How To Make A Claim Against Someone Elses Car Insurance – Forbes Advisor

christin walker from burlington, new jersey, is a safe driver. she proved it by driving a school bus full of noisy and occasionally boisterous children on country lanes and city streets for 22 years.

but even good drivers can have serious accidents. Just over a week after she bought her used 2006 Honda Civic, it was totaled and totaled by a hit-and-run driver and, according to the police report, ran a red light. walker considers herself lucky she was not injured. That same driver was involved in another accident less than a month after he killed a pedestrian.

Reading: If you are in a car accident caused by someone else who also has insurance

Among the problems: He hasn’t yet received a payment from any insurance company, he doesn’t have a car, and he still has a loan to pay off on the Honda that’s now rusting away at a recycling center. She is frustrated enough to file a claim against the insurer of the car that hit her.

If Walker makes an insurance claim, she’s not alone. Each year, police report about 6 million crashes in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. About 3 million people are injured or killed in these car accidents, which is why there are a large number of lawsuits and insurance claims each year.

make an insurance claim against another person

If someone crashes into you, in the simplest scenario, you will file a claim against your liability insurance. this is called a third party claim – you are the third party to the other driver and their insurance company.

The other person’s insurer will process the claim, but don’t expect a quick payment. the insurer might want to investigate the accident to determine that her client was really at fault.

use your own insurance to fix the problem

but if insurance claims were simple, we could all feel like insurance experts. and when someone else has caused an accident, it is natural to feel that he should pay for what he did. But in some cases, you may need to fall back on your own car insurance, even when someone else crashed into you. this is how it could happen.

situation no. 1: states without fault

In states with no-fault insurance laws, always file injury claims on your own insurance first. These states require personal injury protection (PIP insurance) for this purpose. You can sue another driver only when you meet certain requirements, which each state defines. In many cases, there must be serious injury or death before someone else can be sued for a car accident in a no-fault state. (Property damage claims can usually still be made on the other person’s liability insurance.)

in states without no-fault laws, pip and similar coverage called medical payments (medpay) are often available. these can be used for injury claims for you and your passengers.

situation no. 2: An underinsured driver

What if the driver does not have enough insurance to cover accident injuries caused to others? he could still sue them for the rest, but if they don’t have any assets, it might not be worth it. One option is to turn to his own underinsured motorist coverage, if he has it. can cover medical bills when the other driver doesn’t have enough insurance.

situation no. 3: don’t deal with it

You might decide to use your own car damage insurance instead of dealing with the other person’s insurance company. if you have collision insurance, you can use it for car damage caused by someone else.

The downside is that your insurance check will be reduced by the amount of the collision deductible. you may recover the deductible amount later if your insurance company requests reimbursement from the other person’s insurer.

If you have rental reimbursement coverage, you can also use it for a rental while your vehicle is in the repair shop for a collision claim.

situation no. 4: Getting stuck with a car loan balance

If your vehicle was totaled in the accident, insurance should compensate you for the value of the car at the time of the accident, whether you’re filing a liability claim against someone else or using your own collision insurance.

but that doesn’t mean the problem is solved. In some cases, you could owe more on a car loan or lease than the car was worth. This can happen, for example, if you financed most of the cost of the car, or if you have a vehicle that has rapidly lost value. in any case, having gap insurance can provide the difference between the insurance payment and the loan/lease balance.

or you could sue

Another way to get compensation is to hire an attorney and sue the other driver.

See also: How to Deal with Insurance Adjusters – ValuePenguin

You may need to help establish that the other person was really at fault, especially if they start pointing fingers at you. Items like a police report, photos from the scene, and contact information for witnesses will help prove that you were not at fault.

If the likely settlement for a car accident is small (about $3,000 and you have a provable case), you may choose to take the other driver to small claims court.

Although each state has different rules, most local governments have some version of small claims court. Filing fees are usually reasonable, and the wait time for a hearing is usually one to two months. You also have the right to subpoena witnesses, including the other driver, the insurance company’s claims adjuster, and anyone else who may have been involved in the accident. have all your information available, as well as certified estimates of the cost of repairs.

The advantage of this process is that it forces the other person’s insurance company to send an attorney and any necessary witnesses to prove your case, or to dispute the amount of the claim, to court. this could lead to settlement talks.

at the scene of an accident

Protecting your ability to sue another person starts at the scene of the accident. it’s good to have an accident checklist to help you gather the correct information.

make sure you’re okay and stay safe

If you’re involved in a car accident, the first thing you should do is step back, catch your breath, and make sure you and your passengers haven’t been injured. soft tissue injuries are a concern even in a bumper crash, and injuries raise the stakes for an insurance claim.

