Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

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TR2047
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Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by TR2047 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:03 pm

Do I have to contact my own insurance company Geico in New Jersey if I was in a not-at-fault accident and police was on the scene? Any advantages / disadvantages doing so? I only have liability coverage. Are there any disadvantages making a claim against the other drivers policy if the damage is only a few hundred dollars?

I have very good rates, I was never in an accident, and my car has a clean Carafax report, but is only worth 4-5k. Regarding repairs, since police was involved and I am not comfortable talking to the other driver, the choices are either to do nothing or make a claim against his insurance.

This is what happened at my local supermarket:
1. I turn from the access road into one of the perpendicular aisles to park my car and stop at the front of the aisle because there is other traffic.
2. An older gentleman starts to back up from the handicapped space at the front of the aisle. I honk to alert him that I am there and put the car in reverse.
3. He keeps backing up out of the aisle, eventually making a turn going backwards onto the busy access road without even looking, all while I am honking and backing up behind him.
4. Eventually I had nowhere to go so I had to let him bump into me. My front bumper and his left side are scratched, nothing major. He proceeded forward partly over the median and parked his car.
5. He didn’t know what happened and was a bit argumentative, but eventually gave me his info. He said to call a body shop and talk more on the phone. I let him leave because I thought it is not worth the hassle to call the cops over this.
6. The police show up anyway and talk to a witness who called them. I presented myself and described what happened. A police report will be prepared and I will be picking it up in a few days. The policeman said it was not my fault and that he he will talk to the other deriver.

Goal33
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by Goal33 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:29 pm

Make a claim against his insurance.
A man with one watch always knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never sure.

homerj15
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by homerj15 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:41 pm

Do NOT contact your insurance!!!!! There is no need! Contact his insurance and they will take care of you.

basspond
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by basspond » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:52 pm

Since it is minor, get an estimate and give him a chance to make it right. If he doesn't then file a claim with his insurance.

miamivice
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by miamivice » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:13 pm

basspond wrote:Since it is minor, get an estimate and give him a chance to make it right. If he doesn't then file a claim with his insurance.
I don't really understand this advice. Damage to a vehicle is almost never a few hundred dollars. Usually hits about a thousand dollars minimum and often in the 2-3k range. It never makes sense to me to pay out of pocket rather than using insurance, because car accidents generally don't change insurance rates very much. (My experience is a big accident that I had as a new driver increased my insurance premium by $100 per six months).

I would file a claim with the other persons insurance. Simply call the claims department, say you would like to open a claim, and provide the policy number. They'll ask if you are the insured, and you say "no", and tell them you are the other party. They might be a bit confused but eventually will figure it out. (Personal experience).

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Nearing_Destination
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by Nearing_Destination » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:40 pm

Definitely go through their insurance-- although you probably need to give a heads up to your own, noting that it is going through theirs. It might help that they left the scene and the officers report showed you were not at fault : make sure that you get a copy!! (It may even be needed by your insurance company)

homerj15
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by homerj15 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:52 pm

Nearing_Destination wrote:Definitely go through their insurance-- although you probably need to give a heads up to your own, noting that it is going through theirs. It might help that they left the scene and the officers report showed you were not at fault : make sure that you get a copy!! (It may even be needed by your insurance company)
I complete disagree with this advice. I just went through the same experience and there was absolutely no need for my insurance to know what happened. The other person was at fault 100 percent so their insurance took care of my repairs... no questions asked. Call their insurance company and they will know what to do.

Nate79
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by Nate79 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:17 pm

Some policies require you to inform your insurance even if not making a claim thru them. But in this case you have no insurance coverage for the circumstance so why would you contact your own?

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Raymond
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by Raymond » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:34 pm

Goal33 wrote:Make a claim against his insurance.
Absolutely, and include the police report with the claim.

"...He said to call a body shop and talk more on the phone. I let him leave because I thought it is not worth the hassle to call the cops over this."

Uh, huh. You call him, and he'll say, "Who are you and what is this nonsense about me supposedly backing up into you?"

And you can't always rely on the other driver's insurance company either - after all, you are not their policyholder, and they may just drag their feet on paying for your repairs.

If that happens, you may have to call your insurance company to go to bat for you, although I don't know how that will be affected by you having only liability insurance on this car.
"Ritter, Tod und Teufel"

mega317
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by mega317 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:01 am

[quote="miamivice"] because car accidents generally don't change insurance rates very much. (My experience is a big accident that I had as a new driver increased my insurance premium by $100 per six months).
/quote]

I don't have experience here but someone on another thread this week said an accident increased the family's rate by 3k.

LeeInTN
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by LeeInTN » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:16 am

Offer the guy a break: Get a couple of estimates and ask him to write you a check. If that works, no insurance involvement at all.

