You’re driving along, minding your own business (maybe singing along to some questionable throwback tracks) when bam! — another driver ruins your day. You’re fine, but now you have to deal with the aftermath of the accident. It’s clear to everyone involved that you were the innocent party in this scenario — so do you still have to file a claim with your insurer?
It’s a common point of confusion for drivers, but there are some simple ways to assess how best to proceed so you can get back on the road and get on with your impromptu in-car karaoke sessions. There are two directions you can take after being involved in an accident where you are not at fault.
Filing a Claim With Your Own Insurer
If you have collision coverage, you can file a claim with your insurance provider. They’ll pay for the repairs to your damaged car, minus any deductible you have on the collision coverage on your policy. Your company will then pursue the other driver’s insurance company for reimbursement of the claim, including your deductible. This process is called subrogation.
Using your own collision coverage makes sense when the other insurance carrier is unresponsive, has a coverage issue with their own insured or is completing a lengthy investigation. Your insurance company will be in a position to get your vehicle repaired and back on the road in a timely fashion and then subrogate for any monies paid out including your deductible.
Filing a Claim With The Other Driver’s Insurer
If you are not at fault for an accident, do not wish to pay your deductible or you do not have collision coverage on your policy, you can pursue your claim through the other party’s insurance carrier. The other carrier will ensure coverage is in order for their insured and complete a liability investigation to determine who was at fault for the accident. Once the other party’s carrier has accepted liability for the accident, they will handle your damages.
They may require you to get an estimate of the damages to your car, work with you to identify a body shop or have you send them photos of the damage to your car. They will then pay for the damages to your car as well as pay for a rental car while yours is being repaired.
Always Call Your Insurer No Matter Where You File A Claim
Regardless of which company you decide to file a claim with, you should report the accident to your own insurer. Reporting the claim to your own insurer puts them in the best position to handle your damages should any delays occur with the other party’s carrier. Metromile policyholders should report all claims.
Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.