Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

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Dynasty90
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Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by Dynasty90 » Sat May 14, 2016 5:25 pm

I was in a minor "fender bender" car accident today. No one was hurt as the collisional occurred at a speed of under 5 MPH. I was not at fault.

When it occurred, I did the following:

- took pictures of the damage
- took pictures of the location (street and building)
- took pictures of other party's license plate
- took pictures of the other party's driver's license
- took down the other party's phone number
- took down the other party's insurance provider (they did not have actual proof of insurance on them)
- provided my information to the other party

I do not want to make an insurance claim. I would like to handle the situation outside of insurance.

At the moment, my protocol is looking like this:

- Take my vehicle to a local auto body center and have them provide a written estimate of the cost to repair the damage
- Contact the other party and provide them will the documented estimate
- Ask to receive 100% of the funds necessary to repair the damage per the documented estimate
- Get damage repaired

How does this look?

If the party does not reply to phone calls, texts, letters, etc. what is the next step? Go the insurance route or the local police department and file a report?

If the party does not agree to pay 100% of the damage, what is the next step?

Thanks for your time and help.

dbltrbl
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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by dbltrbl » Sat May 14, 2016 5:34 pm

RULE # 1

Call police. At minimum call your Insurance and let them know. You have no guarantee that other driver will not say it was your fault.

delamer
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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by delamer » Sat May 14, 2016 5:38 pm

dbltrbl wrote:RULE # 1

Call police. At minimum call your Insurance and let them know. You have no guarantee that other driver will not say it was your fault.
Agreed, and also contact the other party's insurance. The one time that I agreed to handle an accident outside insurance, it was a real mess.

FRANK2009
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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by FRANK2009 » Sat May 14, 2016 5:57 pm

I'd like your plan in a world where everyone is reasonable and decent. What happens when the other driver gets convinced to use the accident as a payday i.e. claims an injury, real or not. Or he doesn't want to pay. Or he wants you to use his cousins brothers, wife's body shop. Or...Or.. Or...I'd make a police report. In my state, New York, you have 10 days to file a property damage only report. I'd also let my insurance handle it. Sorry, I was a police officer. Not everyone is honest.

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reriodan
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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by reriodan » Sat May 14, 2016 6:09 pm

Dynasty90 wrote: what is the next step? Go the insurance route or the local police department and file a report?

If the party does not agree to pay 100% of the damage, what is the next step?
That is the first step. An accident is precisely why you have insurance.

Cindyjrn
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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by Cindyjrn » Sat May 14, 2016 6:25 pm

It's always struck me as odd that people say they don't want to file an insurance claim and they are not at fault. Why?

Katietsu
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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by Katietsu » Sat May 14, 2016 6:34 pm

You obviously feel it likely that the other party will fairly compensate you or you would be already involving the insurance companies. Since you have made that decision, your next step would be to get an estimate and provide it to the other party. I would do this immediately. A delay would put you in an inferior position if you do not settle this amicably. If there is an issue, I would just go to the insurance company next.

I have only had the police involved in one accident and that was a bad one with totaled cars and ambulances. I have only dealt with insurance claims a few times. I have been both just reimbursed out of pocket and been reimbursed for fender benders the remainder of family accidents.

The time that my spouse backed into a vehicle, we asked the other driver to get an estimate and call us. Later, we found out she was an insurance claims adjuster. We had a lawyer write a release of liability. She signed the release at the same time we provided the cashier's check.

Another time, my car bumper was damaged by a lawn service company . I got an estimate and they sent me a check.

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by LadyGeek » Sat May 14, 2016 6:41 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) forum (auto insurance).

Read your policy. You are most probably required to report an accident.

Suppose the other party does go to their insurance company? The situation will get complicated. The insurance company has an army of lawyers to defend the insured - regardless of fault. You don't, unless you contact your insurance company.

Contact your insurance company and ask how to proceed. If you have a favorite repair shop, they'll work with you to use them.
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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by Cindyjrn » Sat May 14, 2016 6:45 pm

As for the OP's actual question, here's how I would proceed from this point.

