Should I call the auto insurance companies?
February 20, 2011 6:48 PM Subscribe
Very minor car accident. The other party exploded with anger even though I thought he was at fault. After he took down my insurance info, he sped away without exchanging more information. That was 2 days ago. I have not heard back from either his or my insurer. Should I call the insurers myself? What should I do?
posted by ccl6yl to Travel & Transportation (35 answers total)
Late 2 nights ago in the rain, I was in dense, urban traffic. I was in a lane blocked by a construction vehicle (which partly caused the traffic), and cars in my lane were merging into the next open lane. One car from each lane (blocked lane and open lane) were merging one by one, as generally happens. I merged, but the traffic was stop-and-go, so only the nose of my car was in the new lane. When traffic inched forward again, I was ready to proceed, when the van whose nose was a few feet behind my car's nose slowly pushed into my car.
Only my left side mirror was damaged, and the damage was just a deep scratch about a penny wide. His car got a lighter scratch half foot long. The van driver exploded in anger, shouted incredible amount of obscenity, and took pictures of the scene yelling all the while. I got out and responded angrily myself, telling him that everyone was taking turns merging and he was the one at fault.
After exchanging insurance info, I asked for his license and phone number. But he ran into his vehicle and shot away. Ran the red light, too - otherwise he couldn't have moved that fast since we were in thick traffic.
He had yelled multiple times that he was going to call the insurance companies (fine with me). But I haven't heard from the companies. Now I wish we had at least exchanged numbers so we could speak more calmly about this.
What should I do? On one hand, I think he was at fault and should pay for my scratch. But, my hunch is the insurers will say it's impossible to determine who was at fault. I have pictures, but I think it's hard to determine what exactly happened (also, it was at night). And if I tell the insurers, will my premium increase (I'm in CA)? I suspect the scratch will cost no more than a few hundred dollars (not certain, however), so I'd rather pay it myself if I can avoid having my premium raised.
Then again, this depends on the van driver not calling my insurer (Geico) and telling them to pay up because he thinks it was my fault. Even if he hadn't called in (or maybe he did, but Geico isn't calling me over the holiday weekend), I can't talk to him and I have no assurance he won't call in the future. If he calls in, I'll just have to fight through the insurers.
I'm just not sure how this process works. Can I win? Will my premium increase, if insurers say it's unclear who was at fault? Am I underestimating the cost of repair? Am I losing leverage or authority by not calling the insurer right away (and make it less likely that they believe my story)?
Thanks very much.