Was rear-ended last week and my car is damaged. Insurance questions
October 19, 2015 5:40 PM   Subscribe

I was rear-ended on the highway last week while sitting in traffic. Neither myself nor the other driver was injured but there was damage to my car. The other driver and his insurer (State Farm) have accepted full responsibility without question, as I was stopped and he hit me. There was no police report. I haven't had to involve my insurance as I wasn't at fault (per myself, per the other driver and now also per his insurer).

After I contacted his insurance, they informed me they'd take care of any repairs and sent me an email with info on all of the local places I could take it to be repaired. Of course, they also informed me I could take it to a place of my own choosing. Their list was quite extensive and included places I've used before. They also said they'd cover the cost of a rental during the repair.

A few questions: Am I better off going to a place on the list or a place I find on my own? Should I have any hesitation about letting them cover the costs of the repair vs. getting an estimate and then requesting a check for the repairs?

What about the decrease in value of my car? What do I need to do to get reimbursed for the diminished value due to the accident?

Lastly, is there anything else I should be doing here to cover myself? Am I overlooking anything or should I be asking any other questions of his insurance (or mine)?
posted by rbf1138 to Law & Government (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What's your deductible? If it's around the cost of the repairs needed, you might be better off getting several bids and paying out-of-pocket.
posted by halogen at 5:44 PM on October 19, 2015

You should inform your own insurance company immediately.

And you have to file an accident report with the state.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:45 PM on October 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

No deductible as it wasn't my fault, his insurance is covering the costs of repair.
posted by rbf1138 at 5:47 PM on October 19, 2015

But you could go through your insurance, get it done to your specifications, and they'll go after their insurance (subrogate) to pay your deductible back.

The other insurance company doesn't want you to call your insurer because they don't want you to be represented during negotiations. Call them now.
posted by hwyengr at 6:08 PM on October 19, 2015 [15 favorites]

Yes, lodge the accident and get repairs done through *your* insurer. They'll pay upfront and seek reimbursement from State Farm. I work "in the industry" when I cover for my co-worker; this is standard practice.
posted by jrobin276 at 6:15 PM on October 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

I was rear-ended in a brand new BMW. 100% not my fault. $13,000 in damages and one month in the shop. The other insurance company wanted me to rent a cheap sub-compact and refused to pay for larger/safer rental. My insurance company fought back and got me a Volvo for a month. The other guy's insurance people may seem nice, but it's not their job to act in your best interest. Their job is to get you out of their hair as cheaply as possible. That's what you pay your insurance company for - to look out for you in situations like this.
posted by cecic at 6:24 PM on October 19, 2015 [7 favorites]

I went through something very similar, recently. Driver hit my parked car and admitted fault, as well as the officer at the scene listing her at fault. I reported it to my insurance, but once the other insurance company accepted liability, my company just seemed to want to wash its hands of the whole thing. Dealt directly with the other insurance company, who sent out a guy to do the estimate, sent me a check for the repairs within a few days, and I chose a local place with great reviews to complete the repairs. Insurance paid to have it towed, even. When the repair place found more damage that the adjuster missed, he sent a check directly to the body shop, and covered a rental in the meantime. Honestly, the thing that took the longest was my own insurance company dragging its feet, but YMMV. So I would check with your insurance first, to see how responsive they are, but if the other company seems more willing to take action, dealing with them directly could work out, too.
posted by jet_pack_in_a_can at 6:50 PM on October 19, 2015

I've had the misfortune of being hit four times in the past couple of years (three times were one incident involving extremely icy road conditions and my car just being a sitting duck). The only time I had to actually pay my deductible was the first one, and only because the dude who hit me didn't actually have insurance (he was driving a rental vehicle not rented in his name) and then he ghosted. They tried to take him to court in order to get my deductible back but no dice, he was a deadbeat.