1. Obtain two estimates.
2. Call other party and ask them how they'd like me to forward the estimates to them. If I reached voice mail, I would also explain that I'd need to hear from them by COB a couple days in the future AT THE MOST or I'd be going the insurance claim route.
3. Forward the claims to them. If the claims are sufficiently similar, I'd suggest splitting the difference between the two. If they are wildly different I'd want to make sure I knew why and them suggest they pay the most expensive one if it's reasonable. In other words, use your best judgement when you ask them to pay a certain amount. Don't take advantage of the situation and try to get them to pay $2000 for a $1000 repair because you think you have them over a barrel. Be reasonable.
4. Tell them you'd like to have your car fixed ASAP and give them until COB of a certain future date to send you the funds. Be straightforward with them that if you don't receive the money by that date, you're going to your insurance company because you're not comfortable not getting your car fixed.

If they want you to forego using their insurance than in turn they have to be amiable to your terms as long as they're not unreasonable.

tjaden
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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by tjaden » Sat May 14, 2016 7:39 pm

One step that many people fail to do in an "agreed upon" accident - especially if you are not interested in involving insurance - contact the police. Not in a 911 sense. At the accident, you take all of the information, get pictures, etc. but you explain to the other driver that you would still like to file a police report. The report doesn't obligate either party to do anything immediately - it is simply there as a record in case the other party starts to bag out of the deal. You simply agree to meet the person at the local police station the following day. There, the officer will ask if you want to make separate statements. If you are in agreement, they can simply sign their name on the report. Then, you proceed to explain what happened and the officer will write out the report. The other person signs it. Later, when you need to contact your insurance because the person isn't cooperating, you will be able to provide the police report and the insurance company will be much happier.

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by Toons » Sat May 14, 2016 7:53 pm

dbltrbl wrote:RULE # 1

Call police. At minimum call your Insurance and let them know. You have no guarantee that other driver will not say it was your fault.
+1 :happy
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Dynasty90
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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by Dynasty90 » Tue May 17, 2016 4:24 pm

UPDATE #1

- I got an estimate from a local body shop regarding the damage....about $650 worth

- I tried calling the phone number the other party provided me to discuss what they would like to do (fix damage in or out of insurance)...the line is disconnected

- I contacted the other party's insurance provider and gave them the details...the vehicle and phone number they have on file are different

- A representative from the other party's insurance provider contacted me and told me they are having difficulties getting in contact with the other party

- A formal letter has been sent to the other party's current mailing address with details pertaining to the claim

I was told I will be contacted within 24 hours with an update to their investigation.

Lesson learned: ALWAYS contact the police and get a police report

I figured it was such a minor fender bender, the situation would be simple and straight forward. Not so.

You Bogleheads were right: Rule #1 contact the police

In my case, the other party's failure to provide proof of insurance at the scene would've been an issue addressed right then and there.
Last edited by Dynasty90 on Sat May 21, 2016 10:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

Rupert
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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by Rupert » Tue May 17, 2016 5:11 pm

Dynasty90 wrote:UPDATE

- I got an estimate from a local body shop regarding the damage....about $650 worth

- I tried calling the phone number the other party provided me to discuss what they would like to do (fix damage in or out of insurance)...the line is disconnected

- I contacted the other party's insurance provider and gave them the details...the vehicle and phone number they have on file are different

- A representative from the other party's insurance provider contacted me and told me they are having difficulties getting in contact with the other party

- A formal letter has been sent to the other party's current mailing address with details pertaining to the claim

I was told I will be contacted within 24 hours with an update to their investigation.

Lesson learned: ALWAYS contact the police and get a police report

I figured it was such a minor fender bender, the situation would be simple and straight forward. Not so.

You Bogleheads were right: Rule #1 contact the police

In my case, the other party's failure to provide proof of insurance at the scene would've been an issue addressed right then and there.
Thank you for the update. There are often questions about fender benders on this forum, and invariably many posters will recommend trying to settle the accident without involving insurance companies. I invariably respond that this is a bad idea because . . . well, what are you paying the insurance company for if not to represent you in this situation? This is a perfect example of being penny wise and pound foolish. Trying to settle such matters with the other party by yourself in this day and age in this country is just nuts. People will lie to you with a smile on their face about everything, including who they are, where they live, and especially about whether they have valid auto insurance. Then they'll show up six months later claiming that you caused the accident and rendered them permanently disabled. If that happens and you haven't involved your insurance company, you're screwed. The other party may never win a judgment, but the legal fees (not covered by your insurance because you chose not to involve your insurance company within the time required by your policy) may bankrupt you.

