Car accident help
April 16, 2012 5:57 PM   Subscribe

Oregon Car Insurance / Accident question: minor accident late last night, what do I do now. Details within.

Accident late last night in Oregon. My SO was driving my car. My SO is not named on my policy, my SO does have insurance on their own vehicle. Police came, accident report filed. I need to submit another accident related form to the Oregon DMV.

For the purposes of considering a worst case scenario, let us assume this was my SO's fault, though it may not have been. No fault was admitted at the scene.

No injuries of any kind for anyone involved. My passenger door got a dent, the other car suffered some bumper damage and scraped paint. Damage to the other car was ~2000.

I have pretty bare bones insurance coverage. I'm willing to live with a dented passenger door.

I believe my SO will be covered as a "permissive user" of my car and covered under my policy. Can anyone confirm?

I haven't yet contacted my insurance, I debated just paying out of pocket for their repairs, but that was when I thought the other car would require less work. I plan on contacting my insurance tonight and giving them all of the details. Is this a bad idea?

Once it's in the insurance companies hands they take the process forward from there right?

Any general advice on how to proceed? I've never had to handle anything like this before and I don't want to inadvertently do something very foolish.

So many thanks...
posted by pseudonick to Travel & Transportation around Oregon (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Since you say that the damage to the other car was about $2000, you probably want to file an Accident Report with the DMV. Usually insurance companies require this before they'll do anything. That's probably what you mention up above.

Your SO will likely be covered by the permitted user thing, but only the insurance company can say for sure. In the future, if you and your SO live together, you should be on each other's policies or consider getting a joint policy for both your cars. Oregon is pretty cool that you don't have to be married in order to get a joint policy.

Notify your insurance company, have your SO notify his, the other party should notify theirs and they'll all hash it out. If for some reason you and the other party have the same insurance, you might want to have any paperwork reviewed by a lawyer. I've heard that same insurance company deals don't always work that great for everyone involved.
posted by fiercekitten at 6:26 PM on April 16, 2012

I work as part of the first notice of loss claims intake department for a claims manager company in Canada.

I'm the person that you would talk to on the phone when initially reporting the loss.

What I can tell you from my perspective is that the insurance always follows the vehicle so it doesn't matter if your SO was driving it. He will be listed as a driver in the claim/report but you are responsible for it since it's your car and you are the policy holder.

If you have bare bones coverage then I'm assuming that you don't have collision coverage. If that's the case then you will have to pay out of pocket for the repairs. So, it should be listed on your history as a record rather than a claim since you are not claiming for any damages.

Contact your insurance company, they should have a 24/7 emergency claims line. File a "report" with the representative and make note of this when you talk to the agent on the phone. Someone should contact you the next business day depending on which insurance company you are with. This should be another representative or adjuster and they will be able to give you more definitive answers and guidance than I have.

Good luck.
posted by livinglearning at 6:31 PM on April 16, 2012

Oops-I said "he will be listed as a driver" when I meant to say "Your SO will be listed as a driver."
posted by livinglearning at 6:40 PM on April 16, 2012 will have to pay out of pocket for the repairs
Probably for the dent in your door, yes, but I don't think this is true for "the repairs" on the other vehicle. Collision covers your property, liability covers other people's property.
posted by soelo at 6:55 PM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks everyone so far for confirming my expectations:

My SO is almost certainly covered under permissive use.

My liability coverage will pay for their repairs. I'd need to pay for repair of my door myself if I want it repaired.

I will contact the insurance company in another half hour or hour unless I see any contrary advice here.

I appreciate the help.
posted by pseudonick at 6:59 PM on April 16, 2012

Also, in larger accidents, SO is covered by your insurance up to the limit, then covered by SO's own insurance after that.
posted by lee at 7:14 PM on April 16, 2012

What I can tell you from my perspective is that the insurance always follows the vehicle so it doesn't matter if your SO was driving it. He will be listed as a driver in the claim/report but you are responsible for it since it's your car and you are the policy holder.

It doesn't work exactly like that everywhere. From reading my policy, obviously collision/comprehensive/theft does follow the car. But the liability portion covers the named driver. I can drive any vehicle and still be covered by my liability policy. But it ALSO covers people I allow to drive my car temporarily. (But I *think* it requires that they still have to be insured for liability somehow.)

Where I am (Illinois), any licensed driver in the household must be named as a driver on the policy. The presumption is that someone who lives with you isn't a temporary driver.

So depending on how it works in your state, your SO's insurance might have to be the primary on this accident. But your insurance company will tell you this.
posted by gjc at 6:48 AM on April 17, 2012

Except in no-fault states, the way I've seen it work is that the owner's liability coverage will cover an uninsured but licensed driver. In Oklahoma, it doesn't matter who it is, the owner's insurance is on the hook for the state minimums if the driver isn't otherwise insured, period end of story, doesn't matter if it was a zombie that stole your car or God himself picked up your car and dropped it on some hapless passerby.

In some states if you regularly furnish your car for someone's use, your liability policy will not cover them unless they are specifically named on the policy. In your case this doesn't matter because your girlfriend has her own liability insurance, so there is coverage one way or another.

The Oregon statutes seem to imply that the owner's policy is responsible for any damage caused by that vehicle.
posted by wierdo at 1:45 AM on April 18, 2012

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