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drew
Automatic
Premium
join:2002-07-10
Port Orchard, WA
kudos:6

Car Accident & Insurance Claim Questions

I was involved in an accident on 1/2. I was on a side street leaving a shopping center when another driver did not stop at a stop sign coming from a parking lot on my left. I was traveling about 20-25mph and was unable to break quickly enough to avoid hitting him.

The police were called and the police department cited the other driver for failure to yield. I called my insurance company (State Farm) and requested a tow truck move my car as I could not drive it more than a couple dozen yards out of the way without incurring further damage. The other driver had insurance (Hartford) and we exchanged information.

In order to get the vehicle towed, a claim with State Farm was filed. The car was towed to the towing company's lot for temporary storage.

This morning, I was contacted by the other driver's insurance company. I did not answer and they left a voicemail. The lady requested some information, including pictures taken at the scene and a recorded statement. Before returning the call, I called my local State Farm agent. He indicated I had two options: 1) Continue my claim through State Farm and pay a deductible or 2) Work with the other driver's insurance to get it taken care of. He recommended option #2 as the easiest, most expedient option. He indicated that if the claims representatives from State Farm had any questions, they would contact me.

I then returned the call to Hartford and spent about twenty minutes discussing the accident and providing information about the car and my insurance. She took a recorded statement. After that, when she found out the car was located at a tow lot, she immediately put me on hold to see if a claims adjuster would be able to be out there either later today (the call was lunchtime on Thursday 1/3) or Friday. When she came back on the line, she said no one would be there until Tuesday at the earliest. She also requested I send any photos I had of the accident scene prior to the vehicles being moved. The Hartford agent was very clear that they had NOT accepted liability yet.

Later in the day, I received a call from a State Farm claims representative asking for more information about the claim. I gave her the information she requested (most of which is contained above). She asked if I had been informed of my "duty to limit loss" (or similar terminology, but a very specific phrase). When I said no, she explained that Hartford was extremely unlikely to pay for the storage of the vehicle as they had not authorized the transportation or storage. She then asked me for a verbal description of the damage to the vehicle. She indicated that the computer system said it was almost a surefire total loss. She said that I could either hope Hartford accepts liability and agrees to pay full storage costs or I could continue my claim through State Farm, have the vehicle moved to a salvage yard where an adjuster would go look at it and not incur any additional storage fees. I asked her why my agent hadn't explained any of this to me and she wasn't able to really give an answer.

At this point, I'm probably looking at Monday before I have additional information.

Does this sound normal to everyone? Did I screw up here? What can I expect to happen from here? I do have to take a couple hours of leave tomorrow morning in order to retrieve the remaining personal items from the car that I didn't take with me last night...

By the way, no one was injured and I'm not out for blood. Stuff happens...


Cars at the scene



My car after moving it

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silentlooker
Premium
join:2009-11-01

The fact that police officer cited the other driver means nothing as police do not determine the fault but instead insurance company does. From your description it sounds like you have comprehensive insurance. Did you have a stop sign or only the other driver? From your basic description you had right of way and were established. Next time you talk to the other insurance company I would make sure to mention that you feel the other driver failed to yield to you being you were established, he run a stop sign(if there was one) etc. You basically need to push the other side to accept liability. Also your insurance agent should be in constant contact with them.



Omega
Displaced Ohioan
Premium
join:2002-07-30
Somerset, NJ
reply to drew

I was involved in a side-swipe a few months ago that was completely the other driver's fault. I notified my insurance agency of the accident and gave them all the driver's information as well as the insurance company.

I had to get a rental car while my car was in for repairs, and my insurance company covered it all. (Though I could drive it away from the scene of the accident) By the time the car was finished, the other insurance company accept liability so I didn't even have to pay a deductible.

In short, I would recommend that you let your insurance company handle all payment discrepancies. Let your insurance representative work with their company. I had a bit of contact with the other driver's insurance, and I told them to work out payments via my insurance company. You may not be able to fight for towing costs, but your insurance company will.
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tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2
reply to drew

Why do I always want to kick an agent in the nads when I hear something like this. If you were speak to someone in your agents office who "recommended" you file your claim with the other party then they really should just shut up and mind their own business. Sorry... just the way I feel. The reason I feel this is because I can't help but think that they recommend this _only_ because they don't want the claims exposure on their block of business. I could be wrong.

