Dealing with insurance companies

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investor1
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Dealing with insurance companies

Post by investor1 » Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:16 am

I was recently in a fender bender.

I was pulling into a parking space at work when the guy in the spot next to me opened his door which ended up going through my bumper cover, damaging my headlight, and put a small dent in my hood. His door was damaged. Nobody was injured. The guy admitted fault at the scene (though, I have no idea what he told his insurance company). The other end of the parking space is a curb, so it should be obvious that I wasn't zipping through the space since I had to stop in a few feet anyway.

I have liability insurance only, so when I called my insurance company, they basically said it wasn't my fault and I had to work it out with his insurance company. My insurance already closed the claim created when I called. I would have thought they would work it out with his insurance, but I guess not.

I called his insurance company, gave a statement, and sent pictures along with a recap of my statement. They said they haven't determined fault yet. That was a week ago, and I haven't heard back from them.

Since then, I went and got a few estimates. It looks like it is going to cost a little under $5k to restore my car back to is previous condition (its a bit of a fancy car).

I expect his insurance company to try to get out of paying. I know in some cases, they'll claim that both parties are partially responsible. I have never had to file an insurance claim, so I have some questions about the process.

1. If his insurance finds me at all responsible, is there an appeals process I can follow? What's the best way to find out (I guess just ask them)?
2. Is there some sort of document that I can request the details why they think any of it is my fault? It would seem I would need that information in order to provide a counter argument.
3. If they do find me at all responsible, doesn't that mean my liability insurance should cover it?
4. Should my insurance company be handling this for me?
5. Should I tell his insurance company what the estimate to repair my car is or wait until they determine fault?
Last edited by investor1 on Wed Aug 24, 2016 2:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Rupert
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by Rupert » Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:30 am

You should be able to file a claim on your own collision policy and have your insurance company pursue the other guy through subrogation. The only downside to doing that is you have to pony up your deductibles when you get the car repaired and then wait for your insurance company to reimburse that to you once they've collected from the other company through subrogation, which can take months. I can't imagine why your insurance company didn't mention this option to you, unless you don't have a collision policy?

pshonore
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by pshonore » Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:34 am

Rupert wrote:You should be able to file a claim on your own collision policy and have your insurance company pursue the other guy through subrogation. The only downside to doing that is you have to pony up your deductibles when you get the car repaired and then wait for your insurance company to reimburse that to you once they've collected from the other company through subrogation, which can take months. I can't imagine why your insurance company didn't mention this option to you, unless you don't have a collision policy?
I believe he stated he carries liability only; no physical damage.

Rupert
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by Rupert » Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:43 am

pshonore wrote:
Rupert wrote:You should be able to file a claim on your own collision policy and have your insurance company pursue the other guy through subrogation. The only downside to doing that is you have to pony up your deductibles when you get the car repaired and then wait for your insurance company to reimburse that to you once they've collected from the other company through subrogation, which can take months. I can't imagine why your insurance company didn't mention this option to you, unless you don't have a collision policy?
I believe he stated he carries liability only; no physical damage.

Oops, nevermind then. OP has just discovered the downside to self-insuring.

investor1
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by investor1 » Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:43 am

pshonore wrote:
Rupert wrote:You should be able to file a claim on your own collision policy and have your insurance company pursue the other guy through subrogation. The only downside to doing that is you have to pony up your deductibles when you get the car repaired and then wait for your insurance company to reimburse that to you once they've collected from the other company through subrogation, which can take months. I can't imagine why your insurance company didn't mention this option to you, unless you don't have a collision policy?
I believe he stated he carries liability only; no physical damage.
Correct.

260chrisb
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by 260chrisb » Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:48 am

Beware; his insurance company will call you, do an interview, and find you partially responsible thus reducing their cost. My guess is they will find you 20% responsible and will pay 80% of the claim.

investor1
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by investor1 » Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:13 pm

260chrisb wrote:Beware; his insurance company will call you, do an interview, and find you partially responsible thus reducing their cost. My guess is they will find you 20% responsible and will pay 80% of the claim.
I already gave a statement to them. This was the day of, and they had not determined fault yet. Hence my questions.

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lthenderson
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by lthenderson » Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:47 pm

I'm a bit further on in the process than you are but here is what I know. I was sitting at a red stop light and the light turned green. I was 3/4 of the way through the intersection and a person tried to turn in front of me and hit the front quarter panel of my car. It was all on captured video of the intersection and reviewed by the responding police officer. The other driver was cited for running a red stop light and we went our ways.

I gave statements to both my insurance company and their insurance company. Both said it sounded like the other guy was completely at fault. A month later, the other insurance company said they found me 20% at fault since I didn't see the other person running a red stop light until it was too late. I complained to my insurance company. They said that Congress passed a law a few years back meant for something else but since then, insurance companies are using it to claim fault on both parties as long as two vehicles were involved. He said it is driving up insurance rates since good drivers are now taking a hit when a bad driver hits their car.

I called bullshit. My insurance company stepped up to dispute the 20% of fault tacked on me and it now goes before some sort of independent panel of insurance people who are going to decide my case. I have been told that this process takes months to resolve.

