If someone else’s car crashes on yours and the car accident is not your fault, you can file a claim on another driver’s insurance. This process is 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 you need before starting the process.
Every driver must-haves for driver’s insurance.
Believe it or not, you can get ready for an accident. Since many things can happen at any time, like car accidents, the best thing you can do is be ready and stay equipped.
- Use Dash Camera and Rear-View Camera – These cameras are handy, and almost every driver invests in these car safety gadgets. So consider having them if you still haven’t had one. A straightforward video of what happened is excellent evidence to support your claim.
- Always have your Driver’s Licence and Car Insurance Card ID ready – these are what 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 understand better what you need to document in case of a car accident claim.
What to do right after the accident
Do your best to stay calm
Accidents are horrifying, but always train yourself to stay calm while driving. Now let’s say you get into an accident and can still move. Do your best to keep composure, then check for 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 of your fault.
Call 911 and Talk to the other driver.
After you park your car on the safe side of the road and assume there are no injuries, call 911 immediately. While waiting for the police, talk to the other driver calmly. Ask for an exchange of contact numbers, driver’s licenses, and insurance card ID numbers.
The Insurance Information Institute or III recommends that the driver 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 necessary information, 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 problems in the future.
How to File a Third-Party Insurance Claim in Your Driver’s Insurance
After you already have all the information you need, the next thing 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 deal with the other insurer.
Each insurance company has a different claims process and determines who’s at fault based on 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 determine the damages appropriately made.
Once the adjusters from the insurance companies already have the result, they will 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.
The Insurance Information Institute also recommends that the best way to know how much you need for repair is to get an estimate from a mechanic. You have the option to choose your repair shop. Though some insurers have their contact mechanic that they might offer you. Still, the decision is yours, so 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 insurance adjusters for Property Damage and Personal Injury Claims. And generally, the other driver’s insurance company handles a third-party property damage claim 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 try to settle it. While with a personal injury claim, you must first wait for all your injuries to stabilize. Then that is the only time that the adjuster can talk to you.
During this process, expect you to talk to two different adjusters often. You need to set up an appointment on when they can check your car under your supervision.
Option on filing third-party claims
There are many scenarios of how accidents can happen. And not all accidents can be that simple after a collision. The other car’s driver will apologize and tell you 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 standard, and going after the driver at fault without enough evidence can be challenging. Hence, sometimes just using your insurance to fix the damage immediately is more accessible than going through all the hassle of driver hunting.
Here are some of the everyday situations you can encounter:
Using your collision insurance
If you have collision insurance on your policy, you can use it to avoid the meticulous process of third-party claims. But the downside of that is your collision deductibles will reduce your insurance. Also, you must pay first and use your money before the insurance kicks in once your insurer has already processed a reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance provider. Only then will they give back the amount you pay out of your pocket?
The No-Fault States Law
Some states have no-fault insurance laws where you must 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 specific qualifications that you need to meet. Often, the injury must be severe, or there must be a dead person before you can qualify to sue the other driver.
While states without the no-fault insurance law have PIP Insurance and Medical Payments, or MedPay, (coverage similar to PIP ) is usually available. So don’t fret because you can use these coverages for your passengers’ injuries.
What if the other driver is underinsured?
If you’re in this unfortunate situation, there’s nothing much that you can do. Not having enough car insurance will not only put the driver in a bad situation. But also other people 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. Another, 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.
Also, if your auto insurance has Underinsured-Motorist coverage, this can at least cover the medical bills for the injury caused by the accident.
When you have a car loan balance
Having a car loan balance can be a problem if your car becomes totaled after an accident. Here’s why, if the adjuster determines that your car was a total loss, your insurer will pay you for the actual cash value of your car. This means you will 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 more complex and messier option 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 find 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 must ensure that you have concrete evidence that the other driver is at fault. These are some examples of the things you should have:
- First, a police report of the accident.
- Second, photos or videos of the damages done.
- Third, photos or videos that can prove that you are not to blame, like the video on your dashcam or rear-view cam.
- Fourth, photos or videos of the cars, license plates, the accident scene, and all the contributing factors such as road signage, intersections, and road condition. ( if it is slippery, wet, rough, or with snow )
- Fifth, the contract number of the witness/witnesses that can prove the claim.
- Sixth, certified estimate for the repairs
At the end…
Each state has different rules for driver’s insurance regarding insurance 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 in small claims court. The wait for the hearing date usually took one to two months. Also, everyone in the case should be on trial, including the other driver, witnesses, passengers, and even the claims adjuster. You can request that they receive a subpoena to ensure they will come. Although this process is meticulous and stressful, the good thing about this is lawsuits usually end in a settlement.
In a nutshell, having the best insurance that will fit your needs always depends on you. And ensuring you are adequately covered starts by knowing what policy you should get. We have the best team to help you Here at AIS in Denver, CO. Being part of the best insurance agency here in Denver, CO, can be your best bet in securing your assets!