Personal Auto Insurance - Making Others Pay

Car Accident Question:

I was involved in an accident and the other guy was at fault. Now his insurance company is telling me they won't pay for the damage to my vehicle because they can't reach him to confirm details of the accident. Can they get away with this? What should I do now?


Unfortunately, this sort of thing seems to be happening more often lately, as other clients have recently reported similar incidents. In some cases, the police department investigated the accident and made a written report that indicated the other driver was responsible for causing the accident.

Even though the other driver was clearly responsible for causing the accident and damaging your vehicle, there may be no way short of filing a lawsuit to force him – or his insurance company – to pay if he refuses to cooperate with the insurance company's investigation.

We recommend that you permit us to file a claim on your policy. Your insurance company will handle the claim under your uninsured motorists coverage, subject to a $250 deductible. In addition to repairing the vehicle, your policy will pay the expense of renting a similar vehicle while yours is in the shop, with no daily or dollar limitation.

And don't worry about the claim affecting your ability to renew your policy. State law prohibits your insurance company from declining to renew your policy just because of one not-at-fault accident.

While having to pay the deductible is no fun, your insurance company may have more success getting the other company or the at-fault driver to respond to the claim without having to file suit. State law requires your insurance company to make an effort to collect your deductible from the other guy or advise you in writing that they won't be taking any action. If they haven't done this within 12 months after the date they pay your claim, they must pay you for the amount of the deductible. This law applies whether the third party is insured or uninsured. Make a note on your personal calendar to request reimbursement of the deductible if they haven't provided the required written notice within 12 months.

Swingle, Collins & Associates specializes in individual auto insurance coverage The descriptions of coverages listed on this website are brief and subject to the provisions, limitations, and exclusions that can only be expressed in your policy and related endorsements. For additional information of how Swingle, Collins & Associates can assist in meeting your coverage needs for personal auto insurance please contact your dedicated risk manager to discuss the benefits and services of personal insurance coverage.

The information contained on this page is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It contains general information on insurance issues and may not reflect the most current developments in insurance coverage and is unlikely to apply in all factual scenarios. The information does not include all the terms, coverages, exclusions, limitations or conditions that may be contained in the actual insurance contract language. The policies themselves must be read for those details. Sample policy forms will be made available upon reasonable request.