Since then, my collision insurance has paid for my vehicle and I've had to pay for the policy deductible. According to my agent, I will be refunded my out of pocket expense if the panel finds me 0% at fault and then my insurance company will collect the rest from the other person's insurance company.

mwm158
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by mwm158 » Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:51 pm

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investor1
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by investor1 » Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:51 pm

lthenderson wrote:I'm a bit further on in the process than you are but here is what I know. I was sitting at a red stop light and the light turned green. I was 3/4 of the way through the intersection and a person tried to turn in front of me and hit the front quarter panel of my car. It was all on captured video of the intersection and reviewed by the responding police officer. The other driver was cited for running a red stop light and we went our ways.

I gave statements to both my insurance company and their insurance company. Both said it sounded like the other guy was completely at fault. A month later, the other insurance company said they found me 20% at fault since I didn't see the other person running a red stop light until it was too late. I complained to my insurance company. They said that Congress passed a law a few years back meant for something else but since then, insurance companies are using it to claim fault on both parties as long as two vehicles were involved. He said it is driving up insurance rates since good drivers are now taking a hit when a bad driver hits their car.

I called bullshit. My insurance company stepped up to dispute the 20% of fault tacked on me and it now goes before some sort of independent panel of insurance people who are going to decide my case. I have been told that this process takes months to resolve.

Since then, my collision insurance has paid for my vehicle and I've had to pay for the policy deductible. According to my agent, I will be refunded my out of pocket expense if the panel finds me 0% at fault and then my insurance company will collect the rest from the other person's insurance company.
Interesting. Some of the advice one of the guys that gave me a quote was to stay on them to make a decision ASAP or they will take their time and find something they can pin on you to say you are partially responsible.

investor1
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by investor1 » Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:52 pm

mwm158 wrote:I've had a similar experience. Had an accident, clearly not my fault, I had no collision coverage. Their insurance kept trying to give me nonsense scenarios about how it might have been my fault. Jumped through a lot of hoops for 2 months. Finally told them I was fed up and would be suing, and then magically they paid 100%. Long story short, I have collision coverage now.
Who did you threaten to sue? The other driver or the insurance company?

mwm158
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by mwm158 » Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:58 pm

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ResearchMed
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:01 pm

lthenderson wrote:I'm a bit further on in the process than you are but here is what I know. I was sitting at a red stop light and the light turned green. I was 3/4 of the way through the intersection and a person tried to turn in front of me and hit the front quarter panel of my car. It was all on captured video of the intersection and reviewed by the responding police officer. The other driver was cited for running a red stop light and we went our ways.

I gave statements to both my insurance company and their insurance company. Both said it sounded like the other guy was completely at fault. A month later, the other insurance company said they found me 20% at fault since I didn't see the other person running a red stop light until it was too late. I complained to my insurance company. They said that Congress passed a law a few years back meant for something else but since then, insurance companies are using it to claim fault on both parties as long as two vehicles were involved. He said it is driving up insurance rates since good drivers are now taking a hit when a bad driver hits their car.

I called bullshit. My insurance company stepped up to dispute the 20% of fault tacked on me and it now goes before some sort of independent panel of insurance people who are going to decide my case. I have been told that this process takes months to resolve.

Since then, my collision insurance has paid for my vehicle and I've had to pay for the policy deductible. According to my agent, I will be refunded my out of pocket expense if the panel finds me 0% at fault and then my insurance company will collect the rest from the other person's insurance company.

When did this "law a few years back" get passed, and do you have any additional info on it?

Glad to hear there IS some sort of arbitration to protest this.

DH was hit by a teen who admitted to the quickly arriving police that he had "floored it" across a 4 lane + 2 parking lanes major city road, and that he had "only looked to the right". Duh. DH was coming on the closer side, from the left.
(Car twas otaled; DH had minor injuries and needed to rest for a while due to a mild concussion - and we are just grateful it was mild!)

No one mentioned anything about any implied dual responsibility, and our insurer ran interference very nicely with the driver's insurer.

This was something like 3 or 4 years ago.

Thanks for mentioning this.

RM
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Mudpuppy
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by Mudpuppy » Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:03 pm

Going forward, you may want to re-evaluate having a liability-only auto policy on a fancy car that can have 5k in damages due to a minor fender bender. If you had your own collision coverage, your auto insurance would be handling a vast majority of this.

In this situation, until the insurance company determines fault, you're spinning your wheels. I'm a firm believer in plan for the worst and hope for the best, but really all you can do at this point is look up the appeals process for that insurance company and get very familiar with how you appeal an unfavorable outcome.

investor1
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by investor1 » Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:06 pm

mwm158 wrote:Definitely sue the driver, they're the one at fault. If they lose, then the insurance company has to pay. They'll also do their defense and stuff if it gets that far. I was sued once for an accident that my insurance company said I was not at fault for. They gave me a lawyer, I had to go to court, and ultimately we won.
Good to know. Thank you.

