Having an Auto Insurance claim can play havoc on your emotions so making rash decisions can sometimes result in a less than favorable outcome. Being prepared before you have a claim can help you be more prepared in making an informed decision.
I'll start with a few housekeeping tips. Always keep a copy of your registration and insurance card in your glove box as this info may be required by the other party or law enforcement. It is also a good idea to photocopy your driver's license and keep that with the above items just in case you don't have your driver's license on you.
After an accident, providing that you are not seriously injured having to go to the hospital, make sure that you exchange your insurance information with the other driver. If the accident is not your fault, make absolutely sure that you call the authorities so the other driver receives a citation. This step is important as a decent percentage of people will change their story after the fact. If this occurs, their carrier will then advise that you will need to file your claim under your own auto insurance policy.
By having the accident report from the authorities, if it indicates that the other party is at fault and received a ticket, the other insurance company will be more likely to accept responsibility for the claim.
What does this entail if they agree that their party is at fault? Well, for starters they will have to furnish you a rental car until your vehicle is repaired. Secondly, they will be responsible for your vehicle damages up to their property damage limit. In addition, other coverages will apply such as the other party's bodily injury coverage which is important if you have sustained injuries.
Another factor that will not apply is your deductible. If the other party is at fault, they will have to repair your vehicle up to their property damage limit with you not having to pay your deductible. Once again, without the accident report indicating that the other party is at fault, you will most likely have to file your claim under your policy.
There is no problem with this option either, however, you will need to pay your deductible first. If your carrier determines that the other party is at fault, they will then subrogate for their money back. If they receive money through subrogation, they will then refund your deductible. Note that this process can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years so don't expect immediate results.
When filing a claim through the other party's insurance, most people will find that that carrier is not overly accommodating. Most of the time, they will stall the process as long as possible so that you get frustrated and file through your own carrier. The most common stalling practice is that they will say that they can't do anything for you until they take a statement from their client. If it is a decent auto insurance carrier, just be persistent and they will get it set up for you.
If you have any questions, please contact the professionals at Southern Insurance Group at 352-243-9000, opt 1 or [email protected]