Collision Course: Filing An Insurance Claim Against Another Driver

We walk through the scenarios when you might want to file an insurance claim against the other driver in an accident.

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Collision Course: Filing An Insurance Claim Against Another DriverCollision Course: Filing An Insurance Claim Against Another Driver

There are millions of car accidents in the United States every year. And among those millions of accidents, there will be situations where the driver is at fault and situations where that pole really did jump out into the road. 

If you find yourself the victim of an accident — one caused by another driver and not an over-active telephone pole — your car insurance should help cover damages and medical bills. Sometimes, though, it can be better for you to file a claim against the other driver instead of through your own insurance provider. 

In this article, we break down what those scenarios might be, and how to proceed if you decide to go down the route of filing an insurance claim through the insurance company of the at-fault driver.

When to File a Claim Against Another Driver

First of all, we have to stress this one point: It is only possible to file a claim against another driver when you’re not at fault. If you are found to have caused an accident, you will not receive compensation from the other driver’s insurance provider. Said another way: You can only make a third-party claim when you’re the victim of an incident. 

So while your own collision coverage should cover and pay you out after a car accident, it’s sometimes more advantageous to make a claim against another driver. Here’s when you might consider it:

  • You’re concerned about your rates: Any claim you make against your own insurance, including no-fault, theft, and accidental vehicle damage, could increase your rates. Filing with the other party’s insurance may keep your rates from rising. 
  • You want to avoid paying a deductible: Many policies have deductibles that you’re required to pay first before you get paid out. If you successfully make a liability claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance, you don’t have to make a deductible payment. 
  • Your car or rental was totaled: The at-fault driver totaled your rental car, and your own liability insurance doesn’t cover a rental. You’ll want to file a claim against their insurance.

One other element to consider in this: do you have the ability to wait things out with the other insurance company? Both your and the other driver’s insurance companies will likely investigate the accident, and a police report can speed things up, too. But the other insurance company may take longer to investigate than your own company — so make sure you don’t urgently need a payout if you decide to file an insurance claim against another driver. 

How to File a Claim Against Another Driver

Filing a claim against another driver can be complicated, but we’ve compiled everything you need to know below.

Gathering Essential Information 

Any car accident is stressful, and it can be difficult to think clearly afterwards — especially if anyone is injured. After making sure everyone is safe and being cared for by the emergency medical services, here's the information you need to obtain during this critical period:

  • Get driver details: Get their information, including their insurance policy number, license plate number, name, and contact information.  
  • Take photos: A picture is worth a thousand words, which is especially important because you’ll need to show proof of what happened in order to be reimbursed. Take photographs of the scene of the accident, all sides of your vehicle, the other vehicles involved, and any injuries. Photos of the other party’s driver’s license can also help if you forget to get a driver’s details. 
  • Call the police: It’s almost always easier to make successful damage and injury claims with a police report. 
  • Gather witness information: Other people can help confirm what happened and who the at-fault party is. You don’t have to gather their statements (that’s a job for the police), but don’t hesitate to ask people if they saw what happened and direct them to an officer. Their statements are especially beneficial in a hit-and-run, since they might be able to help find the other party after the fact. 

Thorough documentation is your best friend after any accident. Take pictures of the entire scene and every inch of your vehicle. 

Initiating the Claim Process

The first step in making a claim is to contact your own insurer to explain that you will be filing a claim against the at-fault party's insurance. After reviewing your documentation, your provider may decide to handle this process for you. In this case, you only need to write down the claim number that you’re given. 

If you still need to file a third-party claim yourself, call the at-fault insurance company and provide them with the same information you gave your adjuster (that’s the person who will handle your claim). 

Your personal policy may have MedPay or personal injury protection (PIP), which could offer insurance coverage outside of the claim. Essentially, this is free money that covers you and possibly your passenger’s medical bills. Accessing this medical payment coverage may require contacting another insurance adjuster, but trust us: it’s 100% worth the hassle. So once you initiate your claim, ask for the MedPay or PIP department.

Navigating the Claims Process

Claims can take a lot of time to process. Sometimes things move quickly, but other times…not so much. Most state laws require the claim process to be completed promptly and without unnecessary delay, but in life and in insurance, there are no guarantees.

Delays can occur for a variety of reasons, from non-responsive drivers to slow repair work. That’s why it’s best to give the insurance provider everything they ask for as quickly as possible. An adjuster's job is to keep you informed of how your claim is going and keep things moving along, so you should plan to stay in close touch with this individual.

Resolving the Claim

When you do finally receive your settlement payment, you’ll probably feel a mix of excitement and relief, especially if the payout covers all your expenses, including medical bills and vehicle repair.

If, on the other hand, you get a crummy offer, you can always reject it and ask for a higher amount. It helps to have proof of any costs that you expect to be covered by the settlement amount. 

If the insurance company still refuses to budge, then you could consider contacting an attorney. They may be able to get you more money.

Steer Clear of Stress with Marble

When you’re not at fault, filing a claim against another driver may be your best bet for getting damages paid out without impacting your own insurance rates. 

At Marble, our goal is to help you navigate this process, along with managing, organizing, and shopping for insurance when the time come. So join today to compare policies and earn rewards!