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Car Insurance Claim if Not At Fault

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The lowdown...
  • When you are involved in an accident, one of your first steps is often determining where the fault lies
  • If you are not at fault for an accident, there are a couple of different ways to go about filing your car insurance claim
  • If you live in a no-fault insurance state, you will traditionally file a claim through your provider regardless of fault
  • When your state does not have no-fault laws, then you will normally file a claim under the at-fault party’s insurance policy
  • You may file a claim through your provider if you do not know who damaged your vehicle, such as in a hit-and-run

Filing a car insurance claim when you are not at fault may be a simple or more complex process depending on the laws of your state and what information you have available.

When someone is responsible for damaging your vehicle, you should get whatever information you can about the following:

  • the driver
  • the vehicle
  • their insurance policy

With this information, you will be able to file a claim through their insurance carrier or your insurance carrier.

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Filing a Claim Against the At-Fault Driver’s Policy

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If your vehicle is damaged by another party and you have their information, contacting your insurance provider may be your first step.

In many situations, your insurance carrier can help provide you with guidance on what steps to take next.

If you do not live in a no-fault state, you may be advised to contact the responsible party’s insurance provider to start your claim process.

After speaking to your carrier, you will need to go through the process of contacting the at-fault party’s insurance provider to get your claim started.

When a claim is being made against a policyholder, most insurance carriers require a certain amount of information to proceed.

This information can include:

  • the driver’s name
  • the driver’s address
  • vehicle make and model
  • the policy number

When you are providing the details of the claim, make sure you are honest with the claim representative about what happened, anyone involved, and any injuries that you have; injuries may need to be verified by a medical professional.

You may be able to update your claim at a later time, but the sooner you provide accurate information, the easier it is to investigate and resolve your claim.

Filing a Claim Without the At-Fault Driver’s Information

There are times when submitting a claim through the at-fault party’s insurance carrier may not be possible such as in cases of damages caused by hit-and-runs or uninsured drivers.

Your options may be limited when it comes to claiming your loss.

Just like situations when you have their policy information, you should still contact your insurance provider first to get advice on the situation.

They will be able to guide you on whether you should file a claim or not, what information you will need to gather, and any evidence or proof they may require; a police report may also be a requirement depending on your situation.

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When filing under your policy, it may be best to understand how much damage was caused to your vehicle before completing the process.

If your policy is covering the damages, you may find that there is a deductible you are responsible for. The deductible is the amount of a claimed loss that you may be required to cover during a settlement.

Depending on this amount, you may find that paying for your loss yourself is more efficient or cost-effective.

Your coverage options may include coverage for uninsured motorists, which can often help offset the losses that occur when another driver does not carry coverage.

If you carry this coverage, you may not be responsible for any portion of your loss. This option would need to be in place before your loss occurs. Speak to your insurance carrier about this coverage if you would like to learn more.

Filing a Claim in a No-fault Insurance State

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Another claim filing situation that can come up is when you live in a no-fault insurance state. These states have insurance regulations that require you to file claims through your insurance carrier regardless of fault.

This requirement helps to reduce the number of insurance claims that work their way into the court system by allowing insurance providers to reach settlements with their policyholders.

The process of recovering the funds from the responsible party’s provider is called subrogation, which is an insurance term used to describe the recovery of a claim settlement from a responsible party.

Subrogation helps reduce the costs an insurance carrier may have since court costs and lawyer fees are not being paid out as often.

Conclusion

When your vehicle is damaged by someone else, filing a claim to get your car repaired or replaced is often your first thought; recovering from a loss means a return to normalcy.

Before you can complete the claim process, however, you will need to get some information about the driver, their vehicle, and their insurance policy.

You will need to have enough information that the insurance provider can contact all parties involved, investigate the claim, and resolve it quickly and amicably.

However, there are different insurance regulations in some states that may require you to follow specific filing paths. You may need to file a claim through your carrier, even if you are not at fault for the loss.

Your insurance provider can help explain the process and why you have to file the claim through them.

Your state’s Department of Insurance can also provide additional clarification regarding your state’s specific regulations.

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