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by LadyGeek » Tue May 17, 2016 7:33 pm

Dynasty90 wrote:UPDATE

...

- I contacted the other party's insurance provider and gave them the details...the vehicle and phone number they have on file are different

- A representative from the other party's insurance provider contacted me and told me they are having difficulties getting in contact with the other party

- A formal letter has been sent to the other party's current mailing address with details pertaining to the claim

I was told I will be contacted within 24 hours with an update to their investigation.
...
Now that the other party's insurance provider is involved, contact your insurance provider and give them the info. "Having difficulty" means that the lawyers will be after other party. How will your repair be paid for in the mean time? An "update to an investigation" is not a commitment to pay for your repair.

As noted in the previous post, this is now a situation you should not handle by yourself. This is a job for your insurance company's lawyers. Make the connection and let them go to work on your behalf. They have ways to handle this situation that you don't. Follow their guidance.
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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by Nestegg_User » Tue May 17, 2016 11:30 pm

I was hit by another driver on private property; police arrived and examined drivers license and insurance, but would not make report. This was less than one month before retirement and LONG distance relocation. I used my insurance since I thought the other driver's insurance would put up resistance-- and they sure did. Got mine repaired but still waiting for my deductible to get clawed back by my insurance from their company.
Fortunately I documented all I could, but didn't have cell phone on me for pictures at the time (it was charging).
Both insurance companies were provided the info in a detailed report followed by pictures of damage.

Sounds like you at least could get a report.
Sometimes even calling the police doesn't prevent a drawn out problem, but can mitigate some problems.

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by jabberwockOG » Tue May 17, 2016 11:58 pm

Toons wrote:
dbltrbl wrote:RULE # 1

Call police. At minimum call your Insurance and let them know. You have no guarantee that other driver will not say it was your fault.
+1 :happy

This. Always call the police. And ask them to create an accident report. You were right to take lots of pictures. Take pictures of the cars, documents, licenses, the location, any and all people involved. Go ahead and take 50 pictures...don;t be dissuaded, the more the better. Folks can be complete d-bags and totally dishonest after the fact. A police report and lots of pictures will protect your interests and minimize the amount of BS coming from the other party.

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by DoubleClick » Wed May 18, 2016 3:23 am

FRANK2009 wrote:I'd like your plan in a world where everyone is reasonable and decent.
+1. Unfortunately, this is the root of the problem. A depressing proportion of people are not reasonable or decent. Pity. Always call the insurance company.

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by susa » Wed May 18, 2016 6:39 am

tjaden wrote:.. You simply agree to meet the person at the local police station the following day. .
In theory ... have had many instances of this NOT actually happening. Yes, at the accident .."Sure, we will meet at 123 Police St Station...at noon"

Other driver never showed up.

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by ruralavalon » Wed May 18, 2016 6:47 am

dbltrbl wrote:RULE # 1

Call police. At minimum call your Insurance and let them know. You have no guarantee that other driver will not say it was your fault.
+ 1, call the police at the scene.

RULE # 2, call your own insurance right away.
Dynasty90 wrote:took down the other party's insurance provider (they did not have actual proof of insurance on them)
. . . . .
I contacted the other party's insurance provider and gave them the details...the vehicle and phone number they have on file are different

- A representative from the other party's insurance provider contacted me and told me they are having difficulties getting in contact with the other party

- A formal letter has been sent to the other party's current mailing address with details pertaining to the claim
This may mean that they don't have insurance on the vehicle that they were driving.
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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by carolinaman » Wed May 18, 2016 6:56 am

Always call the police. The accident report becomes the basis for any claim. Otherwise, it becomes a potential "he said, she said" situation, and you may wind up paying for your damages and potentially theirs.

If the damages are small, less than $1,000, I would consider not reporting to insurance if the accident report is clear as to the fault of the other party, and they are willing to cover cost, and I get a good read of the person (which is somewhat risky). Otherwise, I will report to my insurance and their insurance.

I had a fender bender 2 years ago that was other driver's fault. My insurance (State Farm) said that I should file claim against other insurer because if I filed through State Farm, I would have to pay deductible. Everything worked out well. However, the person backed into me, and could have claimed I hit them from behind. Fortunately, they were honest. However, given more time to think about it, who knows, their story might have changed.

