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#1 of 159 Insurance: options when hit by uninsured motorist
Nov 26, 2004 (12:32 am)
I was rear-ended while stopped waiting to turn left. The other driver provided me with insurance information. I notified my insurance agent. When he contacted the other driver's insurer, it turned out that his policy had expired. Given this situation, my insurance agent said that my insurance can pay for it (and I have a $500 deductible) or I can pay for it myself. It seems to me that the other driver is liable. I have not yet contacted him regarding his stance on reimbursing me for the cost of repair. I intend to get some estimates and then contact the other driver. I have not yet filed an accident report (no police at scene, no injuries). Should I see if the other person is willing to pay my repair bill and only file an accident report if he isn't? Or should I go ahead and file an accident report anyway? If I file an accident report I would think he would be cited for not having insurance. This would be fine with me, however, he may be more likely to reimburse me if I note that I have not yet filed a report and the consequences if I do. Any advice on this matter would be greatly appreciated!!! For what it's worth, the accident occurred in Ohio and I do not know the other driver's financial status (as in does he have money to reimburse me).
#2 of 159 Happened to me...
Nov 26, 2004 (8:25 am)
the difference being I filed an accident report the day of the incident. I contemplated suing to recover my deductible but would've had to pay to file a lien and decided not to since the owner of the car (a welfare case) appeared to have no attachable assets other than a crappy old car (w bad brakes?!)
#3 of 159 I had something like that happen...
Nov 26, 2004 (8:33 am)
about 13 years ago. I got run off the road and hit a traffic light pole. Other guy kept on going, and they never did track him down. It happened so quick that I couldn't get a tag #.
Anyway, in my case, they actually gave me book value for the car, and the only deductible I had to pay was something like $100 or $150, because I wanted to hold onto it for parts.
Honestly, I think it should be the insurance company's job to go after the other guy and get you reimbursed for the deductible. Of course, I wouldn't hold my breath on that one!
#4 of 159 this past April
Nov 26, 2004 (8:46 am)
I got hit by, of all things, a clueless person opening a car door while I was driving by....
we both had insurance...but the other side said it was my fault....
so I let my insurance company handle it...and they paid for all except the deductible...and were going to go after the other insurance company for the losses...and them the police report came out and said the other party was liable....so they ended up paying....
they still owe me part of the rental car fees.
The point I'm getting at is sometimes you can elect to have your insurance company do the footwork...especially if you are covered but not at fault....then they will reimburse all of your expenses...and go actively after the other insurance or person.
However, because the other side may have your addresss, I would caution against taking an aggressive approach , and advise calling and seeing if the person is willing to take care of all damages himself first. If he does not, or shirks the responsibility, document all this and then go after him either through insurance compa=ny or small claims....
Nov 26, 2004 (9:21 am)
It's a tough situation. Even if you get a judgment on the person, you still have to figure out how to collect.
I think the dollar amount would be a factor for me in deciding how to go on this one.
I'm not clear on one thing--why are you reluctant to let your insurance company pay? Also, isn't there mandatory insurance laws in your state? If so, you should file a police report I think. Are you familiar with the laws inyour state regarding when an accident report is necessary or are you making assumptions?
#6 of 159 update
Nov 26, 2004 (7:00 pm)
Thanks for all of the input. I got my first estimates today from the body shop of the local subaru dealer. To just tweak the bumper back would run $128.70. To fix it "like new," which would include replacing the reinforcement beam, would cost $739.11. If I'm paying for it myself I suppose I would go with the cheaper option. The concern with having using my insurance would be that I would pay the $500 deductible (unless the other guy is willing to) and then the insurance would cover the rest (239.11). People seem to think that it wouldn't be worth given that they might be inclined to increase my rates (that's my reluctance about letting my insurance company pay. Of course I would ask my agent about this but who knows if I would get a straight answer. There are mandatory insurance laws in Ohio but for what it's worth, the guy at the body shop, did not seem to think much would happen to the guy. With regard to the accident report I believe it is mandatory if the damage is greater than $400 (but it isn't clear if they mean one or both cars). I know the dollar amounts may seem minor to some folks but I am a poor graduate student and money is an issue. Any addition comment on my dilemma would be greatly appreciated.
Nov 27, 2004 (8:24 am)
Is this a particularly nice car otherwise? Does having a tweaked rather than a "like new" bumper greatly diminish its value?
Unless this is an expensive, nearly new car, I'm inclined to suggest that you fix it yourself, file an accident report and ask the driver by registered letter to pay for the repair. If they refuse or stall, sue the driver immediately in Small Claims Court. The mere fact that he has no insurance should guarantee you a slam-dunk victory in Small Claims.
Of course, then you have to figure out how to get your money. If he refused to fix the car, I think he'll stiff you as well in Small Claims, but then he has a judgment on his credit record, and for $128 he would really have to be a dope to do that.
Anyway, I'm not a lawyer, I'm just telling you how I would handle it. This advice is all on the presumption that your car will not suffer grievous loss of value by a patch up repair.
#8 of 159 more info on car, and state insurance laws
Nov 27, 2004 (5:38 pm)
My car is a 2002 Subaru Outback. I am the original owner and this the car's first (and I hope last) accident. It is my first ever new car and I hate to see it messed up. If money were not an issue, my preference would be to have it fixed "like new." Reasons not to do that would be that I am out either $500 for the deductible with a possible (probable?) increase in my insurance rates or I am out $739.11. If I knew for sure that the other driver would cover the cost (or even a decent percentage of it) I would go with the more expensive repair but who knows about that. I'm just sorry the whole thing happened. With regard to insurance laws, according to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, uninsured motorists "will lose their license for at least 90 days if they drive without insurance" they will also supposedly lose license plates and vehicle registration, pay reinstatement fees of $75.00 for first offense, pay a $50.00 penalty for failure to surrender drivers license, plates, and registration, and be required to maintain special FR coverage "high risk" insurance coverage on file with BMV fo at least 5 years. If involved in an accident without insurance, they may have a security suspension for two years and a judgment suspension for seven years.
Given all that is at stake maybe I could get the guy to pay for the entire "like new" repair. Does it sound like I need a lawyer? Should I go ahead and file an accident report? Again any advice, comments would be greatly appreciated
#9 of 159 You take them to court, like was previously
Nov 27, 2004 (5:51 pm)
mentioned, but not just any court. Take them to the People's Court. I'm not really kidding, I have heard that the TV show pays the judgements on those shows. At least some of them, you'd have to ask. Have you chatted this thing out completely with your own insurance agent? I'd definitely get it fixed and if you have to make your insurance provider do their job and go after the guy without insurance, to collect for the full amount to fix the car, do it. Ask them how much it would raise your premiums...it's a fair question, indeed. Yeah, car accidents are so full of bunk.
Nov 27, 2004 (6:01 pm)
One thing to remember. Accident claim is still counted as a claim whether it was your fault or not. If you decide to let the insurance company pay for the damages, they can raise your rates when time to renew the policy. Yes, you can switch companies but they will ask you the same question. Any accident in the past 5 years fault or no fault?