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Should I File a Claim With My Auto Insurance or Theirs?

  • Claims 101
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  • Should I File a Claim With My Auto Insurance or Theirs?

No matter how cautious or mindful you are as a driver, you aren’t the only person you have to keep an eye on while you’re behind the wheel.

As safe a driver as you are, you can still be involved in an accident that’s not your fault, but sends you spiraling into the car insurance claim process anyway. 

If you’re looking for auto insurance claims advice on whether you should be filing a claim with your own auto insurance or someone else’s, you’ve come to the right place.   

Should I File a Claim With My Auto Insurance or Theirs? 

There are three scenarios where it typically makes sense to file an insurance claim against the other driver’s coverage: when you’re not at fault and don’t have collision coverage, when you’re not at fault and don’t want to start the claim with your provider, or when you don’t want to pay your deductible.

Even when the accident isn’t your fault, initiating the car insurance claims process with your own insurance provider can still result in having your insurance premiums raised. For this reason, drivers may not want to default to filing a claim with their own providers if they can help it. 

What to do After a Car Accident That’s Not Your Fault

When you’ve been involved in an accident that’s not your fault, you’ll want to be particularly diligent to document the accident in case you need that information as evidence for either your insurance provider or the other party’s insurance.

After an accident where you’re not at fault, once you and any passengers in your vehicle are in a safe location, you’ll want to follow these steps before initiating the car insurance claims process

  • Call the police: Only an official police report can determine who the at-fault party is in a car accident, so you’ll need to call the police before you attempt to file a claim with the insurance provider. 
  • Document the scene of the accident: Take as many pictures and videos of the accident site as possible. This information can help your insurance provider establish a case against the other driver if necessary. Don’t forget to take pictures of any injuries you might have sustained during the collision. 
  • Mind your statements: What you say to the police, the other driver, and the insurance companies can all be used to help establish liability. Be careful who you talk to about the accident and what you say. When in doubt, defer to your insurance provider. 
  • Call your insurance company: Even if you don’t plan on filing a claim with your insurance company, you still need to alert them that the accident has occurred.  

Should I Talk to the Other Insurance Company After an Accident?

It is generally advised that you should not have direct communication with the other side’s insurance company, even if you’re filing a claim against them. 

The good news is, you aren’t legally required to speak to the other side’s insurance company, particularly when they’ve been found at-fault for the accident. If their insurance company does attempt to make contact with you, you can always refer them to your insurance provider or your legal representation if you have one. 

The only time you may want to communicate with the other side’s insurance provider directly is when they clearly have misinformation about the accident, including who was at fault or who was involved.

Just remember, their end goal will always be to pay as little as possible toward the accident, so don’t speak to the extent of damage to your vehicle without getting a proper estimate first. You also don’t want to identify if you’ve sustained injuries without seeing a doctor first.

How to File an Auto Insurance Claim Against Someone 

If you’ve decided to file a claim against the other driver’s insurance policy, you can call their insurance provider directly to initiate a third-party claims process.

As long as the other driver is at-fault, you’ll be filing a claim against their liability coverage. Unlike filing a claim with your own insurance provider, filing the claim directly through the other party’s insurance can take longer to process as the insurance company may want to investigate the claim prior to making any type of payment to you.

Should I Call My Insurance if it Wasn’t My Fault?

If you’ve been involved in an accident with another person, you should always call your insurance provider, even if the accident wasn’t your fault. You are legally obligated to report an accident to your insurance provider within a reasonable amount of time, even if the other driver is at fault. 

The most important auto insurance claims advice is to make this call as quickly as possible. Not only are you obligated to inform your insurance company of the accident, but they may be able to help defend you in the claims against the other side. 

How to Exchange Insurance Information

If you’ve been involved in a car accident with someone, you always want to exchange information, regardless of who is at fault. Be sure to collect these six important details about the other driver: 

  1. Name
  2. Phone number
  3. License plate number
  4. Driver’s license number
  5. Auto insurance provider
  6. Auto insurance policy number

Should I Report Car Damage to Insurance?  

Even if you’re not at fault for an accident, or you aren’t ready to start the car insurance claims process, you should always call your insurance provider after an auto accident with another driver as quickly as possible. 

Deciding when to file an insurance claim with your own provider or with the other side’s insurance can be tricky, but you should always inform your own provider after an accident and provide them with the necessary details and documentation. 

Your own insurance provider may even be able to help you make the best decision about what the next steps should be to get your vehicle repaired or your medical bills paid for.

The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.