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by spitty » Wed May 18, 2016 6:58 am

Cindyjrn wrote:It's always struck me as odd that people say they don't want to file an insurance claim and they are not at fault. Why?
Fear of having rates jacked up even though an accident isn't your fault. Staying off the radar, so to speak.

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Wed May 18, 2016 11:49 am

spitty wrote:
Cindyjrn wrote:It's always struck me as odd that people say they don't want to file an insurance claim and they are not at fault. Why?
Fear of having rates jacked up even though an accident isn't your fault. Staying off the radar, so to speak.
Also, if you don't have collision (good Boglehead decision often) then I don't think you can make a claim.

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by TheCowbell » Wed May 18, 2016 12:24 pm

I have a "spy app" on my phone that I use often whenever I need to record any kind of interaction, from accidents to large cash pmts to contractors. It turns the camera on and keeps it on even when the phone is "turned off" (not powered down obviously). I used it once when someone aggressively tried to illegally go around me and ended up hitting me. Most people are honest immediately after an impact (omg I'm so sorry, totally my fault, sorry sorry sorry) but as soon as they leave or sometimes as soon as the cop takes them aside to speak privately with them their story changes. As was the case with me - the mouth breather claimed I was the aggressive party after-the-fact. When he learned from his insurance company that I had a recording of our interaction immediately after the accident he relented.

I'm in a 1-party state. If you're not, check w/your lawyer before using a recording; as you're outside in a public space you may be ok but IANAL.

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Bob B
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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by Bob B » Wed May 18, 2016 3:12 pm

So, everybody says call the police. Sounds like good advice and I would do it. But, what if the accident is in a big city like Philadelphia where police will not respond to a fender bender? Then what?
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Bob B
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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by Bob B » Wed May 18, 2016 3:14 pm

Bob B wrote:So, everybody says call the police. Sounds like good advice and I would do it. But, what if the accident is in a big city like Philadelphia where police will not respond to a fender bender? Then what?
Did find this
http://www.jefferson.edu/university/sec ... ident.html

I once had a fender bender in Philly where somebody hit the rear of my car. The driver was fully cooperative and claimed responsibility and all ended well. But, no police showed up (they were called by a bystander.) Two tow trucks were on the scene almost immediately, but left just as fast when they saw no business was coming their way :) Although one of the tow truck drivers stayed long enough to tell us no police would be coming because it was shift change time :oops:
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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by bertilak » Thu May 19, 2016 5:50 am

About RULE #1

I was involved in a fender bender. It was MY FAULT and I called the police and the insurance company before leaving the scene. Got an insurance claim number on the spot and gave that to the other party. Sent other party's insurance info to my insurance company.

Best to let this stuff get handled by the people I pay to handle this stuff!
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Dynasty90
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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by Dynasty90 » Sat May 21, 2016 10:09 am

UPDATE #2

- The other party's insurance company got back to me

- They informed me that the other party cancelled their insurance policy prior to the date of the fender bender

- The claim rep informed me that there will be no coverage on their end since the other party did not have a current insurance policy with them at the time of fender bender

- I went to the city's police department where the fender bender occurred to file a police report

- I gave the reporting officer as much information as possible regarding what has occurred up to the time I arrived to give the report

- Even the police were unable to get in contact with the other party

- The officer told me if the other party is unable to provide proof of insurance the date of the fender bender, then they will be taken to court

- In the state of Ohio, driving without insurance is illegal. A quick search on Google tells me that the consequence is driver's license suspension

- If the other party did have insurance on the date of the accident, then the officer will contact me and provide me with that information so I can then file a claim with them

- It has been over 24 hours since filing the police report and I have not heard an updated....I'm assuming they still have not been able to get in contact with the other party


My insurance company has been notified and is up to date with what has occurred. I do not have uninsured motorist property damage coverage, so that is no help. The damage estimate is approximately $650, and my deductible is $1,000. It makes no sense to go through insurance to get the damage fixed since I won't reach my deductible and essentially be paying out of pocket whether I go through my insurance or not.

I will continue to update as I receive more information.