Assuming there are no injuries, it will still be stressful for both (or all) parties to the accident. try to minimize road rage (yours and theirs) in the inevitable exchange of driver information. stop your car in a safe place if possible. don’t stop on a crowded or fast-moving road unless you have to. and if possible, stay inside the car, dial 911 and wait for the police.

exchange information

If the other driver or drivers are reasonable, make sure they get what they need to file a claim, and that you do too. someone else really only needs your insurance information from your insurance ID card. Many insurers provide a car accident checklist on their mobile apps, or you can print one out and keep it in your glove box.

take photos

The most valuable tool after a car accident is your cell phone. take pictures of:

  • damage to your car and other vehicles involved
  • registration
  • road conditions such as ice, rain or snow
  • any other contributing factors, such as nearby intersections and traffic signals
  • other drivers’ insurance identification cards
  • Your phone should date and record the time the photos were taken. You should also write down the names and phone numbers of any witnesses.

    get information from the police officer

    Be sure to check the name and badge number of the responding police officer, which may be scrawled illegible on any documents you receive. get a copy of the police report as soon as it is filed and check for accuracy.

    contact your insurance company

    Don’t waste time contacting your insurer, no matter who was at fault. technology could come to your aid here too, as many insurers allow you to file claims from their mobile apps.

    “Be sure to file your claim within your insurer’s time limit,” advises loretta worters, vice president of the insurance information institute, an industry group. “Time limits for filing vehicle damage claims are typically 30 days, so ask your insurer if your policy has a time limit for submitting bills, resolving claim disputes, and submitting additional information.”

    Common Reasons Auto Claims Are Denied

    Sometimes the auto insurance claims process is very unsatisfactory. Common reasons for claim denial include:

    the accident was avoidable or preventable

    The insurance company may deny the claim if it believes the accident was preventable; for example, allowing an unlicensed driver to operate your vehicle.

    didn’t file a claim on time

    Insurance companies prefer customers to file claims as soon as possible. and it’s wise to do it anyway, before the damage has muddied or the witnesses to the accident have disappeared. states can set firm deadlines for filing claims, which can be anywhere from one to 20 years.

    delay medical care

    Immediately after an accident, you may not know the full extent of your injuries. But if you delay treating injuries too long, the insurance company may become suspicious of the claim, which could result in an investigation and even a denial.

    See also: Insurance Information – Atlanta, GA – Emory Healthcare

    Stating the facts is important after an accident. don’t try to speculate about what happened if you’re not sure, or decide to accept blame at the scene. Also, the claims process is not the time to be talkative. don’t share too much; too much information could affect the outcome of your claim.

    what to do if your auto claim is denied

    If your auto insurance claim was denied, request the reason for the denial in writing. You’ll want to understand the precise reason the claim was denied and, if necessary, how to appeal the denial. it could be that they are wrong or it could be a legitimate denial, for example, because you did not have adequate coverage for the claim.

    Review the current evidence and then submit a letter describing how the evidence contradicts the insurance company’s decision. If you don’t feel comfortable disputing the denial alone, you may want to consult with an attorney for legal advice.

    Related: When to Hire an Attorney for an Insurance Claim

    understanding the basic types of auto insurance for claims

    After a car accident, it’s a good idea to read your auto insurance policy to verify your coverage. Your insurance agent may have already told you what you are and are not entitled to, but see for yourself. this is when it pays to have a reputable insurer with a good reputation.

    All auto insurance companies offer the same basic types of coverage. the required ones vary by state and the rest are optional, and some types of optional coverage are a smart buy.

    civil liability insurance

    Liability insurance is the most basic coverage for all vehicles. You must have this in case you are guilty of hitting a person, a car, or even running over a garden gnome in someone’s yard. Liability insurance pays a victim’s claims for damages such as medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

    Almost all states require minimum liability coverage, but the amounts vary. California auto insurance, for example, has a minimum of just $15,000 in injury coverage for one person in an accident. Florida auto insurance requirements are even lower at $10,000 for coverage of one person’s injuries in an accident. that coverage may be woefully inadequate with today’s medical costs and litigious society.

    You can be sued for amounts in excess of your auto insurance. For those with assets and savings, plenty of auto insurance is a way to adequately protect you and your assets.

    Liability insurance also pays for your legal defense if you’re sued for something covered by your policy, like a car accident.

    If you have more than $500,000 to protect, you may want to get umbrella insurance.

    collision insurance

    Collision insurance is optional, unless required for your auto loan or lease. This insurance covers damage to your car in the event that it hits an object such as a pole or another car. About 75% of drivers with auto insurance have collision insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

    Collision insurance usually includes comprehensive coverage, so you should buy them together. Comprehensive coverage is also optional, unless required for an auto loan or lease. covers theft, fire, hail, vandalism, and various other perils, like hitting a deer or driving through water that camouflages an overflowing creek.

    no-fault auto insurance laws

    No-fault auto insurance laws in some states mean that it is not necessary to determine who is at fault in order to receive insurance payment for minor injury claims. each party is paid by their own insurer instead of filing a lawsuit. personal injury protection is the coverage for these claims.

    personal injury protection

    Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is usually combined with a no-fault law. covers the medical expenses of a car accident regardless of who is at fault. But no-fault laws don’t eliminate the risk of being sued, particularly if the accident resulted in serious injury or death.

    “True ‘no-fault’ accidents are very rare,” says Sandra Watts, insurance claims consultant. “unless a no-fault accident occurs, a percentage [of blame] will be attributed to each of the parties involved, usually resulting in one of these parties being predominantly at fault.”

    be patient

    Whether you’re working your way through an insurance claim or a lawsuit, being patient is crucial. Understanding your coverage will help you know what you’re entitled to. but the starting point is to buy the right coverage in the first place.

    See also: How Much Is Insurance for a Ford Mustang? – ValuePenguin

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