UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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If you’re in an accident with another driver, and you both have insurance, then you may not know which insurance company to call.
Whose insurance do you call after an accident? Which driver’s insurance do you get into contact with? Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about which insurance company to call after an accident.
The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company is Liable for the Accident
If another driver collides with you, then the other driver’s insurance company is liable to pay for certain damages.
Assuming the other driver has car insurance, the other driver’s liability coverage will go towards your medical expenses and vehicle repair costs. The other driver’s bodily injury liability coverage will cover your medical expenses, and their property damage liability coverage will cover your vehicle repair costs. Drivers are required by law to have liability coverage.
In a perfect world, you only need to contact the insurance company of the at-fault driver. However, we don’t live in a perfect world, and that’s why many experts recommend calling your own insurance company after an accident – regardless of who is at fault.
Consider Calling Your Own Insurance Company Even When Not At-Fault
Generally, it’s a good idea to contact your own insurance company after any accident – even if you clearly weren’t at fault.
Remember: your own insurance company shouldn’t raise your rates after a claim related to an accident that wasn’t your fault. If someone collided with your vehicle in an at-fault collision, then you can’t be expected to pay higher insurance premiums. You weren’t at-fault.
Even if you weren’t at-fault, you may still want to contact your own car insurance company. In many situations, your own car insurance company will pay certain damages for you immediately and then seek compensation through the insurance company of the at-fault driver. This is a process called ‘subrogation’. It allows your own insurance company to cover the immediate costs of a claim, including your immediate medical expenses and vehicle repair costs, before the insurance companies and law enforcement determine who was at fault.
It’s also a good idea to contact your own insurance company if you live in a no-fault state. 12 states in America are considered no-fault states. In these states, you have certain car insurance policies that provide coverage regardless of who was at-fault. The 12 no-fault states are Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah (as well as Puerto Rico).
Advantages of Calling Your Own Insurance Company
Some drivers are hesitant to call their own insurance company after an accident – especially if they were not at fault. They may not want to pay higher rates for car insurance, for example. However, there are a number of crucial advantages to contacting your own car insurance company after an accident regardless of fault, including:
You May Be More Comfortable with Your Own Insurance Company: You know your own insurance company. You’ve dealt with your own insurance company before. Sometimes, you may be more comfortable dealing with your own insurance company.
The Other Driver Might Avoid Contacting Their Own Insurance Company: Don’t assume the other driver will contact his or her own insurance company. The other driver might claim to have contacted his own insurance company, for example, only to avoid ever making a claim. By the time you realize there’s no record of the accident, it’s too late. By contacting your own insurance company, you can avoid the hassle.
Your Own Insurance Company Pays Out More Quickly: One of the best advantages to contacting your own insurance company is that the payout arrives more quickly. If you contact the insurance company of the at-fault driver, then that insurance company needs to determine fault before paying your damages. Your own insurance company will pay out before determining fault. Your own insurance company will also be able to provide immediate rental reimbursement coverage if you need a vehicle.
The Other Driver Might Not Have Insurance: 1 in 7 drivers in the United States has no insurance. If the other driver has no insurance, then you cannot make a claim even if the other driver is at-fault. You can sue the driver for damages, although typically, drivers with no insurance have few assets to go after. By contacting your own insurance company, you can use your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage is required in some states but optional in others.
Disadvantages of Calling Your Own Insurance Company
There are two main disadvantages of calling your own insurance company:
You Could Lose Your Deductible: You might be required to pay a deductible before receiving any payout from your insurance company.
Your Insurance Company Might Raise your Rates: Your insurance company is unlikely to raise rates in an accident where you were not at-fault. However, the insurance company might determine that you were at-fault during the investigation process, in which case you could pay higher insurance premiums in the future.
Despite these disadvantages, many experts recommend contacting both insurance companies after an accident.
Generally, the insurance company of the at-fault driver is liable for any damages caused during the collision. You should contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company first.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. Many experts recommend contacting your own insurance company to speed up the payout process. Your insurance company will not raise your premiums after a collision where you were not at-fault. You may be required to pay a deductible, but you might also receive payouts immediately. If you’re working with the insurance company of the at-fault driver, then you may need to wait for the investigation to be complete before you receive a payout.
For all of these reasons, it may be best to contact the insurance companies of both drivers after an accident.