An auto accident would stress you naturally. After you get over the initial shocks there are still many things to deal with. If there are any 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. A claim process is time consuming and some glitches are bound to appear to upset you more.
When police and insurance companies determine that another driver is at fault you would be relieved a bit. Hopefully, the at fault driver’s insurance company 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 your next renewal. Below, we will discuss how you can claim on the other side insurance company successfully and offer some tips.
What Can You Claim from At Fault Third Parties’ Car Insurance Companies?
When you make a claim against other drivers and parties involved, it is called third party insurance claims. After determining that the other parties “at fault” what you can claim on their insurers will depend on state insurance 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 liabilities auto 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). However, there are limitations to filing injury claims with the third party insurers. These restrictions vary widely depending on the state laws. But generally your own Personal Injury Protection Cover will come in to pay your and your passengers’ medical expenses.
How Can You Help Determine Fault After an Accident?
After an accident not everybody raise hand to accept responsibility easily. At times third parties can be difficult and play the blame games on you. However, insurance companies are experts in figuring who is at fault. They can find out from witnesses, accident pictures and the damages on the cars involved. You can help yourself and your insurer (if they involve) by taking several steps.
First of all, you should call the police to the crash scene and ask an official police accident report. A police report can actually determine the fault or be very helpful when companies are fighting it out to settle who is at fault. 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 filing a claim with your own insurance provider. However, there would be a few intricacies along the way. If you know about them you may control your stress level a bit.
Filing the Claim
Normally, you file the claim directly with at fault party’s auto insurer. Your broker/agent or insurance company can help you in this process. When you are completing the claim form it would be handy to have the following information. Try to provide them to the best of your ability 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 police department. This report would have most of the information you will need.
- The at-fault driver’s name and insurance policy number.
- Contact information of injured passengers (if there is any).
- Photos of accident and damages to your automobile.
- Details of injuries sustained in the accident; hospital bills, doctor reports and X-rays.
- Your body repair shop contact information.
Why Claims Can Be Slower with Third Party Insurers?
Before a third party insurance company finally accepts your claim and start dealing with it they would want to listen to their own policyholder. They would wait for a report from their policyholder 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, a claim has to be concluded at the end and third party insurers may even have to proceed without the report from their clients. 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.
Your insurance company claim representatives can be very helpful in this process. Also, you would probably be contacted by the other company claims adjuster. Don’t hesitate to ask questions to them or contact the company direct to follow up the process.
What Are Your Options If the Claim Takes too Long?
It is understandable that you would want your automobile repaired quickly and get back to your life. There may also be hospital bills to be paid. If you have the money for the repairs you may ask the third party claims adjuster to authorize the repairs without accepting responsibility. It would only take a visit to the repair shop for the adjuster to see all the damages and agree with repairs.
They may not officially accept the payment yet before they complete their investigation. However, they should not have any problem with you getting the repairs done out of your own pocket. When it is done right and you have the money there is no reason why not repairs can be completed first. Once the third party insurer is good and ready they can reimburse you for the repairs.
Another option is that you can claim from your own insurer if you have the full coverage to pay the damages. You can discuss this with your insurance company claim rep. If you choose this route, you would file a claim with your insurer and they would deal with your repairs. Then, they would start a subrogation process. This is the claim process your insurance company starts with third party insurance company to get all the expenses paid back to them.
It is best to discuss this option with your insurer at the start. They may have information about how the other company deals with third party claims and give you an idea how long it would take if you wait the third party settlement. Then, you can make a decision about waiting or getting paid by your current provider. There are couple of downsides to this option.
- You will have to pay your own policy deductibles. If the subrogation works you can get the money back.
- There is no guarantee that subrogation will work. It is a process handled by your insurer. This could be a good thing since you don’t need to do anything and bad thing since it is out of your control now.
What If At-fault Driver’s Liabilities Coverage Is Insufficient (Underinsured)?
After all the hassle if the at-fault driver doesn’t have sufficient coverage you will have to work a little bit more. Typically you have two options you can choose depending on your coverage.
- If you have Underinsured Motorist Coverage you can claim through it. This will pay the shortfall amount that was not covered by underinsured driver’s policy.
- If you don’t have Underinsured Motorist Coverage or you would rather not file a claim with your own insurance you have two options. You would have to either cover the loss out of pocket or take a legal action against the third party driver for the excess amount.