Anyway.... what your adjuster mentioned is your duty to mitigate your loss. This means that you have a legal responsibility not to inflate your loss or to make it a little as possible. If you did nothing and just left your vehicle at a storage yard (incurring daily storage) for weeks on end, then you'd probably not be paid for all the storage. However, leaving it there for 4 or 5 days... especially if it's a probably total loss is not that big of a deal. What else are you going to do with it during that time? If you knew it was repairable you could move it to a repair shop but you don't know in this case. It's reasonable that it's going to take a few days for anyone to inspect it. It's not unreasonable to leave it where it is at for at least one person to inspect it and let you know if it's a total or repairable so that you can know where it should be moved. While that person at your carrier was correct in effect... 4 or 5 days is quite common and not a big deal. As I mentioned before... what are you going to do in the meantime... have it moved to your home? First, most people can't store a damaged vehicle at their home. Second, that's an additional towing expense anyway. That could be equal to two days storage. So would it really save any money? Also, that vehicle would become a moving target to be inspected.

If the other carrier is not able to accept liability by Tuesday, consider filing the claim with your carrier at that time. That is how you mitigate your loss.

You've not done anything wrong and have done everything right. Your carrier is not leading you down the wrong path... perhaps just jumping the gun a little in the "excessive storage" area.

You took photos with your phone?? KUDOS my friend!!!!! Someone thinking on their feet! Best thing anyone can do after an accident and something _everyone_ SHOULD do!

My recommendation... when you tell either carrier about the accident, give your version of the accident in your favor. I'm not saying lie but you certainly don't need to give the other person the benefit of any doubt. For example, did you have any time to react and avoid the accident? Nope. Did you do everything in your power to avoid the accident? Yup.



silentlooker
Premium
join:2009-11-01

What is wrong with filing claim with the other party when other party is likely the fault party? Why would I in his situation want to pay deductible to my insurance company and then wait for them to settle and get the deductible back.



drew
Automatic
Premium
join:2002-07-10
Port Orchard, WA
kudos:6
reply to tcope

Thanks for your expert opinion - I was hoping you, specifically, would chime in here.

I have already filed the claim and asked State Farm to be involved. I did this during my phone conversation this evening where she informed me of the "duty to mitigate the loss" (thanks for the proper term). She made a bigger deal about it than you are, so I was very worried.

The Hartford rep said that while they were not ready to accept liability, she was leaning towards that as the other driver had been cited. I imagine it'll all shake out... God is good to us and we actually have a spare vehicle, so I'm not having to rent a car. I did ask the State Farm lady about any kind of claim for lost wages due to having to take a half day or so off work to deal with getting my belongings tomorrow and she said I was pretty much SOL but could try and get paid out on the rental coverage since I'm not using it.

I normally have my DSLR or mirrorless camera with me EVERYWHERE but not that evening... wish I'd had my flash and everything so the pictures didn't suck.
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Voxxjin
Made of Hamburger
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join:2010-01-13
Dupont, WA
Reviews:
·CenturyLink

1 recommendation

reply to drew

Did you try singing the State farm jingle to see if your agent would appear?

Interesting I always thought that in a case like this that you should contact your insurance and that it was up to the insurance company to file the claim against the other company. I have only been in one accident but that driver was also insured by my insurance company (USAA). Probably helped that the guy at fault honestly admited he didn't look behind him when he backed up.
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drew
Automatic
Premium
join:2002-07-10
Port Orchard, WA
kudos:6

said by Voxxjin:

Interesting I always thought that in a case like this that you should contact your insurance and that it was up to the insurance company to file the claim against the other company.

That's why I called my agent first, expecting him to say "yep, that's what we're here for. let us take care of it."

As I mentioned to a friend... the agent was utterly useless.
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tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2
reply to Voxxjin

You carrier should not file a claim on your behalf with the other carrier. They cannot (and should not) be acting as your agent in that regard. Also, they would just be getting in way. The two choices are that you file a claim with the other carrier and deal with them direct or you file a claim under your own coverage, have your own carrier address your loss and only then do they submit the charges to the other carrier for recovery.


Critsmcgee

join:2011-12-02
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to drew

I've never heard of going through the other person's insurance. I've only heard you handle stuff through your own insurance then your insurance company goes after the other insurance company. I've been hit 3 times and had 3 different insurance companies. (Esurance, Vermont Mutual, and Progressive) They all handled it themselves and waived the deductible since it was the other drivers fault.


Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
Reviews:
·Optimum Online

2 edits
reply to drew

Do you have collision coverage? Here in NJ, you only deal with your own insurance company. They pay your claim, then they deal directly with the other insurance company to get reimbursed (subrogation). If they do, you get your deductible back.

When the other insurance company called me, I refused to talk to them, as I am not their client. There was nothing I could say that would be to my advantage. In fact, they may have called hoping I would admit to some fault in the accident.

Maybe things work differently in your state.

You should have rental car coverage, so that shouldn't be an issue.