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Dynasty90
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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by Dynasty90 » Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:33 am

UPDATE #3

I'll keep this brief...

- The police have not been able to contact the other party by phone and have stopped by the address on file with no luck

- The police ended up contacting a family member to obtain a working/current phone number

- The police called and tried to make contact...no luck

- The police gave me the working phone number, which I called and left a voicemail stating who I was and that I received an estimate to repair the damage to my vehicle and to call me back to discuss...no reply

- Neither the police nor I know if the other party had valid car insurance at the time of the accident, so the insurance route seems non-existent.

What is the next logical step?

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by SimpsonvilleSC » Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:42 am

One of my pet peeves is when there are no injuries and both cars are fully operable but the "victim" insists on leaving the vehicle in the act position of the accident. Maybe to prove to the police who is at fault. Most traffic laws call for the vehicles to be safely relocated off the road and out of traffic in these instances. If I were a cop I'd enforce this and greet each fender bender with dual tickets for failure to comply. A cop can tell you were rear ended so "move it!"

And yes..... Always call the police and get a police report and take pictures.
Last edited by SimpsonvilleSC on Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by jharkin » Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:46 am

Sorry to hear its going this way. If the other party is uninsured and the police cant find them then you are stuck either eating the cost out of pocket or using your own uninsured motorist coverage. If the police report says you are not at fault there should be no adverse consequences to using your coverage.


I have to agree with everyone else that I would have gotten the police and insurance involved ASAP. In an accident where the other party is at fault the only one who benefits from skipping insurance is the other guy.

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by markcoop » Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:52 am

When people say to call the police, are they saying to dial 911? If yes, even for accidents with minor damage and no one is hurt?
Mark

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by Tru Blu » Fri Jun 03, 2016 10:02 am

Dynasty - Sorry but there is no "logical next step". Your car was damaged by a deadbeat driver. He has no insurance and very likely no assets at all. You are out the $650. Calling the police at the time of the incident would have made no difference. Cancelation of driving privileges is an administrative act and not made on the spot by police. Who knows how many drivers are on our streets and highways w/o not only insurance but w/o a drivers license as well. Have your car repaired and move on. Consider yourself fortunate in the sense that neither you or your passengers were injured. Tru Blu

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by LadyGeek » Fri Jun 03, 2016 2:55 pm

Look at it this way - This is what your Emergency fund is for. It's yet another unplanned expense that needs to be taken care of in a timely manner.
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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by Loik098 » Sat Jun 04, 2016 5:42 pm

markcoop wrote:When people say to call the police, are they saying to dial 911? If yes, even for accidents with minor damage and no one is hurt?
You can try, but as mentioned here, it all depends on your state's requirements for reporting. Some states require you report anything over $100; others don't want to hear you from you unless someone is seriously hurt. And even if you have damages over your state's damages threshold, that doesn't mean the police will actually come when you call them. A 911 operator may very well tell you that unless there were injuries, you should just take care of filing the report yourself.

It's probably best to put your local police department phone numbers into your cell phone ahead of time and figure out what your state/city's requirements are for reporting. You should also type up a blank form for the information you'd need to collect at the scene of an accident (the name off of the other driver's license, the driver's license number, license plate number, color, model and make of car, and address and phone numbers of the other driver, pictures you'll need, etc) and keep it in your glove compartment so you don't panic the next time you get rear-ended.

Arriving well-prepared to the scene of your next accident can be a good way to intimidate the other driver into complying with what you're trying to accomplish. A clipboard would be a nice touch.

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by TOJ » Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:06 pm

You need to call the other person's insurance and file a claim. They will take a statement from you and call their customer for the same. If the other party wants to handle it without using insurance, you can cancel the claim and do so. You cannot force the other party to not use insurance.

If the cash is what you want, you can do that with insurance as well. Take the money from the estimate and don't get the car fixed. Or find a cheaper place.

You have nothing to gain by not using (their) insurance.

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by TOJ » Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:08 pm

Also, good luck getting police to show up to minor fender bender.

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by Pharmacist » Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:22 pm

I hit a parked car and just left my insurance info and phone number on the windshield. They called me and my insurance covered their rental car and repairs. Ironically my car had no damage at all. No police involvement.

