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Swapped cars + accident = insurance confusion?
July 8, 2013 6:18 AM   Subscribe

I temporarily swapped cars with my parents. While my mother was driving it alone, another driver sideswiped her and damaged the vehicle. How does the insurance get handled? Obviously, the driver-at-fault's insurance should pay for the repairs. But do we contact my insurance company, my parent's insurance company, or only the other driver's insurance company?

The accident report states clearly that my vehicle was struck by the other driver and that the other driver struck my vehicle. So I don't think there should be any question about fault.

I don't have collision insurance on my car. My parents do have collision insurance on their car, and I believe their insurance should also cover them while driving someone else's vehicle. (I could be wrong about the last point.)

Do I need to contact my insurance company and provide them with the other driver's insurance information, so they can get them to cover the repairs? Or do we contact my parents' insurance company since my mother was driving at the time of the accident?

Or do we need to actually contact the other driver's insurance company directly and work with them on our own? I am not entirely confident with how that would work, and don't want to get short-changed, so I'm inclined to get one of our insurance companies involved to help with the process; however, I'm also concerned about one of our insurance policy rates going up if we get them involved (I'm not sure if that is an issue when you are not at-fault?)

Also, on the accident report it lists all of the drivers' and vehicles' registration information, but there is nothing about the insurance. I am not sure if my mother got the other driver's insurance because she only sent me the accident report. I'm afraid she may have assumed that the police would collect that information. If that's the case, do we need to contact the other driver to ask for their insurance information, or is that something one of our insurance companies can discover?
posted by doomtop to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I don't have collision insurance on my car. My parents do have collision insurance on their car, and I believe their insurance should also cover them while driving someone else's vehicle.

None of this matters if neither you nor your parents were at fault. The other guy is responsible for the damage to your car regardless of what sort of coverage you have. When you buy collision coverage, you're just buying insurance to fix your own car if YOU smash it.
posted by jon1270 at 6:33 AM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


The state of Vermont follows a Tort System. What this means is, if you are involved in an accident, someone must be found to be the cause or fault of the accident. The person deemed at fault is responsible for all damages.

Contact your insurance company first and get their advice on how to handle this.
posted by HuronBob at 6:36 AM on July 8, 2013


I would contact my insurance company, let my mom contact hers, give the other guy's to both, and let the insurance companies fight it out. That's what they are there for.

Do not contact the other insurance company on your own unless you want to piss yours off.

No idea on how to go about getting the other driver's insurance info if you don't have it, but again, your insurance company will know how to do this.

Your company will not want you talking to the driver, the police, or the opposing insurance company at this point.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:37 AM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Everybody involved should be contacting their own insurance, because part of your insurance company's job is to help deal with all the stupid crap involved in making sure that the appropriate person/company pays for it.

I know there are various horror stories floating around that make you think otherwise, but 99% of the time you just get some nice person who deals with all the paperwork and makes all the phone calls and eliminates most of the stress involved.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 6:38 AM on July 8, 2013


It depends on a lot of factors, one of which is what state y'all are located (and insured) in. Different states have different rules on this.

Do you have an insurance agent (or do your parents have an insurance agent)? If so, give them a call and ask. That's what insurance agents are there for. Mine will let me call them and ask about a situation I'm not sure about without actually making a claim or notifying my insurance. Start there.
posted by pie ninja at 6:38 AM on July 8, 2013


Forgot to mention the accident happened in the State of New York.
posted by doomtop at 6:40 AM on July 8, 2013


New York is a no-fault state, ignore my previous answer. Contact YOUR insurance company.
posted by HuronBob at 6:54 AM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


You contact YOUR insurance sompany: the company that insures that particular car. It doesn't matter what kind of coverage you have, all that matters is the coverage the other driver has.

You do not EVER contact the other driver's insurance company, that's something that your insurance will take care of.
posted by easily confused at 8:06 AM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know if anyone is still paying attention to this thread, but I did contact my insurance company (Geico). Geico has told me that I will need to contact the other driver's insurance company myself directly in order to handle any claim for repairs to my vehicle.

I asked them to help me make the claim with the other driver's insurance company, but they refused to help with that because I don't have collision coverage through them. I don't know if this is a normal auto insurance stance or if Geico just sucks, but I am probably looking for a new insurance company at this point.

Geico will investigate to try to determine the responsibility and defend any liability to the other driver for damage to their vehicle, but will not do anything in terms of handling any claim with the other driver's insurance for repairs to the damages to my vehicle.

I don't think I should have any liability because it seems so clear from the points of impact (front corner of the other driver's car and side of my car) and the statements made (other driver said they struck my vehicle) that the other driver is at-fault. But it seems the laws are much more complicated about fault in NY than they are in VT.

I am going to try contacting my mother's insurance company (she does have collision coverage) and see if they will help, before I start contacting the other driver's insurance company directly.
posted by doomtop at 7:03 AM on July 9, 2013


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