If it doesn't, open a claim with his insurance company, and they will obtain the police report. You'll be paid. If your insurance company requires you to open a case with them for an incident that is not your fault, do so (that is if the guy hasn't written you a check and you've contacted his company).

TR2047
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by TR2047 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:17 am

Raymond wrote: Uh, huh. You call him, and he'll say, "Who are you and what is this nonsense about me supposedly backing up into you?"
OP here. That’s exactly what I expect him to say because he didn’t know at all what happened. He had no idea that I was backing up behind him and honking his entire 30+ feet maneuver. He was getting a bit agitated and I was afraid that when the police finally come they will find a dead 87-year-old one with a heart attack and two scratched cars. That was my first thought, really. It was his idea with the body shop and I didn’t want to interact with him until the police come.

TR2047
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by TR2047 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:19 am

This is the OP. After some more thought, this story is not as much about a few scratches, but about a driver who may no longer be able to drive due to his age and health. Then there is myself having to go through a bunch of paperwork. To top it off, traffic accidents may be reportable for me due to my work.

The other driver is an 87-year-old with a big expensive car who backed out first into the aisle and then onto a busy access road — without even looking once and without hearing me honk. I had to stop and let him crash because the storefront was right behind me, and if we impacted the store it would be a MAJOR incident. This is a very busy area near the beach with lots of people at this time of the year.

My next steps are to secure the police report and make sure it is accurate. In parallel, I am going to find out if I have to report this to my insurance. I won’t report it if I don’t have to. Then I can decide if I want to go through the other driver’s insurance. This is not about money. I didn't want to call the police but someone else did. At this point I have no choice but to pursue this.

jjface
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by jjface » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:28 am

Forgive my ignorance but how would it be negative to mention it to your insurance? Everyone seems to say don't do that.

basspond
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by basspond » Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:40 am

miamivice wrote:
basspond wrote:Since it is minor, get an estimate and give him a chance to make it right. If he doesn't then file a claim with his insurance.
I don't really understand this advice. Damage to a vehicle is almost never a few hundred dollars. Usually hits about a thousand dollars minimum and often in the 2-3k range. It never makes sense to me to pay out of pocket rather than using insurance, because car accidents generally don't change insurance rates very much. (My experience is a big accident that I had as a new driver increased my insurance premium by $100 per six months).

I would file a claim with the other persons insurance. Simply call the claims department, say you would like to open a claim, and provide the policy number. They'll ask if you are the insured, and you say "no", and tell them you are the other party. They might be a bit confused but eventually will figure it out. (Personal experience).
A scratch on a bumper shouldn't cost much. Put yourself in the old man's shoes. The repairs as described would be less then the deductible. I have been on the opposite end of the situation and made things right without the insurance getting involved.

But then again had another incident where one of our cars was hit by a neighbor and he took off. Luckily someone saw it happen and the damage was more than a scratch.

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gasdoc
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by gasdoc » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:33 am

Perhaps there is some risk in waiting, but I would, as a courtesy, give the other driver a brief period of time to make it right without using the insurance companies. I would check the police report first to make sure the report agrees with your assessment of fault.

gasdoc

carolinaman
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by carolinaman » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:45 am

First step is to get a copy of the police report. Hopefully the cop is clear about who was at fault. Police often are neutral on these types of accidents, and if so, you may have difficulty with the other party's insurance. Do you have contact info for the witness? That could be important.

Assuming the accident report supports your claim, I would file with this person's insurance. Others have suggested giving the other party a chance to handle this but based upon your encounter and his actions, I doubt that would be effective.

bayview
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by bayview » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:56 am

TR2047 wrote:This is the OP. After some more thought, this story is not as much about a few scratches, but about a driver who may no longer be able to drive due to his age and health. Then there is myself having to go through a bunch of paperwork. To top it off, traffic accidents may be reportable for me due to my work.

The other driver is an 87-year-old with a big expensive car who backed out first into the aisle and then onto a busy access road — without even looking once and without hearing me honk. I had to stop and let him crash because the storefront was right behind me, and if we impacted the store it would be a MAJOR incident. This is a very busy area near the beach with lots of people at this time of the year.

My next steps are to secure the police report and make sure it is accurate. In parallel, I am going to find out if I have to report this to my insurance. I won’t report it if I don’t have to. Then I can decide if I want to go through the other driver’s insurance. This is not about money. I didn't want to call the police but someone else did. At this point I have no choice but to pursue this.
+1 I thought this as well.

It's very possible that this guy needs to give up his car keys. Wonder how many other accidents he's had, and when he might injure or kill someone (including himself.)
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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jhfenton
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by jhfenton » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:04 am

jjface wrote:Forgive my ignorance but how would it be negative to mention it to your insurance? Everyone seems to say don't do that.
I don't understand that either. My first call after the police would be to my insurance agent, whether or not my insurance company was going to end up paying anything.

