Tips for Filing a Third Party Insurance Claim
When you are in a motor vehicle accident and aren’t at fault, you shouldn’t have to pay for any damages incurred to your property or any medical bills. Unfortunately, even though you did nothing wrong, your insurance company will still require you to pay your deductible before they pay for your car repairs or medical bills.
This deductible is usually around five hundred dollars. It isn’t easy for someone to come up with that amount of money without facing financial strain. For this reason, many file a third-party insurance claim in this instance. A third-party claim is when you file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company instead of your own.
If you thought it was a hassle to file a claim with your own insurance company, you certainly wouldn’t enjoy a third-party claim. There are ways to make this process easier and improve your odds of getting third-party insurance to pay for your damages. Here are some tips for doing just that:
Make Sure the Police File a Report
Before you leave the accident scene, ask the police officer who was called to file a police report. Give them as much detail as possible and request that the other driver’s insurance information be documented.
If possible, ask if there were any witnesses and if they were able to state what they saw. If their testimony is included in the police report, stating that the fault lies with the other driver, it could help your third-party insurance claim immensely. Ask to get a copy of the police report to give to the insurance company.
If your car is safe enough to drive, bring it to the nearest repair shop and ask them to give you an estimate of the cost to repair the damages. If your car is not safe to drive, call to get your vehicle towed to the nearest repair shop. Always ask the shops to list the parts and cost of each and the cost of labor. Be sure to have them document the damages well with pictures and explanations.
Once you’ve received the first repair shop’s estimate, repeat these steps with a couple of competing repair shops. Not only can you find the best deal on repairing your car, but multiple detailed repair estimates can improve the odds of the third-party insurance agent accepting the cost.
Talk to Your Insurance Company Too
Even though you know that your insurance company will expect you to pay your deductible, you still need to tell them that you’ve been in an accident and you will be pursuing the other insurance company for repairs.
They can help you in this process, even speaking to the other insurance company on your behalf. In addition, they may be able to guide you on how to deal with the other insurance company to improve your odds. In some states, you can get partial payment from your insurance company and partial payment from the third-party insurance company if you were found partially at fault for the accident.
Talk to a Lawyer
When it comes to your rights and how to protect them, your best advocate is a knowledgeable accident attorney. Even if you don’t know if you will need a lawyer, many law firms like JT Legal Group offer free consultations so you can at least be aware of how they can help you. Personal injury lawyers often don’t require any payment until they pursue damages and only take a percentage of what you were awarded.
Even though the police wrote a report and the repair shop took pictures, you need to be sure that nothing gets forgotten. You need to keep your own records of the accident just in case you might need them.
While the accident is still fresh in your mind, it is wise to write down everything you remember about the accident. For example, write down the time of day, the weather, the direction you were driving, and the direction the other driver was going.
If it would help, you can draw a diagram of the scene of the accident. Then, write down the names of the streets and mark any landmarks that are nearby. If you forgot to take pictures at the accident scene, you can always go back and take a picture of the area.
You will also want to take multiple pictures of the damages done to your vehicle. Learn how to take these photos here. Keep all the receipts of any bills you paid to fix your car or any medical bills you have from injuries related to the accident.
Unfortunately, if you live in Kansas, Florida, Kentucky, Utah, Minnesota, Hawaii, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Dakota, or New York, there’s no point in filing a third-party claim.
These are “no-fault” states. No matter who was at fault for the accident, your own insurance company pays for the repairs. But if you live in any other state but these, you should save yourself the cost of your deductible and file a third-party insurance claim for your damages.