Car Insurance Deductible For Not At Fault Drivers (How To File A Claim)

Disadvantages of Filing a Claim with Your Insurance Company

You might not want to file a car accident claim wi

You might not want to file a car accident claim with your own insurance company if:

  1. You can’t afford to pay your deductible
  2. You’re worried your premium will go up

1. What Happens if You Can’t Pay Your Car Insurance Deductible?

One clear disadvantage of filing with your insurance company is that you’ll have to pay your deductible up front. If that isn’t an option for you, then you may be better off playing the long game and filing with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

There is also no guarantee that your insurance company will be able to recover the money they spent — including your deductible — through subrogation. If you go through the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you’re guaranteed not to have to pay your deductible. It just might take you a little longer to get back on the road.

2. What Happens to Your Insurance After a Not At Fault Accident?

Another disadvantage is that your insurance rates may go up. Some insurance companies don’t raise premiums if the car accident wasn’t your fault, but others still do. Check with your insurance company to see what their policy is on raising premiums after filing a car accident claim.

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Injuries in a Car Accident and the Need for Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Injuries that a person suffers in a car accident can be serious and debilitating. The injuries that a car accident victim suffers will depend upon the circumstances of the accident, how the accident occurred, and the force of the impact between the involved vehicles. Some collisions are so forceful that the airbags in the vehicle will go off. When that happens, the driver and passengers can suffer cuts and lacerations, as well as bruising, from the airbag deployment.

In addition, the force of the collision might cause the accident victim’s body to move forward and backward in the vehicle very quickly. Alternatively, a part of the accident victim’s body might strike the headrest, window, door, steering wheel, or console of the vehicle, bringing about a soft tissue injury, traumatic head injury, or bone fracture.

All of these injuries are likely to require at least some degree of medical treatment following the accident. For example, the accident victim might need to follow up at a hospital emergency room, seek treatment from a primary care doctor, or get treatment from a medical specialist, such as an orthopedic doctor.

In addition, depending upon the extent of the injuries suffered in the car accident, the accident victim may need to attend physical therapy sessions and receive other expensive medical treatment. Finally, the accident victim might need to undergo a surgical procedure, especially if they suffered a broken bone in the accident.

All of this medical treatment can be expensive, and in some instances, the at-fault driver is completely uninsured or does not have adequate insurance coverage to compensate you for your injuries. In addition to compensation for injuries, you may have experienced mental anguish, pain and suffering, and other compensable damages as a result of your injuries in the accident. If the at-fault driver does not have adequate insurance coverage in place to pay you for these damages, your insurance company might pursue an underinsured motorist claim.

A knowledgeable and experienced St. Louis car accident attorney at Dixon Injury Firm can determine if you are eligible to file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim with your own insurance company. We can then help you throughout the claims-filing process, and if necessary, we can litigate the case to a conclusion on your behalf in the Missouri state court system.

When Must You Pay a Deductible?

When you’re in a car accident, it’s critical to make a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. Explain everything that happened, and present your evidence, such as:

  • Pictures of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and/or injuries suffered
  • Witness statements
  • Police report
  • Surveillance video (if possible)

You might pay your deductible and get your automobile fixed while your insurance company examines who was at blame in the accident. You won’t be reimbursed for your deductible if it’s determined that you were at fault. On the other hand, if your insurance company determines that the other party is to blame, it may submit a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company to reimburse your deductible and any further damages.

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Documents to Include When Filing a Claim

When you resort to filing an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, you should include the same types of documentation as you would if you were filing a claim with the liability insurer. Your lawyer can include a settlement demand letter, which makes a monetary demand for settlement compensation.

Along with this demand letter, your attorney can include several important pieces of documentation, such as copies of all pertinent accident-related medical bills and records, police diagrams, witness statements, victim impact statements, and lost wage documentation.

In addition, if you have photographs of your injuries or the accident scene, those photographs can be included as part of your settlement demand package. The insurance company adjuster can then review all of this documentation, and they might make an offer to resolve your UM/UIM case through settlement.

Once your insurance company accepts the uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, your lawyer can begin negotiating a favorable settlement offer on your behalf. If the insurance company will not accept the claim—or if it undervalues the claim—your attorney can resort to the litigation process.

Litigation begins when your lawyer files a lawsuit in the court system naming the insurance company as a defendant. The case will then go through the discovery process, just like with any other personal injury case, and the matter can resolve at any point along the way. If the case does not resolve through the settlement process, the parties may elect to take the case to trial and let the jury decide all of the disputed issues.

As an alternative to a jury trial in the Missouri state court system, your attorney can pursue mediation or arbitration with the insurance company in an attempt to get a fair value for your UM/UIM claim. The knowledgeable St. Louis car accident attorneys at Dixon Injury Firm are just as experienced at the settlement negotiation table as they are in the courtroom. Our legal team will look at the best options for your case and help you decide on the one that best suits your needs.

