An auto accident would stress you naturally. After you get over the initial shocks there are still many things to deal with. If there were injuries, physical suffering would be added to mental stress. Then, there are the issues of car repairs, claim forms and who is going to pay for the damages. It is time consuming and some glitches are bound to appear to upset you more. Hopefully, this post will shed lights on the courses to proceed and intricacies of walking on this tightrope.
When police and insurance companies determine that another driver is at fault you would be relieved a bit. Hopefully, they or their carrier will pay for your injuries (where allowed) and damages in a timely fashion. And you will be able to have relatively cheap auto insurance rates at next renewal. Below, we will walk the path through successfully making the other side pay, either using a liability policy or out of pocket.
What Can You Include in a Third Party Car Insurance Claim?
It is a process of applying to responsible driver’s carrier for compensation of your losses they caused and what you can include in that depends on the state laws.
If you live in an at-fault state you can claim for accident related property damages (like repairs to cars), medical expenses (like hospital bills) and consequential losses (like loss of wages). The other driver’s liability automobile insurance will kick in to pay for these losses you suffered.
If you live in a “no-fault” state you can file a claim for property damages (auto repairs and so on) but there are limitations to injury claims with the third party insurers. These restrictions vary widely depending on the state laws. But generally own Personal Injury Protection Cover will come in to pay your and family’s medical expenses.
How Can You Help Determine Fault After an Accident?
They don’t usually raise a hand and accept responsibility easily. At times they can be difficult and play the blame games on you. However, companies are experts in figuring whose fault it was. They can find out from witnesses, accident pictures and the damages on the cars involved. Taking several steps will help you along the way.
First of all, you should call the police to the crash scene and ask an official accident report. It can actually determine the fault or be very helpful when companies are fighting it out to settle it. Also, you can gather as much information as you can by taking notes, pictures and writing down details of witnesses.
Third Party Vehicle Insurance Claim Process
It is in general like going through own carrier. However, there would be a few intricacies along the way. If you know about them you may control the stress level a bit.
Filing It In
Normally, you file it directly with at fault party’s auto insurer. The broker or agent can help you in this process. When you are completing the forms it would be handy to have the following information. Try to provide them as best as you can to speed things up.
- A copy of the police accident report. A copy would have been given to you. Otherwise, you can request it from the responding department. It would have most of the information you would need.
- The responsible driver’s name and policy number.
- Contact information of injured passengers (if there is any).
- Photos of accident and damages to the automobile.
- Details of injuries sustained in the accident; hospital bills, doctor reports and X-rays.
- The body repair shop contact information.
Why Claims Can Be Slower with Third Party Vehicle Insurers?
Before they can finally accept it and start dealing with it they would want to listen to their policyholder. They would wait for a report from them that can take time. Some people may not be quick to send their side of the story and may not be honest about the facts.
This could delay things a bit. Nonetheless, it has to be concluded at the end and they may even have to proceed even if their clients are unresponsive. That is why police report is very important at this stage. Also, you could help by providing clear account of what happened and back it up with pictures.
Own carrier’s representatives can be very helpful in this process. Also, the other company’s adjuster would probably contact you. Don’t hesitate to ask questions to them or contact them direct to follow up.
What Are the Options If the Claim Takes too Long?
It is understandable that you would want the automobile repaired quickly and get back to normalcy. There may also be hospital bills to be paid. If you have the money for it you may ask the third party adjuster to authorize them without accepting responsibility. It would only take a visit to the repair shop for the adjuster to see all the damages and agree with the work.
They may not officially accept the payment yet before they complete their investigation. However, they should not have any problem with you getting it done out of pocket. When it is done right and you have the money there is no reason why they cannot be completed first. Once the third party automobile insurer is good and ready they can reimburse the money you spent.
Another option is that you can claim from own insurer if you have the full coverage. You can discuss this with them. If you choose this route, they would deal with the repairs. Then, they would start a subrogation process, which is pursuing third parties to recoup all the expenses paid.
It is best to discuss this option with own carrier at the start. They may have information about how the other side deals with third parties and give you an idea how long it would take if you wait for the other side to settlement. Then, you can make a decision about waiting or getting paid by the current provider. There are couple of downsides to this option.
- You will have to pay policy deductibles. If the subrogation works you can get the money back.
- There is no guarantee that subrogation will work. They handle it all. This could be a good thing since you don’t need to do anything and bad thing since you have no say in it.
What If At-fault Driver’s Liability Coverage Is Insufficient?
After all the hassle if there isn’t sufficient coverage you will have to work a little bit more. Typically you have two options you can choose depending on own coverage.
- If you have Underinsured Motorist Coverage it can compensate the shortfall amount for you.
- If you don’t have UMC or you would rather not go through own policy you have two options. You would have to either pay for the loss out of pocket or take a legal action against the liable driver for the excess amount.