If you get in an accident that’s not your fault, you may be wondering if you should file the claim with your car insurance company or the opposite party’s insurance company. Before we answer this question, there are three other questions that must be addressed first.
- Does the other party actually have insurance?
- Is the accident clearly the other driver’s fault?
Depending on the kind of accident you get in to, there can be debate on whether the accident is actually the opposite party’s fault. For example, parking lot incidents are often 50-50 in which case you will need to file with your own insurance. If it is something more obvious, however, then filing with the opposite party’s insurance is an option that may be considered.
- Are there injuries?
Injuries are a completely different ball game since it isn’t just a vehicle that’s been damaged. If the opposite party ends up having injuries call your agent first to see how you should move forward with the claim. Typically, you will end up filing with your own insurance in this case, so you don’t have to deal with your insurance and the opposite party’s insurance fighting and going back and forth.
If you discover that they do not have insurance, then you will need to speak with your personal insurance agent to determine how the claim will be filed.
What if the accident is clearly the other party’s fault and there are no injuries?
In this case, filing your claim with the other driver’s insurance is a much more practical option. However, it is important to note the pros and cons before doing so.
- The claim will, generally, not go on your insurance record. Typically, not at fault accidents don’t affect you too much but they can when you’re shopping down the road. Filing your claim with the opposite party’s insurance will allow you to keep it completely off your record.
- You don’t have to pay your deductible because the opposite party’s insurance will be paying that for you.
- The opposite party’s insurance is not your friend which means the entire process can take a lot longer than you may expect. If they deny fault you will have to take the opposite party’s insurance company to court. This is typically the name of the game for them because insurers know that the longer and more difficult resolving a claim becomes, the more likely it is that you will just settle or drop it.
- If the opposite party’s insurance doesn’t fully cover the repair costs of your vehicle, you will need to tap into your collision coverage or uninsured motorist coverage. In this case, you may end up paying a deductible.
We recommend that you give us a call! Give your agent a call. Not all situations are the same which is why we’d be happy to help guide you and understand what the best course of action is. Contact your Washington state insurance professionals if you’re in need of any assistance. We would be happy to help!