EDIT: For rental cars, insurance companies frequently push you towards Enterprise. I've found that Avis has nicer cars for the same or less money. (i.e., the insurance company will pay for a certain $ per day, and you can get a nicer car from Avis for that money.) So don't blindly run to Enterprise. Check around exactly what model car you can get from different companies. They also have special rates for insurance replacement cars so be sure to check those rates.


tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2

1 edit

said by Bob4:

Do you have collision coverage? Here in NJ, you only deal with your own insurance company. They pay your claim, then they deal directly with the other insurance company to get reimbursed (subrogation). If they do, you get your deductible back.

That would only be true in MI (as it's a true no-fault state... even for property damage).

Having auto insurance does not really change the issue at hand. The issue is that someone else caused you a loss. That means the other person needs to address your loss and you have a right to pursue that other person directly.

said by Bob4:

When the other insurance company called me, I refused to talk to them, as I am not their client. There was nothing I could say that would be to my advantage. In fact, they may have called hoping I would admit to some fault in the accident.

Sound advise as something you say could create an issue. But the other carrier is doing the right thing. They do have the responsibility to attempt to settle the loss even if they are not your carrier. If they owe the loss... they need to make some attempt to settle. Sometimes it damned if you do damned if you don't for the adjuster. I've had people yell at me for calling them and I've had people yell at me for not calling them. I understand why... it's not a big deal. It's just kind of ironic sometimes.

Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
Reviews:
·Optimum Online

My understanding is that if I have collision coverage, my insurance company will pay my claim then attempt to collect from the other insurance company. If I don't have collision, it's up to me to collect.

said by State of NJ Auto Insurance Buyer's Guide :
Collision coverage pays you for damage that you cause to your automobile. You can also make a claim under your own collision coverage for damage to your car from an auto accident you did not cause. This may take less time than making a property damage liability claim against the driver who caused the auto accident. Your insurer then seeks reimbursement (subrogation) from the insurer of the driver who caused the auto accident.


drew
Automatic
Premium
join:2002-07-10
Port Orchard, WA
kudos:6
reply to Bob4

I carry full coverage on both vehicles - roll over from when there were notes on them, but I elected to continue paying in the event we were involved in an accident and the other party did not have insurance. That's increasingly common up here, so I'd rather be protected.

I thought it strange that I was directed to work directly with the other insurance company by my agent. It seems like that's a service my company should be providing me. I go through them, they go collect blood from that turnip.

Fortunately, as I mentioned, I do not need a rental as we have a spare vehicle.
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tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2
reply to Bob4

Correct... you "can" make a claim under your own collision coverage and have your carrier seek recovery. This does not mean that you are required to. As the quote goes on to mention... it may take less time doing it this way. Less time... then filing with the other person's carrier directly (being the other option). It's a liability claim to the other carrier so they need to investigate in order to determine liability. This may take an hour, it may take weeks. If you have collision, your carrier does not need to know what the liability is before they can pay so they can address your loss right away and investigate while/after they pay for the damage.


tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2
reply to drew

BTW - I really don't see your car being a total loss. I have no idea of the year but it does not look too old. The bumper and fenders and no big deal. If the damage went up into the transaxle or the radiator support then I could see it being a total loss.



Voxxjin
Made of Hamburger
Premium
join:2010-01-13
Dupont, WA
reply to tcope

I guess what I was getting at was what Nyan Cat said. File the claim on your insurance. From there your insurance would then deal with the other company to be re-imbursed.
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DanHo
Premium
join:2002-05-20
Seattle, WA
reply to drew

Sounds to me like your agent was being extremely lazy. Poor service on his part.


Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
Reviews:
·Optimum Online

1 recommendation

reply to tcope

said by tcope:

Correct... you "can" make a claim under your own collision coverage and have your carrier seek recovery. This does not mean that you are required to.

But why would I want to do extra work, when I'm already paying premiums to a company that will do the work for me?

But maybe you can clarify this: If I did NOT have collision and someone ran into me, I WOULD have to deal directly with the other company, right? And what would happen if THEY didn't have collision?


drew
Automatic
Premium
join:2002-07-10
Port Orchard, WA
kudos:6
reply to tcope

This is what the guy at the tow yard said this morning. He claimed it was probably 20-25 hours of work plus new bumper, new quarter panels new good and new headlights.

It's a 2006 with lots of options and only 69378 miles on it. Blue book said a little under 10k private party. Edmunds said like 7k. No idea what to believe. 7-10k seems legit looking at eBay and Craigslist.
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silentlooker
Premium
join:2009-11-01
reply to Bob4

said by Bob4:

said by tcope:

Correct... you "can" make a claim under your own collision coverage and have your carrier seek recovery. This does not mean that you are required to.

But why would I want to do extra work, when I'm already paying premiums to a company that will do the work for me?

But maybe you can clarify this: If I did NOT have collision and someone ran into me, I WOULD have to deal directly with the other company, right? And what would happen if THEY didn't have collision?