If you have your insurance pay for the damages, how do you pay your car insurance deductible?

After an accident, you submit a claim to your insurance company for the cost of damages. Once your claim is approved, your insurance company issues a payout. Your insurer subtracts your deductible amount from your claim’s payout amount.

As an example, let’s say your claim is approved for $2,500 and your deductible is $500. Your insurer writes you a check for $2,000.

THINGS TO AVOID

  • Do not argue with other drivers and passengers. 
  • Save your story for the police and your insurance company.
  • Do not sign statements regarding fault or promise to pay for the other parties damages. 
  • If the other party offers to pay your deductible, don’t sign anything.
  • You must show your driver’s license, vehicle registration card, evidence of financial responsibility, and current address to the other driver or persons involved, or to a peace officer.

  

What kind of accidents does collision cover?

Collision helps cover damages to your vehicle if it:

  • Hits another vehicle
  • Is hit by another vehicle
  • Hits an object like a fence or sign

You can file a collision claim regardless of who is at fault.

High vs. low car insurance deductibles

In most cases, you can choose whether you want to pay a higher or lower deductible for car insurance. Car insurance deductible amounts typically range from $100 to $2,000. The most common deductible our drivers choose is $500, but there’s no wrong choice. Ultimately, it comes down to what you prefer:

Higher deductible = Lower car insurance rate and higher out-of-pocket costs Lower deductible = Higher car insurance rate and lower out-of-pocket costs

Choose an auto deductible amount you’re comfortable with, and make sure you can afford to pay your deductible out of pocket in the event of a claim. It’s also important to consider your driving history and the likelihood of filing a claim. You may opt for a higher car insurance deductible because you’re betting against having an accident, but if you’ve had accidents in the past and often drive on busier roads, you may be more likely to file a claim and pay a deductible.

Auto Replacement Parts

In some cases an auto repair may include replacement of damaged parts with after-market parts.  After-market parts are parts which are not made by the original manufacturer.  After-market parts may be equal or better in quality than (OEM) original equipment manufacturer parts.  Although non-original equipment manufactured replacement parts can be used to repair your vehicle, any such part must be comparable to (OEM) original equipment manufactured parts in terms of kind, quality, safety, fit and performance. Consumers should take note of the following:

  • An auto repair shop is required to provide a written repair estimate of the cost of repairs prior to initiating repairs to the vehicle.  Once the work is completed, the shop must then provide a written repair invoice. State law requires that the type of auto parts used in repairs must be identified on the repair invoice. Consumers should carefully check their invoice to ensure that the auto body shop has identified each auto part replaced as being used, reconditioned, rebuilt, after-market or an original equipment manufacturer part (OEM).
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What Does Liability Insurance Pay For?

If you have a claim against the insurance policy of an at-fault driver, their insurance will typically cover the following damages:

  • Medical bills – past and future
  • Rehabilitation and transport costs
  • Out-of-pocket costs related to medical care
  • Lost wages
  • Temporary replacement of domestic services
  • Pain and suffering

All of this coverage is supposed to come at no cost to you. However, some insurance companies will attempt to deny coverage for specific claimed items.

For instance, they may allege that a certain treatment was not “reasonable” or that it involved an “unnecessary” amount of money. It is important to review the language of the third-party liability policy you are filing under closely. You should also know what specific state laws give you rights in the situation.

For example, in Florida car accident attorneys will remind you that, you have the right to demand that any parts used to repair your vehicle are of equivalent quality to that of the parts you are replacing (before they were damaged). You should not be left responsible for any of your costs, barring specific policy language that allows the insurance company to refuse or reduce coverage.

Have a qualified car accident lawyer review the policy language and help you tally the full amount of your damages to reduce the chance that you will be left to pay a portion out of pocket.

When do you pay a car insurance deductible?

You pay your deductible any time you file a claim under a coverage that carries a deductible, assuming the damage is covered and costs more than your deductible amount. If your claim is approved, your deductible will typically be applied when your insurance company issues your payout. You generally don’t have to write a check or make a payment to your insurer. They simply subtract your deductible amount from your claim’s approved payout. Suppose you have a claim approved for $5,000, and your deductible is $250. In that case, your insurance company will issue you a check for $4,750.

Avoid Assuming Liability for an Accident That Wasnt Your Fault

Some car accident victims make the mistake of filing under their own car insurance following an accident, such as filing under their collision insurance to cover the costs of a vehicle repair.

Filing a first-party claim with your insurance company essentially means you’re admitting fault for the accident – except if you’re filing a PIP claim. Once you pay your deductible or even just open your claim, it can be difficult to pursue a third-party claim against the insurance policy of the at-fault driver.

Remember to review and carefully consider your legal options in the wake of a car accident. Work with an attorney so that insurance companies don’t need to get involved more than necessary.

This allows you to seek the maximum amount of compensation possible without entering into a medical lien or subrogation agreement, both of which can force you to make legal decisions not necessarily in your best interest.

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