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Kosmo
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by Kosmo » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:25 am

I had a similar thing happen in the fall. I tried to go through the insurance of the woman who hit me and got nowhere. Every time I called I had to go through the same story and provide claim numbers and dates and times that I had called so they could review recorded conversations and notes. This went on for roughly 2 months with weekly phone calls. This was a large nationally recognized company and they were completely useless because I was not their insured. I went through my insurance, got the repair done relatively quickly (earliest I could get on the schedule at the auto body shop), but I had to pay the deductible. I got that back just last month through subrogation. I was not at fault and it did not affect my rates. My takeaway: if you can front the deductible then go through your own insurance.

likegarden
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by likegarden » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:46 am

You seem to overdo it!
I recently had some scratches and a 1 inch deep dent on the bumper of our 2013 car by backing into a fence at a store. Instead of contacting my insurance, I watched a YouTube video, and with a hair dryer (for dent in bumper's plastic cover), spray paint (a little) and a polishing compound I got that fixed in an hour costing me $10. That bumper of my 2013 Camry looks like new. It was amazing watching how the dent popped out when heating with that hair dryer.

SimonJester
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by SimonJester » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:07 am

jhfenton wrote:
jjface wrote:Forgive my ignorance but how would it be negative to mention it to your insurance? Everyone seems to say don't do that.
I don't understand that either. My first call after the police would be to my insurance agent, whether or not my insurance company was going to end up paying anything.

I think a lot of this is state specific, but the OP said he has liability only on his own vehicle. So he cannot put in a collision claim against his policy. His insurance will just tell him to call the other insurance and place claim with the other driver. Now perhaps GEICO would take down the information and open a subrogation claim for the OP, but I'd bet not.

As other said first get the police report, see who is places fault with. Then go get three quotes from body shops to repair the damage and give the guy a call. If he doesnt want to pay up then file a claim.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

Bayoufrogg
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by Bayoufrogg » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:15 am

My wife was ran off the road by an elderly driver. He pulled over, apologized, and gave my wife all of his information. He did not want to file a claim through insurance. We have him some estimates and he payed $2500 for new front end parts. It was a smooth transaction.

I would not bypass the guy and claim on his policy. If you have his insurance information, at least give the guy the opportunity to not make an insurance claim. If he wants to pay cash, then let him. If he doesn't come through, file the claim. You're covered either way.

mouses
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by mouses » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:23 am

The other driver appears to be somewhat senile and should not be driving. Also he is uncooperative. So I would not leave any of this in his hands.

If you had insurance, I would tell them what happened. I always call my insurance company if anything happens. Then they handle it regardless of who is at fault. Then again, they are Amica.

But, you don't have insurance for this, so I would get the police report, check its accuracy, and call his insurance and hope they do the right thing. I would consider mentioning that he should not be driving.

You may be required to tell your liability insurance company.

LeeInTN
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by LeeInTN » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:35 am

Much of this exchange seems to be around who bears the responsibility of getting an elderly driver off the road. It is quite possible that after he got home and cooled down he became more open to an understanding of what has transpired, and the risks he is bringing to others. A conversation with him regarding paying for the damage provides an opportunity for a conversation about whether he feels safe driving at his age and mental condition. His ego could possibly be less damaged if he came to a conclusion on his own, rather than via pressure from his insurance company. Don't assume he'll be a jerk the next time you talk with him. If he is still resistant/belligerent, you've made an effort at resolution, and you then go to his insuror. Since he was backing, the police report will clearly state he was at fault.

dbr
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by dbr » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:41 am

The idea that there is a police report of an accident you have been involved in and you don't report it to your insurance company seems wrong to me. Don't most companies require you to make such a report. Also your own company will be your best friend at getting payment from his company.

Maybe people have had enough more experience with this sort of thing than I have that they know something I don't know.

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lthenderson
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Re: Scratched Bumper with Police on the Scene

Post by lthenderson » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:48 am

I ALWAYS call my insurance agent even if I just have liability on the car. The reason is that I want my insurance agent to be prepared if for some reason the other party tries to sue me for injuries sustained months after the fact. My insurance agent contacts then soon after the accident to ascertain no injuries occurred to prevent such a lawsuit and it has absolutely NO AFFECT on my premiums. It is much easier to prevent lawsuits than to defend them months if not years after the fact. Many insurance companies will also not cover claims after so much time goes by if they weren't reported initially. That is why we have liability insurance.

In my experience, the police report will not assign fault in situations that occur in parking lots. I would be highly surprised if the old man's insurance company paid you a single dime. Parking lots are generally kind of like the wild wild west in insurance claims for accidents.

If it were me with a car worth less than 5k, I would protect the scratch so that you don't get future rust and learn to live with the character flaw. I have found the more of those you accumulate, the farther people park away from you in parking lots.

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