims. Claims have corresponding legal and financial punishment if proven false.
Lapsed Insurance Policy
Make sure to update and renew your policy. Having inactive insurance is as bad as having none. Any claims made under the expired policy will be rejected.
Delay in Accident Reporting
Any accident must be reported to your insurance provider as soon as possible. Insurers often provide a 48-hour window to report an accident. Failure or delay in accident reporting can lead to the rejection of claims.
Delay in Filing Claims
Insurance providers set a certain deadline for claim registration. An insurance company may deny your claims if it exceeds the deadline.
An Insurance company typically performs an investigation following an insurance claim. This included driver-related concerns like updated driver’s licenses and driving practices. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can result in denial of claims.
Breach of Policy Terms and Conditions
Always abide by your car insurance policy terms and conditions. Failure to follow the policy’s condition like using a personal car for work purposes is a direct breach of contract. A breach of policy terms and conditions is the main grounds for the rejection of claims.
Undeclared Car Modifications
Inform your insurance provider of any car modifications or upgrades you made. Any difference in the insurance information you provided may cause the rejection of insurance claims.
Failure to Transfer Ownership
Failure to transfer the ownership of the second-hand bought car creates a conflict in the policy information. It may cause rejection of claims in the event of an accident.
The claims adjuster computes the value of your damaged vehicle. They also estimate the settlement offer. There are cases when claim payouts will be lower than you expected because of insurance coverage and limits.
Negotiate with your insurance company if you’re not satisfied with their settlement offer. Provide the needed documents to support the settlement amount you are asking for. Provide related documents such as medical records, repair shop estimates, police records, and similar cases. Review your policy about your rights to choose the replacement of car crash parts as it affects the estimation of repair costs.
Impact of Insurance Claims in Insurance Premiums
Different factors affect the increase of car insurance premiums. Getting involved in a car accident does not mean an increase in auto insurance rates. Insurance providers perform an in-depth evaluation in estimating insurance premiums. Insurers consider various factors in calculating insurance premiums. These include driving and claim history.
The increasing number of road accidents and uninsured drivers calls for extensive and reliable vehicle insurance coverage. No amount of safety practices can save you from road accidents if it is bound to happen. Vehicle insurance coverage ensures you are financially and legally protected every time you drive your car.
We can help you with that!
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