Paying out of pocket and preventing future involvement of car insurance co.
May 26, 2009 2:57 PM Subscribe
If I pay out of pocket for repairs to another driver's car, is there a form I can ask him to sign to prevent later involvement of insurance companies?
posted by ecsh to Law & Government (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
As I was backing slowly out of a parking space this afternoon, I bumped into another car. The other car was driving through the parking lot and not yet in a space.
The collision was so gentle that I didn't actually feel it, and the only damage to my car was a small crack in the paint on the corner of the rear bumper. The other car was a two-door model, and the only damage that we could see was a dent in the panel just behind the driver's door. The dent was about a foot across and looks like something that might easily pop out, but then there's the issue of repainting.
The other car belongs to the driver's brother; it is unquestionably still drivable and both the driver and owner live nearby. I admitted fault, but I pointed out that it was raining and that the other driver had not turned on his headlights, which certainly contributed to my failure to see his car. I'm in PA, where headlights are required when wipers are in use, and it was raining hard enough for that.
Given the headlight issue, I asked that the driver do me the favor of communicating to the owner that I am interested in paying out of pocket and not getting insurance companies involved. We exchanged contact and insurance information amicably, and the driver mentioned it was possible that his brother would decide to let the whole thing go (not that I'm pinning my hopes on this).
1. My guess is that repairs will run $200-400, and in this range I would rather pay out of pocket than report it to my insurance company and deal with increased premiums for years. Are these estimates reasonable?
2. I've never before been in a car accident where parties other than myself and a deer were involved. Is settling w/o involving insurance in any way illegal? If not, is there some standard form I could ask the owner to sign, when I hand over the check, to establish that the issue has been settled and prevent him from seeking money from my insurance company?
3. Would the driver need to sign the form mentioned above? I don't think there are any medical issues, but we did not discuss that explicitly.
4. If costs spiral out of control somehow, and I decide that I would rather have my insurance company cover the cost, how much of a delay in reporting the accident is acceptable?
5. The other car is 15 years old and worth $800-1200 according to KBB. It seems possible that the owner might prefer to have the cost of the repair in cash and either not repair the car or repair it when convenient (since the damage isn't a safety issue). Does offering to write him a check directly, either for the value of an estimate or for a mutually agreed upon amount, change any legal/insurance status?
Please don't tell me that I shouldn't have admitted fault. I think that it mostly was my fault, and paying a few hundred dollars out of pocket is no hardship. I would just rather avoid the insurance hike.