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lthenderson
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by lthenderson » Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:06 pm

ResearchMed wrote:When did this "law a few years back" get passed, and do you have any additional info on it?
I have tried a few times to google that very question but have had no luck. Perhaps someone else can enlighten me?

mwm158
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by mwm158 » Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:10 pm

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investor1
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by investor1 » Wed Aug 24, 2016 2:19 pm

Should I tell his insurance company what the estimate to repair my car is or wait until they determine fault?

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dwickenh
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by dwickenh » Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:47 pm

Arbitration is used during subrogation, and in this case there will be no subrogation as the OP does not carry collision coverage. Small claims court would be your best solution if you do not agree with the settlement offer from the Insurance company. I would supply the estimate to the insurance company as the amount may have some bearing on the liability determination based on where your damage starts on your vehicle. Being damaged in the side would be better than the front in liability terms.

Good luck on this,

Dan
The market is the most efficient mechanism anywhere in the world for transferring wealth from impatient people to patient people.” | — Warren Buffett

drawpoker
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by drawpoker » Wed Aug 24, 2016 4:06 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:Going forward, you may want to re-evaluate having a liability-only auto policy on a fancy car that can have 5k in damages due to a minor fender bender. If you had your own collision coverage, your auto insurance would be handling a vast majority of this. ...
Exactly.

Also, if he isn't carrying comp coverage, does he realize what will happen to his "fancy car" if it is destroyed/damaged in a storm. A fire. Flood. Tree falls on it. Or it is stolen, and so forth.

Also, since this happened at the parking lot at the OP's place of employment, isn't the other driver a co-worker? Works at the same place? Can't something be worked out to avoid hard feelings if these 2 have to work together in the future?

investor1
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by investor1 » Wed Aug 24, 2016 6:03 pm

dwickenh wrote:Arbitration is used during subrogation, and in this case there will be no subrogation as the OP does not carry collision coverage. Small claims court would be your best solution if you do not agree with the settlement offer from the Insurance company. I would supply the estimate to the insurance company as the amount may have some bearing on the liability determination based on where your damage starts on your vehicle. Being damaged in the side would be better than the front in liability terms.

Good luck on this,

Dan
Do I take what they offer and take the other driver to court over the remaining amount, or do I reject the offer from his insurance company all together?

pshonore
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by pshonore » Wed Aug 24, 2016 6:07 pm

investor1 wrote:
dwickenh wrote:Arbitration is used during subrogation, and in this case there will be no subrogation as the OP does not carry collision coverage. Small claims court would be your best solution if you do not agree with the settlement offer from the Insurance company. I would supply the estimate to the insurance company as the amount may have some bearing on the liability determination based on where your damage starts on your vehicle. Being damaged in the side would be better than the front in liability terms.

Good luck on this,

Dan
Do I take what they offer and take the other driver to court over the remaining amount, or do I reject the offer from his insurance company all together?
Any offer will be on behalf of the other driver and if you accept it, the case is closed.

investor1
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by investor1 » Wed Aug 24, 2016 6:16 pm

pshonore wrote:
investor1 wrote:
dwickenh wrote:Arbitration is used during subrogation, and in this case there will be no subrogation as the OP does not carry collision coverage. Small claims court would be your best solution if you do not agree with the settlement offer from the Insurance company. I would supply the estimate to the insurance company as the amount may have some bearing on the liability determination based on where your damage starts on your vehicle. Being damaged in the side would be better than the front in liability terms.

Good luck on this,

Dan
Do I take what they offer and take the other driver to court over the remaining amount, or do I reject the offer from his insurance company all together?
Any offer will be on behalf of the other driver and if you accept it, the case is closed.
That's what I assumed.

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dwickenh
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by dwickenh » Wed Aug 24, 2016 6:21 pm

The insurance company is on the hook for the full amount of repairs if they accept 100% liability. If your shop estimate is 5000.00 and it costs 6000.00 to repair, the shop will bill the Insurance company for the difference in a supplement. If the Insurance company offers you 80% and you accept, you do not have any additional claim against the other driver.

Dan
The market is the most efficient mechanism anywhere in the world for transferring wealth from impatient people to patient people.” | — Warren Buffett

drawpoker
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by drawpoker » Wed Aug 24, 2016 6:34 pm

pshonore wrote:....Any offer will be on behalf of the other driver and if you accept it, the case is closed.
Er, not quite. Depending on the laws in the OP's state, this may constitute an action for what is termed a deficiency judgment, and the case is most assuredly not "closed". Unless you sign a binding agreement that you accept the money as full compensation and agree you will not pursue any legal action, of course.

This is the danger when trying to discuss legal situations here. Not a real good idea as there is so much variance in the laws state by state.

investor1
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Re: Dealing with insurance companies

Post by investor1 » Wed Aug 24, 2016 6:43 pm

drawpoker wrote:
pshonore wrote:....Any offer will be on behalf of the other driver and if you accept it, the case is closed.
Er, not quite. Depending on the laws in the OP's state, this may constitute an action for what is termed a deficiency judgment, and the case is most assuredly not "closed". Unless you sign a binding agreement that you accept the money as full compensation and agree you will not pursue any legal action, of course.

This is the danger when trying to discuss legal situations here. Not a real good idea as there is so much variance in the laws state by state.
What would I search for to figure out the laws in my area? I'm in Oregon.

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