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What to do after a car accident that's not your fault

Car accidents happen to many people, and different states have different laws to determine who is at fault. If you are found at-fault in an accident, there are different things you need to know then when you are in an automobile accident that is not your fault. While unexpected, automobile accidents are more common than people think. The circumstance of being in a car crash is stressful, and after making sure everyone is okay, knowing the proper steps is essential. If you can get yourself home safely after filling out a police report, you can research what to do next. Knowing in advance is even better.

What to do after a car accident that's not your fault is outlined in these steps, but know that either way, having automobile insurance is a top priority. It is law in most states, all of them except for two. Working with your car insurance company after an accident can take time. If another person is found at fault in a car crash, your insurance carrier will be working with a different car insurance provider, unless both you and the person who got into the accident share the same insurance provider.

Third-Party Claims

There are multiple types of insurance coverage that a person may have, and in most situations, you will need to contact your own insurance company. This is true in cases where the other driver does not have an insurance plan, as an example. If you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, your insurance company will provide payments up to your limits. In some states, this type of insurance plan is mandatory, though in many states, it is not required, and you will need to add insurance to your policy in order to have it.

Other insurance types that may see you have some contact with your auto insurance company to file a claim are collision insurance, personal injury protection, medical payments, and others. If you have any questions about your insurance plans, take the time to contact your insurance provider. Also, reach out to both your insurance provider and others to check to see if you are getting the lowest prices for auto insurance available in your area. Auto insurance companies change their formulas over time and use different formulas to determine rates, meaning your cost of insurance can vary over multiple quotes. The free quote tools here are a fantastic way to reach out.

If you are reaching out to another insurance company, one that is not your own, it is considered a third-party claim. In a no-fault state, if you are not at fault, the other drivers required liability insurance coverage will pay for damage to your car and property, as well as your medical bills, up to the limit on the policy. There are some situations where another person’s insurance policy will not exist, leading to potential lawsuits as you try to get money for repairs if you do not have uninsured or underinsured insurance. You can purchase automobile insurance using the free quote tools on the site, adding uninsured motorist coverage and UIM coverage to your policy. Some states have up to 10% or more of their drivers operating motor vehicles without an insurance plan, and this is a massive risk.

Step 1

First, you want to gather the information you will need to file a claim. Keep things cordial, and do not talk to the other person about the circumstances of the accident. Make sure they are okay, keep yourself safe, and, if possible, exchange insurance information after doing both of these things. Information you will want to get includes the other driver's name address, the other driver’s insurance company name and policy information, statements and contact information from witnesses if there are any around, and you will also want to take pictures of the accident scene if you can, most people use their smartphone. Take photos of the damage to each vehicle if possible, either before or after it was moved. Having this information will help you when you file a claim. 

Step Two

Get ready to file a claim. Many of the top car insurance companies have apps that come with an accident checklist to tell you how to gather information best. In many cases, you can file a claim right in the application. You’ll also want to notify the right people after the accident. This includes contacting the police so you can file a police report. Give the officers and the insurance companies only the facts of the accident, rather than whether you think it is the other driver’s fault or not. Show facts from the information you have gathered and from the police report to your insurance provider. For ticketing purposes, the authorities will determine who is at fault for the accident.

Step Three

Picking your battles wisely is also an essential part of the process. Sometimes insurance providers will tell people to seek payment from their own insurance company because there is no evidence of fault pertaining to their policyholder. Most states have laws making it illegal for a company to deny claims without reasonably investigating the facts, though you will want to make sure you are on your toes when communicating with them. Some drivers get legal representation to assist them. Even with evidence, you may find that the other driver’s insurance provider has not accepted the claim. If he tells a recollection of the situations that do not match your own, they may stand behind their policyholder's version. For smaller claims, the other driver can be taken to Small Claims Court, though in many situations, you will need a lawyer. Auto accidents can be quite expensive. This is another reason that having an insurance plan that has sufficient limits is essential.

Step Four

If you go through the entire process and the other person’s insurance company does not pay for damages if you have collision insurance or other types of coverage you can still turn to your own insurance carrier. If you are not found to be at fault in an accident, your insurance rates will not go up in most cases. It is possible, and in more rare cases, for a company to attempt to drop a person’s policy, however. If this is the case, contact your state or hire a lawyer to get better information on your legal paths. You can also file for free auto insurance quotes here. Some people find that they save more money in the long run by doing this.

Step Five

Look into the other insurance plans. If you have Personal Injury Protection, your insurance company may pay for lost wages up to the limits of your policy. If the other person’s insurance coverage is not enough to cover the damages to your vehicle, your underinsured coverage policy may help pay for the difference, up to your limits. Both of these policies are mandatory in some states, though not all states require them, and you may need to purchase them as an add-on if you want them.

Final Notes

Driving without insurance is against the law, and you will want to make sure you have the appropriate coverages to fit your needs. Getting the best prices for car insurance available starts with free quotes, which you can find here using the free quote tools. Check in to the site every few years, as you could be paying more than you need to for insurance. This site taps into many different companies, looking into the discounts you can qualify for and more.

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