You may have to pay your deductible up front (but you may not), but if the other company admits fault, you will get that reimbursed. In my big three-way last year so many people asked me why I got my own insurance involved since my car was parked and all the other insurance companies "should have" paid all my expenses. Yeah, right. Two of those companies are as we speak attempting to weasel out of subrogation claiming that in conditions so hazardous that stopped cars were literally sliding sideways down a hill like a bunch of Hot Wheels, I was negligent in not moving my stopped, legally parked, unoccupied car out of the way *eyeroll* So yeah, those other companies don't work for you and they aren't interested in making things smooth for you. Do not trust them. Call your guys.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:50 PM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Go through your own insurance...meaning, call your insurance company, tell them what happened, and get them to collect costs from the other insurance company. You won't have to pay your deductible because your insurance is not paying anything.

Dealing with an insurance company is like dealing with a lawyer: don't talk to the other guy's insurance company. Instead, have your insurance company talk to their insurance company.
posted by sninctown at 6:59 PM on October 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

I have had good luck with both my own insurance company and the other persons in similar situations. However, I agree with others that you are probably best off going through your own insurer though.

Regarding your question, "Should I have any hesitation about letting them cover the costs of the repair vs. getting an estimate and then requesting a check for the repairs?" I believe you definitely want to let the insurance company cover the costs. When they start the repair work, they are going to find more damage than they could in the initial visual inspection.
posted by The Architect at 7:37 PM on October 19, 2015

This [dealing with the other insurer] is at least in part what you are paying your insurance company for.

What if there's some hiccup and State Farm decides that they're not going to pay your claim after all? Are you going to take State Farm to court? Your insurer has a building full of lawyers who deal with such things all the live-long day.

Or you get an estimate for $2000, get a check from State Farm, and then once you begin work it turns out that the bills actually going to be $4000. What then?

You run it through your insurer, you pick the shop, your insurer pays the shop directly [less your deductible], and you are done. Your insurer goes after State Farm for the balance, and when they pay up, your insurer cuts you a check for the deductible.
posted by chazlarson at 8:41 PM on October 19, 2015

After a recent experience, the step one thing i'm going to tell everyone forever is *call your own insurance company right now*.

I did, and it made it as simple as getting a call back the next day saying "here's where you drop your car off". I went there, and they let me pick out basically any rental car i wanted. They went and got the rental car, gave me a cookie and some coffee, and off i went. A week or so later they called me back "hey, your cars done" and i did the reverse.

Drove off in the fixed car with a box of goldfish crackers, 11/10.

I've had shitty experiences before more than once. This is what you pay your insurance company for. I'm never doing it any other way again. Never listen to the person who hit you or their insurance company telling you they're "handling it". Call your own insurance company first, then wait for either the other company(after they've worked it out together) or your company to call you back.
posted by emptythought at 1:23 AM on October 20, 2015

I'm a little surprised by all the folks saying you have to get your own insurance company actively involved.

In my experience (n=2, New York state, one a rear-end, the other someone not looking and backing out of a parking place into the side of my car) my own insurance company (State Farm) said they didn't need to be involved in accidents that were the other party's fault, and they would only need to get involved if the other party was uninsured or if the other insurance company flaked out in some way and I couldn't get them to handle it satisfactorily. I'm happy to say, in both cases the other insurance company paid all costs quickly and efficiently at the body shop of my choosing and for the rental during the repair.

(I didn't get a cookie but that's okay. ;-)
posted by aught at 6:28 AM on October 20, 2015

Yeah, I got rear-ended a few months ago, and the other guy's insurance company (State Farm, IIRC) handled the whole thing. I brought my car in, they took a look and cut me a check. Took maybe 45 minutes.
posted by Slinga at 7:49 AM on October 20, 2015

I have State Farm and I'm almost certain that my coverage requires me to report any accident to them, regardless of fault. Maybe it varies by state? (I'm in VA).
posted by COD at 9:12 AM on October 20, 2015

You should inform your own insurance company immediately.

And you have to file an accident report with the state.

No and No. You don't have to do either. Just creating an accident report whether you are at fault or not will ding you when it is time to renew your insurance. Don't believe me, try getting a quote at Progressive or Geico online and do the first one without checking the "have you had an accident" box, then do the next quote and check the box. check the not at fault option, and watch your rate go up about 20%

OTOH if the other driver fills out an accident report and includes your info it could still show up on the MVR (motor Vehicle Operators report) when you go to renew.
posted by Gungho at 11:58 AM on October 20, 2015

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