If someone else was at fault, though, and I was present I would want a police report just to be safe, unless I knew the person. It's truly amazing the number of scumbags out there that are more than willing to screw someone over. I'm a laid back and reasonable guy and by nature would have done exactly what you did but you just can't trust people in these situations... they hit you at 5mph and next thing you know they are suing you for a neck injury. It happens all the time.

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by barnaclebob » Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:58 pm

markcoop wrote:When people say to call the police, are they saying to dial 911? If yes, even for accidents with minor damage and no one is hurt?
When I was rear ended I had my wife call 911 and let them know that there was a fender bender with no injuries and that we needed a police report. I once called the police non emergency number to report the license plate of a non injury hit and run offender and they connected me to 911 so I figured it was ok to call for a fender bender. My brother is a police officer and said that anytime you legitimately need the police it's fine to call 911 even if its not an "emegency".

bayview
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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by bayview » Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:31 pm

Pharmacist wrote:I hit a parked car and just left my insurance info and phone number on the windshield. They called me and my insurance covered their rental car and repairs. Ironically my car had no damage at all. No police involvement.

If someone else was at fault, though, and I was present I would want a police report just to be safe, unless I knew the person. It's truly amazing the number of scumbags out there that are more than willing to screw someone over. I'm a laid back and reasonable guy and by nature would have done exactly what you did but you just can't trust people in these situations... they hit you at 5mph and next thing you know they are suing you for a neck injury. It happens all the time.
You were fortunate that the other party acted decently. They could well have claimed that you caused a lot more damage than you did.

If I were going to leave a note on the windshield, I'd take a ton of photos as well of every conceivable angle of their vehicle, as well as of mine.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by cherijoh » Sun Jun 05, 2016 8:24 am

markcoop wrote:When people say to call the police, are they saying to dial 911? If yes, even for accidents with minor damage and no one is hurt?
In my area, you can dial 311 to contact the police for non-emergency related issues.

I think it makes a difference if the fender-bender is on the road or private property. I would call the police for any property-only accidents that are on the road, but not not necessarily in a parking lot on private property.

OP - If I were you, I would re-evaluate not having uninsured motorist coverage.

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by orca91 » Sun Jun 05, 2016 9:45 am

Dynasty90 wrote:What is the next logical step?
Drive the car with the minor damage on it, or get it fixed on your own. :happy

You have tried about all the leads you could, and got far more follow up by the PD than they owed for an accident they didn't even respond to. Time to let it go, get it fixed, or live with the damage showing. Don't let this incident occupy any more of your time though. Not worth it, IMO.

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Jun 06, 2016 7:34 am

If you are not at fault:

Take license plate #.
Call police.
Call insurance.

I say all of this because what I have found is that "fender benders" with minor cosmetic damage can cost $1000+ to fix. Most people think you can "bang out" dents and it shouldn't cost more than $100 or $200. When you get the estimate and you provide the information to person who hit you, they usually will become less cooperative or want it to get fixed by "their guy" aka shoddy work. Just do it right from the beginning. And I say this for everyone--even if it is a friend. I had a friend once who backed into my parked car. Just a light tap on the drivers side door cost almost $3000 to fix. The initial estimate I got was only $900 and he started giving me crap. Needless to say we aren't friends anymore.

pwill112
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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by pwill112 » Fri May 22, 2020 1:41 pm

Reviving this thread.

Same exact thing happened to me about 2 hours ago. I also was not at fault.

I did call the police. The other person had a really banged up car including a broken windshield on a really old car. I am assuming they only have liability insurance if anything.

The damage is minor.

I have some different questions.
What triggers an entry to Carfax that an accident occurred? Is it a police report or notification to the insurance company?
If insurance company is the answer, is it worth reporting as I am thinking about resale.
It's a 2020 Camry with 600 miles on it and I plan to keep it for many years.

Thanks!

Jags4186
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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by Jags4186 » Fri May 22, 2020 1:52 pm

pwill112 wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 1:41 pm
Reviving this thread.

Same exact thing happened to me about 2 hours ago. I also was not at fault.

I did call the police. The other person had a really banged up car including a broken windshield on a really old car. I am assuming they only have liability insurance if anything.

The damage is minor.

I have some different questions.
What triggers an entry to Carfax that an accident occurred? Is it a police report or notification to the insurance company?
If insurance company is the answer, is it worth reporting as I am thinking about resale.
It's a 2020 Camry with 600 miles on it and I plan to keep it for many years.