Liability covers the other side. I personally always deal with the other insurance as I don't want anything to be on my insurance history.


drslash
Goya Asma
Premium
join:2002-02-18
Marion, IA

said by silentlooker:

said by Bob4:

said by tcope:

Correct... you "can" make a claim under your own collision coverage and have your carrier seek recovery. This does not mean that you are required to.

But why would I want to do extra work, when I'm already paying premiums to a company that will do the work for me?

But maybe you can clarify this: If I did NOT have collision and someone ran into me, I WOULD have to deal directly with the other company, right? And what would happen if THEY didn't have collision?

Liability covers the other side. I personally always deal with the other insurance as I don't want anything to be on my insurance history.

Your insurance company will know about the claim. Most, if not all, insurance companies share loss data.
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tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2

1 edit
reply to Bob4

said by Bob4:

But why would I want to do extra work, when I'm already paying premiums to a company that will do the work for me?

But maybe you can clarify this: If I did NOT have collision and someone ran into me, I WOULD have to deal directly with the other company, right? And what would happen if THEY didn't have collision?

You may not want to deal with the other carrier. That is a valid point. However, if you file with your own carrier they pay less the deductible. Some carriers (not many) will waive the deductible but this is only if the other carrier accepts 100% liability (if they accept 100% liability then it would not be difficult to "deal" with the other carrier anyway). You may not have rental coverage under your own policy. The other carrier would automatically need to pay Loss of Use (rental). Some people may not want to even report a non-fault accident to their carrier (I don't recommend not reporting it) as sometime reporting several of these within a short amount of time can increase rates.

If you did not have collision and needed to file a claim with the other party their liability coverage would address your loss... not their collision coverage. Almost every state requires policies to have liability coverage. But I'd also still recommend that people really consider carrying their own collision coverage even if they think it's more likely someone else will cause the accident. Just to many people driving around without insurance.

Edit: Keep in mind, most of the time the other carrier is no more difficult to deal with then your own company. If liability is clear the claim is really handled the same way if the person is an insured or not. An injury claim is different as the amount payable is much more subjective.

tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2
reply to drew

said by drew:

This is what the guy at the tow yard said this morning. He claimed it was probably 20-25 hours of work plus new bumper, new quarter panels new good and new headlights.

It's a 2006 with lots of options and only 69378 miles on it. Blue book said a little under 10k private party. Edmunds said like 7k. No idea what to believe. 7-10k seems legit looking at eBay and Craigslist.

Personally, I go by what the tow person says... they just always seem to be right on. Odd, I know. $1250 in labor and I'm guessing $2000 in parts. Add in some and perhaps you are around $4000 in repairs at the most?

Don't look at Edmunds... this is what only dealers use to screw over buyers (heck, their website even states the prices they list are "starting" prices in the negotiation to buy/sell). I'd guess that the value of the vehicle is closer to the $10k amount. A vehicle is a total loss when it's around 80% of it's value.


drslash
Goya Asma
Premium
join:2002-02-18
Marion, IA
reply to tcope

said by tcope:

Some people may not want to even report a non-fault accident to their carrier (I don't recommend not reporting it) as sometime reporting several of these within a short amount of time can increase rates.

Again, loss data exchange by insurance companies means that all participating insurance companies know about all of your claims for the past 7 years and maybe longer.
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Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
reply to tcope

Thanks for the clarification.

My insurance company does not raise rates after a claim or a ticket.


Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
reply to drew

If it's totalled, the insurance company will give you what it would cost to buy another 2006 with 69378 miles, plus tax, minus your deductible. If you just had a major expense like putting new tires on it, try to get the insurance company to give you a few extra bucks.


tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2
reply to drslash

said by drslash:

Again, loss data exchange by insurance companies means that all participating insurance companies know about all of your claims for the past 7 years and maybe longer.

To an extent, yes. Most larger companies have an automated system to report all claims. But there are _many_ companies that don't automatically report property damage claims. I know Allstate, State Farm, USAA, Progressive report all claims. Farmers and Travellers might. But there are plenty that don't. But for the most part you should count on your carrier knowing anyway, yes.

(Carfax polls the same resources. This is why not all Carfax reports are correct).


hitachi369
Embrace Your Rights
Premium
join:2001-10-03
Grand Rapids, MI
kudos:4
reply to drew

Without knowing the VIN or specifics I show

Auction Values  
Date Range: 12/31/2012 - 1/6/2013  
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   Low        Average   High
                   Auction    Auction   Auction  
Adjusted Value*:   $5,946     $7,771    $9,621 
 
 

That is where the edmonds quote is coming from.

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Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey

But the insurance company will give him retail value, not auction value.