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Do I need to let my car insurance company know about someone rear ending me?
April 9, 2009 12:10 PM   Subscribe

I was in a rear-end accident a couple of days ago. I was the one rear ended so it wasn't my fault. Do I need to call my insurance company for any reason? I've already notified the other driver's insurance company.

I was rear-ended by another car while I was stopped at a stop sign. Everyone is fine, no injuries, but my bumper was messed up. There is also some trunk damage that prevents me from closing the trunk. It looks to be pretty smushed. Called the Police, they are working on a report. Got the other driver's insurance info and called his insurance company with the info. Took my car to the body shop, where they gave me a loner car to use while they processed my claim. His insurance company called me later that day with a claim number and said that their client was 100% liable for the collision. So my question is, do I need to contact my insurance company if his insurance has agreed that the driver was 100% liable? Doesn't this mean they have to pay for all the damages? We are in Wisconsin.

I've never had to deal with this before. Anything I am missing? TIA
posted by ydontusteponit to Law & Government (12 answers total)
 
I wouldn't. Last time I got rear-ended (10 or more years ago), I mistakenly called my company first. It was very hard to undo that process once they started filing a claim on my policy, even though I wasn't at fault.

You need to go through the other guy's, and only mess with yours if the other company doesn't pay up.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:14 PM on April 9, 2009


yes. you need to tell your insurance co you were in an accident.
it has nothing to do with who's going to pay.
if they find out that you were in an accident and did not report, i think they are allowed to drop you or raise your rates. check with an agent or their website and/or your policy.
posted by sio42 at 12:15 PM on April 9, 2009


Do you have a letter from their insurance company to the effect that they're liable, 100%, for property damage and medical costs?

If not, get it. Also, looping in your insurance company is a good idea just because they will give you this sort of advice -- much better than you'll get from teh webz -- and can step in if things go awry. Your rates won't go up; there won't be any impact on your coverage provided you're getting the car fixed properly. Heck, they might even have advice like "that body shop is terrible, we advise you use this one instead" and they'll know all the things you're entitled to.
posted by davejay at 12:16 PM on April 9, 2009


The fact that you just got three different pieces of advice in three comments -- "Don't do it" "Do it or you'll lose your coverage" "It's probably a good idea" -- this kind of reinforces the idea that the advice you get here might not be as good as your insurance company can provide. ;)
posted by davejay at 12:18 PM on April 9, 2009


When I was in an accident (much more severe, other driver was DWI so also not my fault) my insurance company was a huge help. They took care of all the dealings with the other driver's insurance, so I didn't have to fight with them. From what I know that is the norm- you're not at fault, but your insurance company will make sure the other company follows through as they should.
posted by Kellydamnit at 12:29 PM on April 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Thanks everyone. I'll call them.
posted by ydontusteponit at 12:35 PM on April 9, 2009


Seconding Kellydamnit. Although it sounds like the other drivers' insurance company is being reasonable (so far), your insurance company will have your back if an issue arises.
posted by puritycontrol at 12:36 PM on April 9, 2009


The fact that you just got three different pieces of advice in three comments -- "Don't do it" "Do it or you'll lose your coverage" "It's probably a good idea" -- this kind of reinforces the idea that the advice you get here might not be as good as your insurance company can provide. ;)
posted by davejay at 3:18 PM on April 9 [+] [!]


There are cases in which calling your insurance company and innocuously asking about something will cause them to raise your rates or drop you altogether.

If your insurance company is USAA, try calling them and asking what kind of coverage they provide on private racetracks. They will drop you.

If you have GEICO, give them a ring, give them all your policy information and ask what their policy on laser/radar detectors is. If they suspect you have one, they will drop you; there's a good chance you'll see a premium increase just for asking.

I've even heard stories (no cite though) where someone in the OP's situation would call their own insurance company to report that they were in an accident (but not at fault!), their insurance company would raise their rates anyway (presumably to offset the cost of filing claim paperwork on their behalf).

There are times calling your insurance company to ask basic questions can really wreck your day. Communal wisdom FTW.
posted by Ziggy Zaga at 1:10 PM on April 9, 2009


(I once held an insurance license, worked in the home office) -- more than likely, you're required by your insurance policy to report whenever you get into an accident, regardless of fault. Most insurance companies believe their job is to get your car repaired and paid for; a good insurance company wants the other guy's insurance to pay for it, as do you, and for the other guy's insurance to pay as much as possible so the your insurer doesn't bear any of the cost. You probably want that, too, but you're just some guy with a wrecked bumper and don't have the leverage to do anything about it. If you bought insurance through an agent, rather than online or on the phone, ask the agent first: the last thing the agent wants is you to lose your insurance (it's a loss to them, too), so they are going to be in your corner. I know, insurance companies do a lot of stupid stuff that doesn't help their customers, but the reason you pay for insurance is to have a company in your corner, and they're the ones you should be talking to. If your company comes down on you like a bag of hammers for an accident that's not your fault, you really need to find different car insurance.
posted by AzraelBrown at 1:28 PM on April 9, 2009


If your insurance company is USAA, try calling them and asking what kind of coverage they provide on private racetracks. They will drop you.

On the other hand, if your insurance company is USAA, and you call them about being in an accident that is not your fault, they will not drop you.

(This was me, about a month ago.)
posted by Lucinda at 1:34 PM on April 9, 2009


Ziggy Zaga is talking about specific non-accident related instances. And if you get dropped for asking those questions, maybe it's for the best that you go looking for a different company if those are the types of things you want to do.

The whole point of having insurance is so someone can help when you're in an accident.

(And for the record, when you have USAA and are in an accident that is your fault, they will not drop you. That was me, about 10 years ago and my car was totalled even.)
posted by Kimberly at 2:18 PM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Similar experience as Kelly here, except our accident was only about a month ago. We were not at fault, but our insurance company was very helpful in walking us through the process and helping us take care of paperwork. We even got a little bit of "inconvenience and distress" cash out of it...
posted by joshrholloway at 4:10 PM on April 9, 2009


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