Thanks!
I was the last person to respond to this. Please reread my post. What you consider “minor damage” can cost a lot to fix. A scratch or dent on a bumper can cost $600+ to clean up so that it looks like new. The person who hit you legally has to have liability insurance. Their liability insurance would pay for this damage. If you keep your cars a relatively long time (say you sell them when they are 8+ years old with over 100k miles) I would think a Carfax report indicating a bumper repair would not affect the value.

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by LadyGeek » Sat May 23, 2020 12:20 pm

pwill112 wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 1:41 pm
What triggers an entry to Carfax that an accident occurred? Is it a police report or notification to the insurance company?
When I sold my late husband's Mustang, every service, every repair was on the Carfax report. Insurance or not, they all report it to Carfax.

You can find your car's current value for free here: CARFAX Vehicle History Reports, If you want to know details, you'll have to pay for the report.

The amount the car's resale value is reduced by the repair is called "diminished value". You can recover it from the offending party's insurance company. So, it's not worth the effort.

(pwill112 is bumping a 2016 thread, but this is a similar incident.)
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

yohac
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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by yohac » Sat May 23, 2020 12:39 pm

TOJ wrote:
Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:08 pm
Also, good luck getting police to show up to minor fender bender.
Yup. Where I live, unless it's an emergency, they direct you to the online self-reporting form.

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by carolinaman » Sun May 24, 2020 8:59 am

dbltrbl wrote:
Sat May 14, 2016 5:34 pm
RULE # 1

Call police. At minimum call your Insurance and let them know. You have no guarantee that other driver will not say it was your fault.
+1. The other person may be very agreeable at the site, but later come back with a different version of the facts which at minimum might make it a no fault situation and each party uses their insurance.

Since you did not call the police, I would report it to my insurance, even though I expect the other party's insurance to cover. They can advise you the best way to handle.

We were backed into by another car a few years ago. Police were called and other driver was honest about what happened and a police report was filed. I informed my insurance but worked with the other party's insurance for repairs. The way our accident happened, it would have been easy for the other party to claim I ran into him. Perhaps if he had more time to think about it, he might have changed his story. I know situations where that happened and the driver not at fault was found to be at fault.

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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by Katietsu » Sun May 24, 2020 9:11 am

Some of the data sources that CarFax has listed include state DMV’s, repair facilities, insurance companies, warranty companies, police departments, and auctions. I think that your accident would generate a CarFax entry from reporting by the repair shop IF they report. I am in a similar situation and considering using a local shop that does not report to CarFax since it was a very minor incident that I do not want to turn into a “thing” later on.

pwill112
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Re: Proper Protocol to Handle Fender Bender

Post by pwill112 » Tue Jun 02, 2020 9:19 pm

pwill112 wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 1:41 pm
Reviving this thread.

Same exact thing happened to me about 2 hours ago. I also was not at fault.

I did call the police. The other person had a really banged up car including a broken windshield on a really old car. I am assuming they only have liability insurance if anything.

The damage is minor.

I have some different questions.
What triggers an entry to Carfax that an accident occurred? Is it a police report or notification to the insurance company?
If insurance company is the answer, is it worth reporting as I am thinking about resale.
It's a 2020 Camry with 600 miles on it and I plan to keep it for many years.

Thanks!
An update,

The driver did not have “liability” insurance. She had emergency PIP only on some type of Medicaid plan.
The denial letter from her insurance said
"The policy does not provide coverage for bodily injury and/or property damage. Please submit to your own insurance company to evaluate for possible uninsured motorist coverage"

This is in NJ. I called the police department where we filled out the report and the accident happened and the desk officer did not want to get involved as I asked if it was a problem that she did not have ''liability" insurance.

My insurance company wants the $1000 deductible upfront and I know they will never get it back. I really just want the police to issue her a ticket for lack of insurance. Maybe I am wrong, but certainly neither the police or her insurance company (Progressive) seem to think this is a problem.

She is driving a 23 year old car, severely cracked windshield, expired registration and only PIP insurance. I think there is an exemption for expired registrations due to covid right now but I am really surprised this is legal in terms of only PIP insurance. She basically is an accident driving around in a car.

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